Interdependent by Design

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.  ~Thomas Merton

Merriam-Webster defines the term interdependence as the state of being dependent upon one another.  Examples are given for interdependent economies as well as little universes we call ecosystems.  On a macro level, coronavirus has shown us just how interdependent we all are.  On a micro level, the workings of this concept are not always as evident.

All photos in this post were snapped in California

For example, we humans host an ecosystem in our guts called the microbiome.  That community consists of trillions of microbes that help digest food, extract nutrients, build or diminish the immune system, and inform the brain.  The microbiome is interdependent with every other system in the body, a fact which should be considered when any kind of health issue or disease presents itself. 

Similar to our hosting of this internal ecosystem, Nature hosts humans within an external ecosystem.  We depend on soil, plants, the ocean, and animals for our basic needs.  Soil, like our microbiome, is an ecosystem unto itself.  The life in our soils determine the health of our plants.  (Read about our struggling soils here.)  Plants release oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and have the ability to clean our toxic wastes.  Our oceans’ seaweed is responsible for producing even more oxygen than land plants.  (Both rainforests and oceans are referred to as the lungs of the planet.)  Animals play an important role in controlling the population of other animals as well as inhibiting plant overgrowth. And domesticated animals, as you know, can provide us with wonderful companionship and unconditional love.  By caring for all of life, we are interdependently supporting the soil, plants, oceans, and animals that sustain us.

In her book Symbiosis in Cell Evolution: Life and Its Environment on the Early Earth, microbiologist Lynn Margulis writes about an important process undertaken by ancient bacteria.  About 2 billion years ago, she explains, bacteria covered our planet.  To complete their life processes of respiration, photosynthesis, and fermentation, they utilized natural resources alongside other bacteria.  When the number of bacteria increased, forcing resources to go further, the bacteria found themselves in crisis. Their once peaceful ways of living changed, fueled by the fear of scarcity.  Many of them struggled.  (Does this remind you of the human story?) Because it became evident that none of them would survive if this competitive way of living continued, they realized the need for interdependence.  Due to making a shift which was better for all, their kind is still around today, living in cooperatives known as nucleated cells. 

The interdependence of biological systems offers strong evidence for intelligent design. They function synergistically in such a way that the sum of their actions is greater than the addition of separate, individual actions. ~CreationWiki

We were intelligently conceived to thrive in cooperation with all forms of life, including soil, plants, other animals, the ocean, and all of humankind.  Now more than ever, understanding the concept of our interdependence with the whole, and living in a way that honors it, is needed to ensure our perpetuation on the planet.

Blessings for Embracing Interdependence,


The original version of this post was shared in November of 2020.

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

41 thoughts on “Interdependent by Design

  1. Brilliant, Lisa! I hope this science will have a great impact on others around the world. We need our leaders and politicians to understand this too! As part of a national campaign here I have just sent an e-postcard to my local MP, it says:
    No Nature, No Food
    No Nature, No Growth
    No Nature, No Security
    No Nature, No Future

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 💜 Co-Dependency is More Accurate EveryOne; if the AutoImmune System is Perceived to be NOT!!! Working then OverCareTakers Take Over becoming Resentful EveryBody, Beware of Those who Smile at YOU!!!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi. I’m not sure if I ever asked you this before: have you read The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson? It was written 70 or more years ago, but holds up brilliantly. And it’s beautifully written. Among other things, she writes about the development of life on our planet, and shows the interconnections between life forms.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you , Lisa for sharing your brilliant article with us. You have given us much needed information on an educational level. Thank you for the research you do to share with us. This is absolutely great. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A fascinating and insightful post. If everyone believed this, we could stop all the war and hated and animosity in a second because no one really wants to beat themselves up yet we do it all day long when we attack each other, forgetting that we are in fact all one. Thanks for the science-y reminder. I love it when science explains everything. 😂😘🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing this post and for your awesome photographs. Awareness of what is going on around us is so important. I think people sometimes become disconnected from what is and what is not important. This is a very sad thing. The more people understand the truths of what you have spoken here, the better off the planet, and they themselves, will be. I have found that people who care deeply about nature, also seem to care deeply about other people. They understand the ebb and flow of life and are genuinely happy and grateful souls.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a very eloquent description of a hugely complex ecosystem of ecosystems, written in the love language of nature. 🙂 By the way, I just finished listening to another podcast with Zach Bush at your recommendation, this time on the microbiome of the human gut and the soil. It’s fascinating and scary at the same time, when you realise how crucial both are, and interconnected, and what we have done to both. I’ve started my own inner repair work.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the concept and practice of interdependence. When raised in an environment that promotes self-reliance and strict codes of independence, it takes some time to wake up to the truth. That all is interdependent, whether we want to admit it or not. An awesome post, Lisa. Happy weekend! 🌻

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This plays out time and time again when someone gets the bright idea to introduce something new species (plant or animal) into a new ecosystem or allow it to extend beyond a natural threshold. A great reminder of how “dependent” life is on all the working components big and small.

    Liked by 1 person

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