What I have learned about optimal outcomes regarding what environment a child is reared in, I’ve seen what’s best is richness, complexity. A child read a lot of books at night, a child whose parents use diverse vocabularies, provide varied toys of multiple functions – a world a child can maneuver through and manipulate, with differing roads, where they can fail and succeed: these are ideal. And by what method? I believe what complexity and richness offers is neurological / psychological (cognitive, mental…) stimulation; the brain and soul require stimulation. Stimulation to the brain is growth; richness, complexity – these qualities are the right proper mix of nourishment; water and sun; protein, carbohydrate and fat.
I highlight the metaphysical soul along with the physical brain because I want to extend this fact into an argument for what I believe is morally necessary: the preservation of our natural world, of animal and plant species (as many as possible), of topographies and climes, of languages and cultures. These make up the sustenance for our souls which become malnourished in their absence. To see a malnourished soul, imagine the neglected child with his blank affect and benumbed heart, the poor ones who have difficulty performing the simplest of socially connecting acts, such as smiling and maintaining eye contact. To conceive of a life lived lacking the dynamic structures and arrangements of Adam and Eve’s habitat (or something akin) think only of what our prisons offer as penultimate punishment (what is qualified as harshest next to the capital kind; what, less than death, is most stern?): ISOLATION. Put another way: Sensory deprivation.
The case for environmental conservation and the case for supporting the arts are made by pleading for nothing less than the continued growth and thriving of humankind. We can survive without these things, but reminded of the prisoner kept alone in a dark, dank and quiet cell, begs the question: Would it be worth it?