The Change In Our Relationship With Nature Over Time

Today, we find ourselves increasingly more concerned and apprehensive about the future of our planet and our place within it. Historically mankind feared nature and its power, however within that fear they found respect for the earth.

The earth is more than just a home, it is a living system and we are part of it [1]. There is long-standing recognition for the role of every living species and it’s interconnectedness with mother nature. However, humans have always had a different view of nature at a certain point in time, a phenomenon known as environmental generational amnesia [2]. This idea is further explained by the University of Washington psychology professor Peter Kahn [3], the head of  Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Lab (HINTS) who stated that “There’s a shifting baseline of what we consider the environment, and as that baseline becomes impoverished, we don’t even see it. With each ensuing generation, the number of environmental degradation increases, but each generation tends to perceive that degraded condition as the nondegraded condition, as the normal experience.” Moreover, Peter Khan identified the concept of “real nature” and modern-day “technological nature” which includes a digital representation of nature in the form of video games, motion pictures and virtual reality etc.

We are, therefore, seeking alternatives to real nature as pristine natural environments become much more difficult to access. Conversely, the digital representations of nature certainly have limits to our needs to connect with mother nature and cannot provide real solutions to the adverse effects out there in the wild.

How did we get here?

Prehistoric man would struggle against the elements and did so with having relatively little in terms of resources or protection. Eventually, nature won by leveling the landscape, eliminating anything that has been created by hominids and starting again.

We have come a long way technologically and socially since then. The advancements made have been exceptional, leading to more comfortable and profitable lifestyles for most. However, in doing so, we have again made a change in our relationship with nature. The man again has sought to alter the landscape and alter the natural and unpredictable spirit of the planet.

We have built societies out of the destruction of nature and we have done this under the guise that it was for the good of humanity. However, humanity now stands in fear for our futures – because by building homes we have destroyed our one true home – the earth.

We have chosen to rehome animals and plants, encouraging them to survive in different countries and climates that they were no innately created for. Thus, taking away natural landscapes to replace them with concrete and towers. We have even sought to seek mastery over water and wind – so that they will work for us – by providing us with power and energy.

The irony is that man is seeking to have dominance over nature – perhaps to dull the fear of Mother Earth’s sometimes unsympathetic and adverse temperament – but we are also similarly dependent on it, because we cannot exist without it.

This reliance on nature, whilst concurrently trying to control it, has resulted in destruction and the depletion of our integral reserves. Now our previous relationship with nature is showing signs of breaking down and becoming inharmonious.

The change in our relationship with nature has resulted in our NEED to change our current relationship with nature.

What Are The Effects Caused By The Change In Our Relationship With Nature?

  • Pollution

Pollution is one of the ways in which humans negatively impact mother nature. These include air, water, climate and depletion of natural resources. Our everyday actions such as greenhouse gas emissions and improper waste disposal contribute to these adverse effects on nature. As a result, the air we inhale contains pollutants and our sources of water are increasing polluted together with the aquatic animals that live in it.

  • Global Warming

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency noted that our activities are contributing largely to the increase in temperature around the globe. These are primarily due to industrialization and greenhouse gas emissions. globe. These are primarily due to industrialization and greenhouse gas emissions. The consequences of global warming are difficult to predict but NASA stated that earth will like become warmer which in turn will lead to more evaporation and precipitation [4]. Thus making individual regions wetter and dryer. Other effects of global warming include melting of glaciers and rise in sea level.

  • Deforestation

Plants have a key role in our ecosystem because of their ability to regulate the climate by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing back oxygen. Deforestation is happening rapidly across the globe in order to give way for agriculture, settlements, and mining. However, climate change and natural disaster can also cause deforestation by drying out rain forests which will have a negative effect on the biodiversity.

  • Extinction of varying species

Population growth, environmental degradation, and pollution are having an adverse effect on varying species. Animals have become extinct in the past due to several reasons such as competition for resources and natural changes. However, human activities today is essentially taking the wild out of wild animals and influencing the extinction and endangerment of wild species due to unsustainable hunting, habitat loss and deforestation etc [5].

What Can We Do?

  • Education and Awareness

By educating people more about the environment, we can encourage awareness and change. This needs to be a global and widespread communal effort.

  • Re-evaluate And Re-position

We need to assess our position within nature and readdress how we can interact socially and economically and move forward in a way that causes less impact, less stress and less destruction on the environment.

  • Back To Basics

Whilst we can not expect humanity to take a step backward in social and technological advancements, we do have to consider that man originally came from being a gatherer – taking from nature what nature instinctively created. By listening to our own past efforts of living from the land and paying more attention to the respect of mother nature we could slow down, or put a halt on the damage caused by chemical pollutants, deforestation, synthetic materials, and toxic waste. Proceeding with the focus being on a happy, healthy and harmonious existence with the planet as opposed to control, destruction and industrialization.

Remember, you must keep in mind that wherever you live, no matter how big or small your village, town or city, you can do something to make a difference. These include proper waste disposal, good utilization of energy and water amongst other things.

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