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What is mans relationship with nature

It is one of the first works to document the effects of human action on the environment and it helped to launch the modern conservation movement. Marsh is remembered by scholars as a profound and observant student of men, books and nature with a wide range of interests ranging from history to poetry and literature. His wide array of knowledge and great natural powers of mind gave him the ability to speak and write about every topic of inquire with the assertive authority of a genuine investigator. He initially got the idea for "man and Nature" from his observations in his New England home and his foreign travels devoted to similar inquiries. He felt that men were too quick to lessen their sense of responsibility and he was "unwilling to leave the world worse than he found it".

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Humans and Nature

We are getting something terribly wrong. We need a new mass movement that bears witness to a right way of living on our finite, life-giving planet. Over just the last two decades, science has radically altered its view of the arrangement both of life and of non-living components of the earth. New understandings are emerging that place relationship at the center. Today scientists are admitting that this three-hundred-year-old scientific doctrine is far too simplistic, and are finding that physical substances work and exist in terms of highly complex, interdependent, and changeable contexts and relationships.

So, for example, the relationships between genes in the human body, rather than only their individual functions, are the key to the countless ways that human genes can produce genetic traits and characteristics. We are now learning that relationship is the key to the survival of our species on the social and political level, as well. This essay is about relationship writ large, and about how to move to right relationship from wrong relationship in our individual and collective economic lives.

A quick story of one set of relationships operating on our planet helps illustrate this more sophisticated scientific understanding. Life on earth also exists in a spatial relationship to the atmosphere, which must contain gases also arranged in a particular relationship—not too much carbon dioxide, plenty of nitrogen and oxygen, only minute amounts of other gases.

Finally, all life forms need access to a highly particular relationship between only two simple and very plentiful gases: hydrogen and oxygen. Water, so necessary to life, is in fact a relationship between those two gases.

Development of the Alberta tar sands is a massive attempt to alter the relationships of the substances normally found below the earth with those on it.

In this case, oil is brought from beneath the crust along with the sand it permeates and placed in relationship to the ecosystems found on the surface: forests, rivers, wetlands, and lakes. Once on the surface, the oil enters into a relatively permanent set of new relationships with air and water, both in Alberta where it is mined, and also when it is used in vehicles and heating plants in the chain of refineries and users that spread out from it, as far west as China and as far south as Texas.

The immense Athabaska River, adapted over millennia and nourishing the boreal forest, enters into a long-term new set of relationships, too. This alteration of relationships transforms the thousands of square miles devoted to tar sands development into a huge, toxic graveyard of former life, with a stench of sulfur and hot asphalt that can be smelled from far away. The surface of the earth is stripped of all animal or plant habitat. In the surrounding area, pus-filled boils, cancers, and other lethal diseases and birth defects in the fish, animal, and human population are now being documented.

But not only are ecological relationships affected. Tar sands development also affects social relationships among people. Tens of thousands of workers have migrated to the few towns and many work camps on the site.

The crime rate in the towns and cities most affected, Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewayan, and Edmonton and Calgary, has risen, as have homelessness, the cost of living, and prostitution. Human casualties from drug use, alcohol, highway accidents, and the rigors of shift work on a frontier are also escalating. And these are only the impacts at the beginning of the chain. Once shipped from Alberta, tar sands oil will power air conditioners in deserts, furnaces in the Arctic, and many cars, trucks, and jets.

It will serve as the raw material for a vast array of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. Right relationship provides a guiding ethic for people wishing to lead fulfilling lives as creative and integrated participants in human society and the commonwealth of life as a whole.

Right relationship offers a guidance system for functioning in harmony with scientific reality and enduring ethical traditions. In the s, conservation biologist Aldo Leopold, reflecting on what he had come to see as the next stage in human moral development, created a useful definition of right relationship.

It is wrong when it tends otherwise. How the ethic is understood in practice depends, of course, on the type of community.

It is quite possible to choose right relationships and the common good. Many individuals are already doing so, as are many communities and a few societies. The problem the world is currently facing, however, is that in most of our modern societies the majority of people are actively urged, even forced, to choose wrong relationships, such as those typified by the Alberta tar sands project.

Greed and the constant stimulation of new desires that feed it, until quite recently regarded in most societies as sinful or at least unpleasant, have increasingly become acceptable, even glorified. Simultaneously, modern industrial activity has embraced a pathological gigantism, increasing corporate consolidations and ruthlessly crushing the small-business players, as well as the natural systems on which all economic activity depends.

In short, a pursuit of wrong relationships is the prevailing trend of our times. The signs are now well known: climate change, overpopulation, loss of topsoil and fresh water, increasing rates of species extinction, deforestation, imperiled coral reefs, unstoppable invasive species, toxic chemicals that remain for eons in the environment, persistent human poverty and hunger, and an increasingly inflated, unstable world financial system and globalizing economy.

And we only begin the list. Right relationship with life and the world is both a personal and a collective choice, but it is a choice that we must make. It can support and inspire people struggling to find a foundational base for the development of productive societies and a healthy human—earth relationship.

Opting for healthy human and ecological communities is a decision we can make that will require us to find new ways to live and to run our economies. The reductionist science of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries transformed ethical ideas by removing, for many people, their theological foundations. To move from wrong to right relationship, we need to answer the question: related to what?

To answer this question we have chosen a term that stresses interdependence— commonwealth. It is typically used to describe a political community established to promote the common good, rather than only the interests of individuals or a particular class of people.

The traditional idea of a commonwealth stresses the shared features of the community and interdependence of its members. For people, relationships with other humans or with natural communities bring in notions of mutual respect and fairness that are reflected, for example, in universally recognized moral principles like the Golden Rule. The commonwealth of life extends these notions of common features, fair sharing, and interdependence to the entire community of living beings on the earth.

Nearly all life on the earth has been made possible by the power of the sun, which over eons has fueled the creation of living structures of increasing complexity and interdependence.

These range from single-cell organisms to elephant, honey bee, or human societies, as well as the intertwined communities of plants, animals, insects, and other biota that constitute a forest. In the commonwealth of all life, the actions of each individual member or species affect the entire commonwealth, however small the result might be. We human beings are now in a position to have far greater impact on the commonwealth of life than most of the other life forms with which we share the planet.

Therefore we have the responsibility and privilege to consider other beings and ecosystems when we engage in any sort of social action, including an economy. Our species has arrived at its present precarious condition through a history of development driven, in part, by economic relationships and interactions. But though it has facilitated convenience in material living over the centuries, building and maintaining human societies has often had disastrous effects on human and natural communities—the ruin of the Mayan, Roman, and Easter Island civilizations are examples.

By objective measures, the kind of globalized economy that has seized the world since World War II is one of the most disastrous of all. Far more catastrophic collapses are likely to hit human and ecological communities in the near future, and the long-run prospect is dire indeed unless a shift from wrong to right relationships becomes part of human culture.

The postwar financial success of a globalized economy has led to the continuing expansion of finance and consumption and to prosperity for hundreds of millions of people, but it has also trapped the nations of the world in a relentless pursuit of economic growth with no thermostat or shutoff valve.

Especially since the end of the Cold War and the easing of any threat of a competing ideology, an increasingly unregulated global capitalistic economy, as developed most enthusiastically in the United States, has dismantled decades-old institutions and structures that had previously succeeded at more evenly distributing prosperity and reducing market abuses.

Like putting water into the tar sands, placing the human economy above the well-being of the natural world creates a lethal, poisonous wrong relationship. So how can people shift from an economy based on greed and unquestioned growth to a whole earth economy that is based on right relationship with the commonwealth of life?

What are people aiming for, individually and collectively, in the myriad interdependent transactions that make up the economy? They assume, despite having little or no serious argument or data, that more consumption and economic activity will result in greater well-being.

Yet this answer makes no sense. To begin with, in mainstream economic terms, growth is not measured in terms of benefits, but simply keeps track of overall economic activity in terms of exchanges of money. Many such exchanges create negative side effects, such as pollution, but money spent on cleaning up the resulting pollution is measured as positive growth—and hence adds to dominant measures like gross domestic product GDP.

So, for example, the current economic model sees the money spent cleaning up the Exxon Valdez oil spill as an increase in GDP and therefore beneficial. Similarly, when a person suffers a fatal car accident, the economic exchanges, in terms of ambulances, insurance agents, funeral homes, and so forth, increase GDP and are seen as positive. The current purpose of the economy—providing ever-increasing wealth, with ever-increasing growth—means that cash incomes can rise while actual wealth falls, as measured by natural capital such as soil, timber, oil reserves, and clean water.

Making money often demands the one-time, windfall liquidation of centuries-old natural support systems such as forests or fisheries, or even older works of nature such as the Canadian tar sands. In addition, GDP growth contains no measure of distribution, so inequity, poverty, and outright starvation often can, and do, rise at the same time that overall economic activity increases.

These problems are symptoms of an economy in wrong relationship. The human economy is our way of provisioning ourselves. Hence for humans this means providing for the well- being of individual people, households, communities, and nations. It also means providing for the health and vitality of the finite ecological community in which we live—our diverse and finite earth.

Moving away from an economy based on wrong relationships does not spell economic doom. Rather, it creates opportunities for truly rich and fulfilling lives for all. The prevailing way of thinking about how the economy works is to imagine that the economy is the box in which social interactions, ecosystems, and their resources are contained. The current economic order has a wrong relationship with how the real economy of this planet works.

First, it assumes that the earth is subsidiary to the economy. Second, it mistakes a measure of wealth— money—for wealth itself. Third, it does not know how to think intelligently about the by-products of economic activity that are not the desired outputs—what we typically call waste.

How Does the Earth Work? In a typical mainstream economics textbook, the economy is represented by a circular flow diagram. In fact, about a century ago economists stopped considering any concern for the adequacy of such resources as food and energy. Mainstream economics today proceeds, with rare exception, with no reference to the laws of physics, chemistry, or biology. This requires a basic scientific understanding of how the planet works, which in turn requires some understanding of how the universe itself works.

Kenneth Boulding, an economist and pioneer of complex systems, pointed out in the s that the earth can be thought of as a spaceship: The material available for economic activity is limited to what is already on board the craft floating in the universe.

The fact that the earth is a system closed to matter has important implications. For all practical purposes, nothing ever enters or leaves. But the earth is open to energy. It receives a continuous flow of energy from outside the system in the form of sunlight, and it radiates roughly the same amount of heat back into space.

This flow of heat from the sun is a key factor in making life on the earth not only possible, but abundant. The energy from past sunlight is stored in coal, oil, and natural gas. These are called stocks. Present and future sunlight is called flows. Understanding this fact forms an essential foundation for building an economy in right relationship with life and our earth.

Nature and Man’s Connection

To Emerson, the natural world is better than his own, offering mankind all the life and inspiration that is absent from society. Emerson convinces his readers that the relationship between man and nature is sacred, comforting, and vital for survival. He goes about answering this question with several arguments.

We are getting something terribly wrong. We need a new mass movement that bears witness to a right way of living on our finite, life-giving planet.

Humans exert great pressure on the natural world. At the same time, human health and well-being face huge environmental challenges. Increasingly, these challenges are global in scale such as the relentless rise of greenhouse gases driving climate change, the acidification of the oceans, and shortages of fresh water, fuel, and other natural resources. Local environmental problems such as contaminated water and industrial pollution also affect human health and are often sharpest among the most vulnerable in developing countries and disadvantaged populations. Solutions to these problems must be multifaceted involving political and institutional change at national and global levels, reduced human demands on the environment, and better technologies to provide water, fuel, and other resources.

Technology is changing our relationship with nature as we know it

February 10, Jane Goodall greets the audience by imitating a chimpanzee, then launches into an hour-long talk on her relationship with apes and how, from being a primatologist, she became an activist to protect them. At 78, Goodall, who has 53 years of studying chimps behind her, is still criss-crossing the planet to raise the awareness of populations and their leaders on the fate of the apes and the need to protect the environment. There were sessions on the ethics of chimps being used in medical research , habitat destruction and chimps caught in snares and the beginning of the bush meat trade. She started her career as an activist in Africa, travelling from country to country with her exhibit—a collection of photos and some tools used by chimpanzees, who, like all the great apes, are endangered by habitat destruction and the bush meat and pet trades. The realisation that many of the problems faced by African populations stemmed from exploitation of natural resources, first in the colonial era and then by multinational companies, led her to realise "it's also clearly important to travel in Europe and North America, and now increasingly in Asia," she told those gathered to listen to her at the National Museum headquarters in Nairobi. She spoke of the explosion in the planet's human population , of the ever greater need for land, food and housing, and evoked the scarcity of water as well as global warming. The snows of Kilimanjaro," she recalled. That is just one signal and this is all around the world that the glaciers are melting," she went on. For Goodall, one of the world's leading chimpanzee experts, "something has gone wrong" in the relationship between man and the planet.

Our Role and Relationship With Nature

University of Washington psychology professor Peter Kahn has spent much of his career analyzing the relationship humans have with nature—and he thinks that relationship is more fragile than many of us realize. Kahn works to understand the intersection of two modern phenomena: the destruction of nature, and the growth of technology. Yet there is a limit to the extent technological representations of nature can provide the soothing, restorative, creativity-enhancing benefits of a walk in the real woods. Quartz spoke to Kahn about the increasing prevalence of technological nature and why humans will be unable to invent an alternative to fostering meaningful connections with our environment.

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Nature connectedness is the extent to which individuals include nature as part of their identity. These three components make up nature connectedness and are required for a healthy relationship with nature. If an individual feels connected to nature possibly by spending time in it , they may be more inclined to care about nature, and protect the environment.

Humans & Nature: The Right Relationship

Nature is one of those words that we take for granted. It can be defined as the phenomena of the material world, including the biosphere which was created and is maintained by living processes. In the Western world, where most people live in the built environment, and in urban populations everywhere totalling half of humanity, nature is seen as something external, perhaps to be admired or visited, but not really essential.

Earth as we know it is an incredibly complex and fragile network of interconnected systems that have developed slowly over the last 4. From the ashes of the Big Bang this planet emerged as a mass of energy and elements. From that newly born mass of energy and elements evolved structured, dynamic systems of solids, liquids, and gases. The evolution of this planet continued to unfold over billions of years in such a unique way that eventually conditions arose with the ability to foster life. From the smallest microorganisms to the largest animals, all life on Earth has a common ancestor.

The Human–Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review

However, to examine whether there is a link requires research of its breadth and underlying mechanisms from an interdisciplinary approach. This article begins by reviewing the debates concerning the human—nature relationship, which are then critiqued and redefined from an interdisciplinary perspective. It is argued that using an interdisciplinary perspective can facilitate a deeper understanding of the complexities involved for attaining optimal health at the human—environmental interface. During the last century, research has been increasingly drawn toward understanding the human—nature relationship 1 , 2 and has revealed the many ways humans are linked with the natural environment 3. Such connection has underpinned a host of theoretical and empirical research in fields, which until now have largely remained as separate entities. Since the late nineteenth century a number of descriptive models have attempted to encapsulate the dimensions of human and ecosystem health as well as their interrelationships.

according to White, “Man's relation to the soil was profoundly changed. Formerly man had been part of nature; now he was the exploiter on nature” (8). So for the  by DM Moghadam - ‎Cited by 4 - ‎Related articles.

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