Nature is Cruel by Skip Miller
Nature can create disasters that make the atomic bomb look puny. Natural disasters can cause millions of life forms to die or suffer. Species can be wiped out.
Natures balancing act is cruel as well. During years with good growing conditions plants will do well and multiple. Animals will prosper and their populations will grow. It may look like paradise unending.
But when nature disrupts this time of plenty, hardship and suffering will follow. It will no longer be a paradise. It may never be the same again. Nature can be cruel.
Donít get me wrong, I enjoy and respect nature. Some of the most peaceful moments I have experienced were in natural settings. Nature can cause a powerful sense of wellbeing. Natural settings can be majestic and beyond description.
Nature has performed a delicate balancing act for more years than I am able to imagine. It also can unleash power far beyond any mankind is capable of.
Nature is also a check to my ego. It reminds me the world does not center on me and that I am simply a small part of it. It also reminds me that all in nature are equal. The good or bad fortune that struck another yesterday may fall on me tomorrow.
I was speaking with Prof. Pete Mehringer, an archaeologist/paleoecologist from Washington Sate University. I can't remember his exact words, but it was to the effect that "the nature of nature is change." Of course, this may not fit well with some current environmentalist notions of stable, pristine environments that, if just left to themselves, will return to the enduring harmony of yesterdayís stable states. Nature just doesn't really work that way.
The more I think about "the nature of nature is change," the more I believe in its truth. Even before man came on the scene change was a constant. Species came and disappeared. Mountains rose and eroded. Lakes were formed, then disappeared.
Even though all species are important and deserve a chance to survive, I also know change is constant and some wonít survive. It does not matter how much we want them to.
When man first came on the scene we were probably less disruptive than many other species. As our population has grown, our impact has increased and as our population continues to grow, so will our impact on nature.
Where we are different from other species, is our ability to learn and change parts of the natural environment to our liking. It is then no longer natural. As technology and population increase so does our ability to disrupt nature.
Our grandparents lived with nature. They fed the cows when it was 30 below zero. They cared for the crops when it was over 100 degrees. If the rains didnít come, their crops failed and they could face a hungry winter. Nature directly affected their survival every day. Today more and more people are living in populated areas and nature does not directly affect their day to day survival.
We get our food from grocery stores. Clothing and other needs are also filled at stores. Many may no longer understand the process or the importance of nature in bringing theses products to us. At the same time they may worship nature for the recreational opportunities and pleasure it can give. It makes it difficult to see the whole picture.
Today many of us are concerned about our impact on nature. I am glad. We have created many problems and the first step in solving any problem is to recognize it.
I am also concerned. I believe that many fighting to conserve and wisely use our resources do not have a true understanding of nature. Nor do they consider the whole picture. Without a realistic understanding of nature and a willingness to look at the whole picture, more harm than good can done by environmental efforts. Not intentionally but through ignorance.
I have listened to others who hold an unrealistic vision of what nature should be. Their environmental efforts are an attempt at forcing nature to behave as does in their dreams. Their intentions are good. Their actions arenít. Action guided by good intentions or emotions without intelligent thought can be extremely harmful.
I also believe many take environmental action because of guilt. Guilt because they are using resources unwisely in both their home and work life. Instead of making changes in their own lives that will relieve the guilt, they begin supporting an environmental activity or group in a vain attempt to relieve the guilt.
Without a good basic understanding of nature and because of guilt, we are an easy target for those who want to make a quick dollar, who are seeking power and/or have a false dream. Donít fall for emotional pleas promoting shallow plans to save our environment. Nature gave us both emotions and intellect. Both are needed when making important environmental decisions.
Our use of resources per person is increasing. Our prime farmland is disappearing to urban growth. Locking up resources will not change these problems. Reducing the consumption and waste of resources will.
You want to make a difference and help our planet? Good! Start by making changes where you can. In your own life. Consume fewer resources. Encourage your friends to do the same. Learn more about our environment. Look at the whole picture. Become active in-groups that are willing to work with those who hold differing views.
You will truly make a difference.
"Nature is Cruel" by Skip Miller
"Nature is the Cruelest Killer" by Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar
Go to the debate on the topic