Biology - Other

Are Human Beings still Part of Nature

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"Are Human Beings still Part of Nature"
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Humans often set themselves apart from nature as if we are in no way connected. Of course, this is not the case at all; we are all living organisms and cannot exist in a vacuum. We may think that we are better than, or the master of, nature but when ice storms, hurricanes or tsunamis occur we have to concede that we are not. Nature offers a lot of lessons for us to learn, if we have the wisdom to do so.

Some of the things we learn from nature may not always be to our best advantage. For example, the way that some insects continue on their chosen path despite every obstacle getting larger and ultimately leading to their death may seem courageous to some. However, continuing on a path of destruction despite all advice to the contrary is also partly why we are facing the elephant in the living room of global warming in our lifetime.

One lesson we can learn from nature is patience. From the domestic cat who sits for hours under a bird table waiting for a carelessly low approach flight by a sparrow, to the Praying Mantis that sits motionless until something edible comes along, patience in nature is a virtue. If something is worth having, it is usually worth waiting for.

Often that “something” is worth fighting for too, but nature will show us that fighting to the death is never a good idea. Even the biggest and most well-armed animals such as Komodo Dragons or hippopotamus rarely fight to kill. Man is the only animal to use a tool to hurt another of our species (although primates are known to use tools for other reasons). Some people say that shows we are more advanced than the rest of nature.

Conserving resources is another area of our lives where we could learn from the natural world. Most species that live in groups have an innate ability to limit their procreation during times of limited food. Some species, such as chipmunks, only breed from the dominant male or female in the group. This ensures the continuation of the best examples of the species. Humans breed indiscriminately, often with the least able to care for their offspring having more children than anyone else.

Good parenting skills are essential for any species to survive it seems, except humans. We survive in spite of our parenting, or lack of. We have learned that collective parenting can work, by setting up daycare centres just as meerkats and elephants use the extended family structure to care for their young. What we seem unable to learn is that sometimes sick offspring die and that is of benefit to the whole community. We find this unacceptable, and strive to find ways of making every baby survive no matter how disabled they are. Nature removes such offspring from other species as quickly as possible.

Energy conservation also plays an important part in nature. Eating seasonal produce and hibernating during the winter are ways in which nature encourages animals to live according to their means. Of course, humans cannot hibernate. We can, however, recognize that a 24-hour society is not what we are designed for. Being active during daylight hours and sleeping when it falls dark is our natural state. Forcing our bodies to be active at all times of the day and night means we consume more of everything around us.

It is because we seek to distance ourselves from the rest of the natural world that we are running headlong into problems of over-consumption and inability to feed and house our ever growing species. We fight nature at every turn, and feel righteous in doing so, despite the fact that each time we "win," we are actually accellerating our ultimate demise.

More about this author: Silva Payne

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