Ed. Note: We are happy to share this reader response, which is part of a series developed by environmental science students at Loyola University Chicago from the course Environmental Sustainability.
I strongly believe that nature and ourselves are one in itself; we are weaker when we are separate but together we take on the world—literally! Nature works simultaneously with humans, and humans work simultaneously with nature to produce an ongoing output and input of life on earth. Whether we realize it or not humans are interconnected with nature. Humans cannot survive without nature.
Unfortunately, humans take for granted the great things that nature has to offer. People ignore the simplicity of nature, even when nature is a fundamental asset to our everyday life. Nature simply provides the air we need. But what do we do? We destroy it with pollution, smog, chemical waste, etc. Those unwanted substances can be extremely harmful. Pollution can be in forms of natural sources like volcanic eruptions or like those mentioned before. Some pollutants are even toxic like xenobiotic; a chemical that is “foreign to living systems” (Robertson, 133). There is also air, water, and soil pollutants. There has been a great deal of water contamination and industrial pollution These types of pollinates have direct effects on humans causing humans to face huge environmental challenges. Environmental impacts can range from small to large scales. Pollutants cause health problems, ocean acidification affects food supply and climate change may cause unnecessary deaths.
For instance, when humans attempt to implement their own mechanisms of nature like factory farming, guess what it does? It causes human and environmental impacts. Factory farming; “large scale animal factories” (Robertson, 226), causes environmental issues like a waste of bacteria, chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones. All in which are generated from this malpractice of trying to replicate and expedite normal farming. Nature is literally one of a kind. It cannot be tampered with. It is evident that this relationship is a critical component of the cycle of life. Unknowingly, we develop these bad habits and are not conscious of the damage that our bad habits cause. This unconsciousness causes us to become separate from nature. If we try to separate ourselves from nature our life cycle brings us right back to nature. Humans and nature are like a baby to its mother. They will always have a bond. Because even when humans are unconscious of their negative impacts on nature, we still are affected. We forget that our existence is not entirely controlled by us. But that it is a two-way relationship between humans and nature. Since we unconsciously make decisions and ignore the effortless energy that nature keeps going so that humans can be sustained.
When humans are a part of nature, things are a million times better. I have personally seen the difference between humans being separate from nature and humans being a part of nature, specifically in the air we breathe. When I volunteered with Forest Glen Woods Stewardship, we spent our hours chopping down an invasive species called the Buckthorn tree. During this process, I could tell the difference in the air. It was clearer than the air in downtown Chicago. Being surrounded by nature has better results. Even when people eat from nature, they are better health-wise. Overall, nature plays a huge role in the human life span.
Humans gain great pleasures on what the natural world has to offer. Nature consumes anything that technology has to offer. Personally, if I am out in the woods or in a garden I’m distracted and curious by the things that nature has to offer. I am so consumed by nature I have a million and one questions to ask. So much so, I can forget about “my phone” for a change. Nature can be therapeutic. When I am connected to nature there is almost always an exchange of joy. Nature and its importance are really noticed during alone time. Anytime I am alone time on a beach, or in a garden, or even in a park I get a sense of relief. It is almost as if nature speaks to the soul; it is an indescribable feeling. My state of mind is totally different. Humans fail to realize and notice nature’s significance throughout a normal day. We neglect the authenticity of the world. We humans need to become more conscious of what nature has to offer and realize how much we depend on nature then I believe humans will begin to make a change.
Holistically the world is a better place when humans make conscious efforts to preserve nature. Nature is an art. Nature is essential to our everyday lives; it is a huge contributor to our well-being. Being detached from something authentic as nature leads us nowhere! Better comes from being a part of nature than it does being separate from nature. It is true that humans and nature are one in itself; people must keep it in mind that whatever harms nature harms humans and if nature thrives humans will too.