One of the greatest arguments of philosophy and the scholastic disciplines of the sort has been the debate on the degree of influence that nature has on the growth and development of human beings and the civilizations that define them. By examining the interactions of the environment and the living creations that reside within, one is able to examine and define the type of relationship in place between nature and the creatures of the world.
Upon first glance, one will notice that the fundamental roles of the environment and the creatures within respectively are that of a cyclical reciprocity wherein the environment serves as a primary provider in a great cycle of life and death, a cycle that all of the living creatures, especially humans, are a part of on a daily basis. The first premise is that the environments role in the cycle of life is that of a provider, wherein all possible forms of energy and sustenance derive. All of the environments facets, the air, the water, the verdancy, serve as the primary commodity with which the basic order of life on this planet employ for their means of sustenance. Most animals in nature directly receive their means of sustenance directly from consuming articles of the earth, namely plankton, field grass, and the lowest forms of animals and receive their obligatory elements from the water and the air. All animals are entangled in the reciprocation of water and air, for all animals consume water and then replete the water supply via digestive process wherein water is returned to the Earth, and all mammalian animals transfer air amongst their environment wherein the plants are able to internalize this discharge and return back into the environment viable source of breathable air. These basic roles help to foster the more complex roles that are found in the environment between the different forms of life, the different types of animals and plants. The more complex roles that one will see in play in nature include the hierarchy of the predacious wherein animals comport their existence to the animals and plants that they rely on for food, energy, and maintenance. It is by this process of comporting to the environment that becomes the predication on which a species evolutionary track progresses, towards prosperity and towards stagnancy.
It has been refuted by many, but accepted by most that it is due to a harmonious and contemporaneous existence between the environment and those who depend on the environment that results in the prolonged existence and evolution of a species. This is made evident in such familiar examples as the relationship between the evolution of giraffes and the disposition of the environment in which they resided. Earlier giraffes that lived in areas where the source of food required height and elevated mobility, that were ill equipped physically, would eventually die out, resulting in a proliferation of giraffes that were well equipped physically to adapt to the environment around them. This group of physically fit giraffes then became the paradigm for which a successful lineage of giraffes followed to ensure further existence. This symbiotic relationship yields the ultimate trade-off, for both parties are satisfied with neither party being prayed upon, for even in being devoured by the giraffe the plant is able to spread its seed and minerals allowing for the propagation and further cultivation of its species. It is this cyclical reciprocity where the harmonious coexistence of animal and environment is founded on and sustained by. Animals in general act according to this principle when interacting with other species of animal. Predators, the prey, and the scavengers all fit into a role in which their participation is the direct cause of fluidity of the cycle. An animal such as a lion preys on a zebra, whose carcass is subsequently devoured and then left to decay. The act of devouring the zebras body is the means with which the lion is able to sustain their existence while the decaying of the zebras body allows for the perpetual existence of decomposition bacteria, the wild grass which uses the minerals rendered from the decaying matter, and the zebras themselves for having nourished grass to eat which in turn makes them more strong and vigilant creatures. This all-encompassing cycle of life, death, and coexistence is the means for all of the animals to exist in harmony during their tenure on Earth. It is in the disruption of this process that catalyzes environmental entropy. When one of the stages of the life and death cycle are removed, depleted, or tampered with, this tainting agent can consequently imbue the entire cycle causing mass hysteria amongst the environment and creatures involved. Only the animals that have found a state of adaptability, which for all intents and purposes can be made analogous to the act of compromising, are the animals that in turn are consequently successful and longer lasting. In instances where this adaptation is breeched, another cycle, one that is detrimental in nature, is initiated. This cycle is one of a parasitic nature wherein the party that breeches the environmental cycle is the party that assumes the role of the parasite. There is a creature that acts according to this parasitic form of existence and that creature is man.
Man is nothing short of an utter anthropological paradox in that mans greatest physical endowment is the mental and physical capacity to adapt to any environmental condition via compelling the environment to adapt to the physical and mental needs of man. This virulent nature causes severely detrimental ripples in the continuum of life and death in our environment that has adverse effects on the future endeavors of man. Although the intentions are practical, the results tend to be harmful rather than beneficial, in a grander scheme. In mans adaptations of the environment we have been able to develop acute sciences that have allowed us to make the technological advances worthy of easing our way of life and ensuring a means to further manipulate the environment for our own personal purposes of survival. Man has been able to alter the environment in order to produce quality pharmaceuticals that help further the amount of life we have on this earth by making us stronger and virile against pathogens and other natural malignancies. Man has been able to make strides in agriculture, where we have been able to change the way nature produces food in order to be more economic, commercial, and conservational with our produce. Man has been able to make strides in electronic technology that has allowed us to spread information amongst nations, develop stronger defense mechanism artillery, and provide more entertaining forms of pacification, i.e. movies, music, television, video games, and computers. In theory these materials and concepts are necessary but in terms of the industrial practices that afford these possibilities, we are doing a far greater harm to ourselves than we are improving ourselves.
By tampering with the environment we do nothing but create a circumstance wherein we further delineate from the primary intent of that which what we have at our disposal. Every advancement in science and technology requires the establishment of an industrial factory. These factories that produce the materials that we so need emit noxious chemical byproducts out into the environment, chemicals that have negative effects on our health, our communities, and our patterns of weather. Technological advances that have been implemented for reasons of facilitating our existence in this world, namely transportation, have done nothing but simultaneously destroy our environment as they help man move from place to place, to further destroy our surroundings. All of our improvements, advances, and facilitations require great amounts of energy, energy that we render through burning fossil fuels, obstructing water passages, destroying our most basic particles, atoms, to render energy that does nothing but produce perilous byproducts. Logical reasoning would lead one to assume that if something enacted always creates something dangerous, maybe it is a sign that it shouldnt be done.
The extending perils go beyond physicality though, for our indecorousness with the environment has great social effects as well. For instance, the adverse health effects associated with destroying our environment creates situations where people become ill to the point where they are unable to perform socially perfunctory tasks, thus thrusting their society into economic recessions. Countries where there are indications of environmental infringement are ravished by poverty, serious health problems, and educational inferiority. These countries are all afflicted with the destruction of our environment at the hands of an adapting majority that plunges them further and further into an irrevocable economic and environmental death, rendering their viability in the civilized world nonexistent.
The problem with the environment situation is that it is one that requires a great deal of remedial action with a greater deal of participation and sacrifice. To remedy the problem with the environment would be to sacrifice our materialistic desires for that of a pastoral life. This concept will, for obvious reasons, be rejected by a great deal of people. To save the air that we pollute with a nonchalant fervor would require a reduction in mass transportation, as well as a decline in the industrialized world, which would mean a subsiding of all technological, agricultural, and mechanical production. To save and protect the environment would require a participation of the masses to revert to a conservation scheme wherein we sacrifice our daily trivialities for that of more natural animalistic practices, which is unfortunately too great a sacrifice for people to make. We as a modernized world have come too far enslaved to our own desires to improve, that we have put our environment in a whirlwind spiral towards complete eradication. It is a shameful revelation because we dont realize just how much we could salvage from our dying environment that would serve us prosperously. Unfortunately, rather then change with nature, as have the evolving animals, man changes nature. This inclination for adaptation is however due to mans innate superior intellect, an intellect that has made man the most curious and inquisitive and knowledge seeking of the animal kingdom. This brings us to the fact of our inevitability and our history. Man has been in this position before, where our superior intellect and ability to seek knowledge put us in inauspicious circumstances rather than that of the proper rapport between beast and environment. The seeking of knowledge with no concern for the ramifications brings us back to mans original sin, the usurpation of the apple from the tree of knowledge. In an act so innocent as seeking the sustenance of fruit from a willing tree in nature, was the act that defined us as a species. We rather seek pleasure for ourselves then live in accordance with the laws of nature regardless of the consequences.