Nature has and always will exist. Environmental degradation by humans is not the destruction of nature, but rather a function of it. This is understood if we differentiate the meaning of the words “nature” and “environment” which are sometimes perceived as interchangeable. “Nature” should be understood the whole collection of processes which determine all things. “Environment” should be understood as the pre-human conditions that are caused and causes of biotic and abiotic factors, many of which still do exist and are now subject to human effects. By these understandings, we can say that what is also natural is any awareness of our effect and so are all attempts to adjust our actions. I say this to avoid implying that our destructive effects are good because of their naturalness.

The Earth contains an environment that has been drastically altered throughout history, and with each alteration, the conditions for life as we know it today approached. Earth, while still very much in a constant state of change, has maintained a general status quo that lets us exist, such as the acquirement of an atmosphere or the development of relationships between primitive microorganisms. This status quo will undeniably be altered to a new one, slowly or suddenly, and the planet we inhabit will be changed so drastically that no human will survive it (if they were to survive, I would argue that they are no longer human as we know it now). This time where the status quo is changed should be far into the future, further than any person can predict, most likely through a catastrophic environmental event.

The lifespan of the current status quo is in danger, however, as we can now conceive it changing within a number of years. We know this is due to our own action. Human nature, which manipulates and optimizes other materials and organisms, which creates a unique symbiosis and parasitism between all of the biotic and abiotic traits of Earth, and which directly alters geographical features, has caused the status quo to reach a point of change sooner than anyone who cares for life would wish. The human nature has potential to become, more than it already has, environmental catastrophe. We have wiped entire species off the planet. By our own definitions, we can make compelling arguments that we are a pestilence, invasive species in many places, parasitic to both living and non-living components of the Earth. This may be a drastic view, but to deny at least our potential to become something of a catastrophe is just idiocy or self-deception in the extreme. One only needs to refer to the atomic bomb, as it is the grandest example of the fact that we have an apocalyptic capacity.

 

 

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