Human-nature relationship summary
The environment is important and necessary for human beings. From it, people obtain essential elements for life, such as clean water and food. Therefore, the destruction of nature can endanger the survival of millions of people. This degeneration of the natural environment has its origins in human activity and has worsened, especially with the various industrial revolutions. Today it is scientifically indisputable that many ecosystems are threatened by this situation. These are the conclusions of a report by the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
In summary, the researchers identified 3 benefits that nature brings to humans. They are water quality regulation, protection against coastal hazards and crop pollination.
In a study, IPBES mentions that in places with more demand for resources, nature’s capacity to cope with this demand is decreasing. The consequences of environmental destruction – or overexploitation – include water shortages and environmental disasters. It is estimated that by 2050, 5 billion people could be at serious risk from water pollution, coastal storms and poorly pollinated crops.
How human beings relate to the environment examples
There is a wide range of conceptions about the relationship between society and nature and, consequently, about the environmental crisis. This has motivated the creation of different initiatives of action to confront environmental deterioration. Foladori explains their origin and ideology.
Although it is known that it is not a historical document, attributable to the supposed Chief of the Seattle Tribe, but rather a piece derived from a movie script, this inspiring document shows how the interrelationship between human groups can have consequences on the natural environment.
The human-nature-society relationship
We are at a key moment for our planet and society is increasingly aware of this. We recently learned that climate change is consolidating as the main concern of citizens on a global scale. In view of this situation, we must not confuse two different but complementary disciplines, both of which are key to facing the environmental challenges we face today. Their names are similar and are sometimes used interchangeably: ecology and environmentalism. In the same way that we are very familiar with politics but very little with political science, we know or have heard many ecologists but very few ecologists. Let’s see what is what, how they are alike and how they differ in order to get our global concern for the health of the planet on track.
Ecology also aims to answer complex questions that in an ecological context could help to conserve endangered species – what are their main threats: habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing… – and to halt the exorbitant loss of global biodiversity, since it allows us to identify those key species of a particular ecosystem on which many others depend. Ecology also allows us to provide solutions to questions related to land management, such as: what characteristics correspond to forests with a greater capacity to adapt to forest fires or climate change?
Relationship between human beings and their natural environment
The first thing we notice when we enter the jungles and forests is the green color of the plants, and if we keep a little silence we can also hear the sounds of birds and insects. This perspective allows us to realize that living beings do not live in isolation, that is, they are part of a “whole” or ecosystem.
Living beings are born, grow, reproduce and die, however, their interactions with other species determine whether one of their life stages is fulfilled or regulated. In this sense, ecological interactions can be classified into positive (mutualisms) and negative (antagonisms). Positive interactions are those in which two individuals of different species mutually benefit each other, while in negative interactions an individual obtains benefits by affecting or killing another individual of another species.
Positive interactions include pollination and seed dispersal. For example, bees that collect nectar to feed their colonies also transport pollen between the flowers they visit (pollination), which favors plant reproduction. Birds and mammals also often feed on fruits, and the seeds ingested are subsequently deposited (seed dispersal) through their excreta at sites far from the mother plant, which promotes plant colonization.