What is nature

Nature captures the essence of Earth’s evolution, from the earliest times of Earth’s evolution to its present state. Going back as far as 45 billion years ago, it has seen the rise of various life forms, realizing ecological changes through seismic eras. From the explosive birth of stars to the intricate dance of atoms, nature weaves a picture of complexity. For thousands of years, it has assimilated structures, fostering life even as it faces great challenges. Its cyclonic movements, from the change of seasons to seasonal growth, reveal its unique sustainability and coordination. The beauty of nature, from great mountains to delicate flowers, is a source of wonder and ideal, reminding us of our connection with all living beings. Yet, in the face of human impact, its delicacy becomes apparent, urging the passing of responsibility for conservation and preservation to generations to come.

The term “naturalism” has long been a point of controversy and ambiguity, as reflected in historical encyclopedias such as Diderot and d’Alembert’s 1751 work, which expressed caution toward its vague definition. Buffon attempted this topic but quickly abandoned it, and in its place composed a modest list of various lectures by d’Alembert and de Jocourt. Even in modern specialized encyclopedias such as the Oxford Dictionary of Science (2005) and the Dictionary of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy (2008), treatment of “naturalism” is cautious and scant. The Scientific Dictionary of Ecology and Environmental Sciences gives only three lines, while the Dictionary of Ecological Thought (2015) relies on fragmented articles, refusing to address directly with “naturalism”.

“Naturalism” escapes directly defined or systematic study in philosophical discussion and educational curricula. It is omitted from major philosophical textbooks and has never been a staple of French examinations or competitions. André Lalande’s influential work, Vocabulary Technical and Philosophical Philosophy, recommends abandoning “naturalism” because of its inherent vagueness. This extends to scientific discussion, where many researchers choose more precise and measurable terms such as “bioenvironment,” “biodiversity,” and “ecosystems,” reflecting the need for clarity and specificity in scientific investigation.

“Naturalness” remains a complex and vague concept, often diffused or fully incorporated into philosophical and scientific contexts. Its historical treatment in encyclopedias and its avoidance of rationalization in modern discussions reflect the challenge of defining and confronting this important aspect of this original and yet unknown existence.

The word “nature” has remained in history as an obscure, unusual term in European languages, which largely eluded rigorous academic investigation. This was primarily invoked in phrases such as “human nature”, promoted in the 18th century primarily by thinkers such as David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. However, there remained a lack of conceptual principles around a comprehensive concept of nature. Nevertheless, the modern environmental crisis has brought the director of nature back to light, entering into debate in various fields. Its ubiquitous presence suggests that it actually has contextual meaning and is not easily subject to change. In an era where nature is considered to be in a state of crisis, with calls for its conservation and immediate action, this concept gains clarity and importance in detailing its implications. This article attempts to explain the complexities of nature and its various impacts, and present its contemporary significance and its commands on society.

The word “nature” comes from the Latin word “nascor”, meaning “to be born,” indicating a fundamental character or fundamental being. Informing the process of production, it carries out a material conversation in the depths of existence. In ancient times, “nature” was used to translate Greek philosophical concepts. “Phusis” was a multifaceted concept in Greek philosophy. “Phusis” included various meanings, such as the generation of growth, the primary element of growth, the initial principle of motion, and the fundamental substance of all things, extending not only from physical objects to activities that stimulate life and inanimate substances. Aristotle’s attempts to classify these meanings highlight the complexity and richness of the term, offering a deeper understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of the universe.

However, the Greco-Roman study of “nature” was not limited to a collection of objects, but rather delved into the activities going on behind the material world. It went beyond mere biological and environmental considerations, addressing the fundamental forces that govern existence. Thus, “nature” functions as a special interplay between matter and motion, providing insight into the elements of the universe in philosophy. Its significance is exemplified in its mysterious origins and multifaceted interpretations, which transcend time and cultural boundaries to contemplate the fundamentality of existence.

The Christianization of Europe profoundly changed the concept of “nature.” In the Christian worldview, all dynamics arise from God alone. Whereas in Greek belief the gods were considered subordinate to nature, in Abrahamic monotheism, God transcends nature, creating and inspiring the world. Reality is seen as a passive creation, orchestrated by the divine, and humanity forms part of this creation yet is called upon to transcend it. This is a system unique to the Abrahamic religions, which does not view humanity’s condition as entirely part of nature but as a unique environment for it – the Kingdom of God. The Christian view rejects the concept of “nature naturans”, which equates the creative principle with God and his creation. Instead, the focus is on asceticism and the transcendence of the transcendent energies of earthly things, as earthly existence is considered subordinate in comparison to the pursuit of the spiritual God. As a result, the word “nature” declines in medieval usage, returning primarily to its acoustic roots. This change marks a departure from the understanding of the Greek universe, where gods were considered full of natural instincts, emotions, and needs. On the contrary, Christianity recognizes a divine order as supreme where the ultimate purpose of humanity lies beyond the limits of nature. Thus, the Christianization of Europe defined the concept of “natura”, the call of humanity to ascend to the divine, leaving the earthly realm in search of the Kingdom of God.

In the Renaissance, natural trends recurred on the European intellectual stage, fueled by the rediscovery of ancient texts. However, there has been no significant theoretical discussion of its meaning. Nature was often seen as the whole of creation, including humans, as a collection or set of geomorphic forces governing the world (called “natural laws”) or even as an abstract means of reality. Sometimes it was represented as “Nature”, symbolizing the earthly manifestation of the divine will, sometimes in a mere and condescending manner, equivalent to the concept of “Mother Nature”. Plato, who stood high in perfectionism, did not appear to reflect well on the unfairness of nature. This indifference, placing Plato in a prominent position in defining philosophical concepts in the Classical era, may contribute to the neglect of the concept of nature in the European school tradition, which continues to this day.

The word “nature” is a linguistic trope, which reflects the green association we have. As well as its prevalence in the French vocabulary, it is also historically associated with the rich, such as the Romantic movement and the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. “Nature” has served as a versatile tool to challenge established prescriptions and support change. However, an attempt to pin down its universality reveals a myriad of ambiguities in the definition, with 20 contradictory interpretations discovered in various dictionaries.

These diverse meanings can be organized into four main bases. First, “nature” encompasses the totality of material reality, delineating the realm untouched by human will and intention, against the unfamiliar realm of the constructed constructs of culture. Secondly, it extends to the cosmic expanse, including concrete tendencies and vague forces, as opposed to metaphysical or metaphysical. Third, “nature” encompasses the dynamics of life and change, as opposed to notions of state and soundness, and serves as the driving force behind existence. Ultimately, it indicates the inherent properties and qualities of objects, which may be living or nonliving, as a prevention against change or alteration.

However, the multiplicity of these definitions leads to normative contradictions and complexities, which shape different perspectives on nature conservation. Some discourses include humanity within nature, advocating consistent spontaneous organization, while others emphasize human individuality and separateness. The challenge of confronting these contradictory notions lies in adjudication,

Driven by the complexity of nature, various conservation principles are created, which do not replace each other, but evolve over time as new problems arise. Environmental protection is a confluence consisting of various flows that show complex interactions. Over time, diverse initiatives have converged to shape a shared response to protect the delicate balance of nature. From biodiversity conservation to climate action, each stream seeks to make conservation plans more compatible with the natural world. On this dynamic platform, conservation strategies must be adapted, to intuitively address the compelling balance of nature. By embracing this diversity, we are moving towards a more sustainable and sustainable cooperation with the natural world.

1. Protecting nature as a set of resources

Gifford Pinchot appeared as a key figure in the Second Renewal, defending the preservation of non-expert research, especially in the United States. Historically, societies focused on protecting intangible resources such as wood, game, and other useful vegetation, and tribes considered “nature” too broad and abstract for direct intervention. This policy has been documented since the Mediterranean period, when resident communities began protecting resources out of concern for their sensitivity. Over time, specialized agencies such as the French Department of Water and Forestry, established in 1291 by Philippe Le Bel and modernized by Colbert in 1669, continued to perform resource management tasks. In the United States, Gifford Pinchot, who drew his training from the École of Nancy, played a major role. Standing up to the ambitious logging of land production interests, Pinchot supported resource conservation, ultimately culminating in the establishment of the Pinchot National Forest, located in Washington, US. His legacy continues to serve as an inspiration for environmental stewardship, exemplifying the preservation of nature’s wealth for future generations.

2. Protecting nature as a living environment

The perpetuation of human societies brought to the fore concerns regarding locality and security. These concerns arose from the advent of migration of a variety of organisms, extending from animals to plants and bacteria. To manage this situation, organizing an early organized residential environment became essential. Societies often domesticated certain animals to manage unwanted species, such as dogs, cats, and various other species, and made extensive use of extermination. This change was the result of human-adapted changes to the land, reflected in morphological changes such as canals, steps, and leveling, as well as the introduction of agricultural vegetation with the introduction of fruit and ornamental trees, plants, and shrubs. .

This domesticated environment soon emerged as the standard for any nature to have a regular and protected space—viewed as a dystopia compared to the sensitivity to danger and risk afforded by wild nature. This social-ecology stands in contrast to alternative conceptions of natural life as a means to an environment suitable for human activities. Latin pastoralists referred to this ideal as ‘locus amoenus’—similar to a natural garden. This notion is echoed throughout history in practices such as gardening, landscape gardening, and urban planning, particularly in the 19th century with the establishment of urban parks such as Hyde Park (1820), the Beau de Boulogne (1852), and Central Park (1869).

This controlled and managed environment is a reflection of the sublime state of an idealized vision shaped by the needs and desires of man. It reflects a landscape where natural formations serve as a backdrop for human endeavors, rather than existing independently without human influence. In this perspective, this idealized nature reflects societal aspirations and preferences for an environment conducive to human habitation and activity.

Environmentalism, as a concept, encompasses the effort to preserve the aesthetic and beneficial aspects of the natural environment, often focusing primarily on protecting human interests. Environmentalism focuses on the situation in which it is sensitive to society and the individual. It differs from traditional ecocriticism in its human-centred orientation. Over history, the process of environmentalism has corresponded with the development of human civilization, which has progressed from protecting against threats to wild natural formations to reducing the negative impacts of human activities on the environment.

The origin of environmental protection measures can be traced back to ancient times, where drains and latrines were established in the early stages to protect human beings from natural hazards. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, more widespread measures came into effect. Notable examples include the Imperial Decree of 15 October 1810 in France targeting establishments that emit foul odors, and the formation of the Commons Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society in 1815 in England. The main purpose of these early environmental regulation measures was to reduce human suffering and to protect a particular “natural” imagination – harnessed for human nourishment and comfort. Despite the fact that the core of such interventions may be to ensure human welfare and recognize the need for education and conservation of a compatible existence with the environment. The historical perspective of environmentalism is the result of humanity’s relationship to nature, attempting to conserve and use its resources for human benefit, as well as the need for management and conservation to ensure long-term sustainability and well-being. Has been considered.

3. Protecting nature as a set of monuments and landscapes

The 18th century marked a significant shift in Western perceptions of nature. As the map of the hemisphere was completed, the land suddenly appeared smaller, more limited. At the same time, the explorer showed the extent of various species, some of which appeared to be facing extinction. This experience shattered the notion that the remaining populations of those species would last forever. The relationship with nature changed drastically, from seeing it as a mysterious mother of infinite abundance to seeing it as the fragile battlefield of human history.

In the 19th century, inspired by the Industrial Revolution, the concept of “conservation of nature” began to emerge in the Western consciousness. The movement was inspired primarily by artists, intellectuals, and writers such as Charles Boucaire in France and John Muir in the United States. Nature conservation was primarily about preserving them in their pristine state, turning them into places under various administrative definitions as national parks, natural monuments, or classified sites.

In this period, the focus of conservation began to revolve around preserving particularly attractive scenery and special biological or physical features. Examples range from the iconic geysers of Yellowstone National Park to colonial hunting reservations and the Fontainebleau Forest. Which was conserved in the year 1861 due to the efforts of naturalist painters who highlighted its special old trees. In this context, nature became not only a living environment, but was also protected as a rare aesthetic and intellectual resource.

A recognition emerged that these protected areas should be protected from the encroachments of civilization, coinciding with the earliest definitions of conservation. In America, the wilderness was relevant as an imperfect image of a traditional paradise, hijacked by the corruption of man, precisely because it was God who created it. This sentiment entangled with nationalist currents, making conservation of natural heritage felt strongly as a profound expression. Towards the end of the 19th century, the conservation movement included the protection of emblematic species. This combined earlier efforts to preserve landscapes, by focusing on protecting key species from extinction. Overall, the 19th century brought about a profound reconsideration of humanity’s relationship, from exploitation to conservation, driven by a new recognition of its fallibility and value.

4. Protecting nature as a set of ecosystems

Ecological theory emerged in 1935, transforming the seriality of nature from a static object to a dynamic system worthy of scientific study and conservation. Prior to this evolution, the conservationist tradition had focused on an environmental approach, that is, to protect biological properties that were not likely to be substantially altered. However, before the introduction of ecological theory, the mutual and mutual need of organisms within living systems, inspired by Darwin’s fossil knowledge, laid the foundation for a learned understanding of nature.

Aldo Leopold, a prominent American forester, played a key role in this change, with his famous work “A Sand County Almanac” (1949), which is regarded as the Bible of American ecology. Although Leopold predates the formalization of the term “ecosystem”, his statement of the active conservation of “biological communities”, reflecting the inherent interconnectedness of organisms and their supporting systems, marks the time. Leopold’s statements were not merely for aesthetic or touristic purposes, but they also passionately defended the intrinsic biological and ecological importance of undeveloped forest conservation.

This turn towards a new approach to landscape management marked a departure from traditional conservation approaches. Rather than focusing solely on preserving natural or picturesque landscapes, conservation efforts prioritized scientific criteria such as biodiversity, specialization, and ecological functionality. This ushered in an era of “simple natural” conservation, in which conservation of ecosystems was guided by ecological self-interest and contribution to broader environmental health.

Important in this new perspective was the recognition of abstract biological functions and material holdings, including water, carbon, nitrogen, and energy cycles. These biological processes were not only vital to the functioning of ecosystems, but also held deep significance for human societies. The concept of “ecological services”, popularized by the Millennium Ecological Assessment report commissioned by the United Nations in 2000, attests to the important role of natural influences in sustaining human well-being. Nature was seen not as a passive background to human activity, but as a dynamic platform for interaction among biological communities, of which humanity is only one. Drawing on this natural understanding, conservation efforts moved beyond the conservation of individual species or landscapes to include the conservation of entire ecosystems and the services they provide. This shift marks a deeper evolution in environmental empowerment, which recognizes that humanity is a powerful force that has an active multifaceted part in shaping ecosystems and on which their sustainability depends. Recognizing the interconnectedness of all life forms and the importance of ecological processes, the conservation era embraced by Aldo Leopold and others opened the way to a more holistic and progressive approach to the protection of the natural world.

5. Protecting nature as a set of conditions favourable to life as we know it

At the end of the 20th century and into the 21st century, the new paradigm of nature conservation has undergone major changes. It is no longer just about protecting individual areas or landscapes; Rather, the focus has expanded to encompass entire ecosystems and global events. This change reflects an understanding that nature and human society are deeply interconnected, and the well-being of one is inseparably linked to that of the other. Mount Toby Farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts, United States, serves as a symbol of this changing approach to nature conservation. By collaborating with government agencies such as the USDA and NRCS, the farm shows a commitment to preserving the environment. This model, which is exceptional in the Americas, coincides with a broader trend toward environmental inclusion of the way human activities have dominated the landscape.

The term “anthropocene” summarizes this new era, where human influence has become the determinant of planetary processes. In light of this fact, conservation efforts need to expand beyond traditional natural practices to encompass socio-ecological systems inhabited by diverse members of different communities. This recognition makes it clear that conservation of biodiversity is not a mere luxury, but a fundamental necessity for the continuity of life as we know it.

A key element of this transformational transformation is held to be an “ecology of reconciliation”, which seeks to transform anthropogenic spaces into conservation sites for biodiversity. This approach uses various techniques and practices to promote cooperation between human activities and natural processes. It evaluates how to restructure agriculture as a system that nurtures biodiversity while maintaining soil health and human well-being, as opposed to a common model based on relatively chemical inputs.

Moreover, this change in conservation philosophy is not just about technical and administrative challenges; This reflects a profound philosophical and epistemological change. Nature is no longer considered separate from humanity but is deeply connected with human society. The blurring of boundaries between the natural and human worlds changes here, encouraging a reification of subject divisions, denying the depth of value between the sciences and the humanities.

In academia, this landscape change has led to the rise of the environmental humanities – a field that encompasses diverse disciplines, from anthropology and sociology to philosophy and ecology. J in America Scholars such as Bayard Callicott and Philippe Descola, Bruno Latour, and Catherine Larreur in France have contributed to this interdisciplinary dialogue, challenging traditional assumptions about the relationship between humans and the environment. The new challenge of nature conservation in the 21st century transcends national traditions; It takes a holistic approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of human societies and the natural world. Mount Toby Farm shows how agriculture and conservation can co-exist to promote biodiversity and sustainability in this evolving parabolic landscape.

The concept of naturalness is polysemous in nature, with different definitions co-existing, often in conflict with each other. These differing discourses highlight the complexity of the value of naturalness and make it inherently difficult to define. Broadly speaking, naturalness is viewed as:

1. The totality of non-human-controlled material reality, as opposed to human-made constructs such as imagination and culture.
2. The space that accommodates all material phenomena, with the physical presence of man, as opposed to unnatural or abstract states.
3. The dynamic force of life and change, which is the opposite of passivity and stability.
4. The inherent nature and specific physical properties of things, living or nonliving, that are opposed to impermanence or change.
It is worth noting that the notion of “conservation of nature” varies greatly across different cultural and philosophical frameworks, giving rise to a variety of nature conservation traditions with different objectives and approaches. This diversity makes it difficult to try to lump specific topics into one particular topic, which conflicts with the diversity in notions of naturalness along the social and cultural dimensions.

Just as this complexity challenges technocratic efforts, it also preserves diverse viewpoints, thereby increasing opportunities for democratic dialogue and majority decision making. Although this discussion has focused primarily on Western conceptions of nature, studies examining its equivalents, or lack thereof, in other languages actually observe the universality of the ambiguity of the discussion around the definition of nature. This is the reason why the conflict between the idea of nature and the heritage of immediacy and context remains an important object of study and social dialogue on various subjects.

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