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Man - The Greatest Enemy of Nature

Man is the greatest enemy of nature. Or is he?

First, let me define the term ‘nature’. It is the physical world including plants, animals, the landscape and natural phenomena. It is the background against which human life is set. It is the force that dwells in every gurgling stream that passes by, every booming thunder that crash into our ears.

For the primitive man, nature was mysterious and something akin to religion. He considered it as a manifestation of the power of god. Religion discouraged any deep exploration of nature, because it was God’s territory, not man’s. With the renaissance, it all changed. Thought became free and science shook itself free of religion. And from then onwards, man began to look at nature as something to be understood and later on as something to be controlled and conquered and as is happening right now, manipulated for his material, short sighted gains. Science has forgotten that it does not have an existence apart from nature. It has created Frankenstein monsters that threaten to annihilate the beautiful and bounteous nature around us.

Yes, man’s attitude to nature is not that of kinship now, it is that of manipulation. And because of this attitude he does things that are detrimental to nature.

Take the case of land. The natural fertile land that used to give us food in abundance is no longer as fertile or healthy due to the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides. The quality of the soil is degraded because of this. Another activity of man that is harmful is logging. Due to population explosion more space for shelter and for furniture is needed. As a result, parts of forest are being cleared and the wood cut down for making fine furniture. If enormous amount of trees are cut down, it affects the natural process of the intake of carbon dioxide and the giving out of oxygen by trees. It also gives rise to soil erosion. With the clearing of the forest, the natural habitats of animals are also destroyed.

Next, let us look at water. Oil spills from big tankers cause the creatures that live in water to die. Communities and municipalities pass untreated of partially treated sewage into our sources of water. Water returned to the river can cause thermal pollution and large amounts of fishes and marine life to die. Pesticides or fertilizers used in farms will also be passed into the river, which threaten our life and marine life.

What about the air? Thoughtless and short-sighted industrial activities have ensured that the air that surrounds us is impure. Pure, clean refreshing air is a thing of the past now, so much so that in some countries, oxygen parlours have been begun, to give the people a chance to breathe in pure, clean oxygen. Population explosion means that more carbon dioxide is released into the air. When the population of a country grows, there will be more demands for vehicles and luxury. As these vehicles either use electricity or burn natural fuels, poisonous gases will form and it is extremely dangerous. Scientists have proved that the ozone layer will get thinner and thinner as time passed by and the holes in it will be bigger. And someday, the sun’s ultra rays will be too blistering and eventually the plants, animals and human beings will all die.

Animals are also part of nature that has been given to us. Are we treating them kindly? For food and entertainment, man uses animals as he pleases, no thought whatsoever given to their continued existence or welfare. Some animals and plants are grouped in the endangered species list because we human beings destroy their habitat and food resources.

Man’s activities prove that he is indeed the greatest enemy of nature.

But does it need to be so?

Nature and man are two mighty forces that, if together, can achieve great heights. These two forces should work hand in hand. If we can all co-operate with each other to refurbish and adorn the world, then we can have a beautiful world. For we have all the power, might and choices to keep the world a better place.

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