Nature is an integral part of our lives. But even while we appreciate the blessings she bestows on us, we forget that we are plundering her treasures and thereby denying our children the pleasure of enjoying nature in all her abundance and variety in the future. The beauty of nature has been extolled in the works of poets and artists. When Wordsworth describes the daffodils dancing in the breeze or when our eyes alight on a painting by William Turner, our hearts are filled with an indescribable emotion.
If a mere representation can move us so much, imagine the power of the real thing. If you have seen Massachusetts during fall season when the leaves turn yellow, ochre, and red, you can never forget it in your lifetime.
Nature has myriad facets. It keeps changing from season to season, from minute to minute. If the sea was a bright blue in the morning, by noon it has become an emerald green hue. The colors of the sky keep changing throughout the day, from pale pink at dawn to a dazzling blue at mid morning and a bright orange by sunset and purple by twilight. Nature reflects our moods. When the sun shines, we feel happy and hopeful.
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When the skies cloud over and the rain falls in torrents, we feel pensive. A balmy moonlit night can awaken the lover in us. Such is the transformative power of nature’s beauty. In the movie, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’, the cannibalistic psychiatrist Hannibal Lector who is in a maximum security prison tells Clarice Starling, the FBI officer, that he wants to be transferred to a facility where he can have a room with a window that looks out on the sky.
Even evil surrenders before the beauty of nature. It has been observed that patients in hospital recover faster if they are in a room with windows that offer a pleasant view. Beyond providing pure pleasure, nature’s beauty can therefore offer therapy for sick minds and bodies. So it is all the more essential that we do our best to preserve it for future generations.
Every time we cut down a tree, every time an oil spill despoils the ocean, let us remember that we are destroying the most precious inheritance we can leave behind for our children.
The words nature and natural are used for all the things that are normally not made by humans. Things like weather, organisms, landforms, celestial bodies and much more are part of nature. Scientists study the way the parts of nature work. Things that have been made by people are said to be man-made or called artifacts.
There are natural sciences that study different parts of nature, for example the science of ecology is about plants and animals as a whole, while biology studies every type of living thing.
From one point of view, humans are a prime example of nature, and are the most widely studied natural inhabitants of the planet earth. Humans interact with each other in their natural environment on a constant basis. Every part of nature – everything from the air to the dirt on the ground – is interdependent. Medicine studies humans in health and sickness.
From another point of view, humans and nature can be said to be in conflict. Nature is often seen by humans as natural resources. People cut down trees, mine ores, and grow crops. Fires, cars, and factories make a lot of smoke and harm many places. People who like to leave nature unharmed and those who feel they need to use more of nature often fight about what they should do. In the modern world, with many more people and many big cities, these problems are becoming more serious.
Nature, in the broadest sense, means the physical world as a whole. This is the meaning that physics, the study of nature (etymologically), takes.
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A useful definition of natural is
- "Happening or operating in accordance with the ordinary course of nature". Oxford Shorter English Dictionary says the word in this sense is first found in 1477.
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Media related to Nature at Wikimedia Commons