Human beings live in the realm of nature. They are constantly surrounded by it and interact with it. Man is constantly aware of the influence of nature in the form of the air he breathes, the water he drinks, and the food he eats. We are connected with nature by “blood” ties and we cannot live outside nature.
Man is not only a dweller in nature, he also transforms it. Humanity converts nature’s wealth into the means of the cultural, historical life of society. Man has subdued and disciplined electricity and compelled it to serve the interests of society. Not only has man transferred various species of plants and animals to different climatic conditions, he has also changed the shape and climate of his environment and transformed plants and animals.
As society develops, man tends to become less dependent on nature directly, while indirectly his dependence grows. Our distant ancestors lived in fear of nature’s destructive forces. Very often they were unable to obtain the merest daily necessities. However, despite their imperfect tools, they worked together stubbornly, collectively, and were able to attain results. Nature was also changed through interaction with man. Forests were destroyed and the area of farmland increased. Nature with its elemental forces was regarded as something hostile to man. The forest, for example, was something wild and frightening and people tried to force it to retreat. This was all done in the name of civilization, which meant the places where man had made his home, where the earth was cultivated, where the forest had been cut down.
But as time goes on mankind becomes increasingly concerned with the question of where and how to obtain irreplaceable natural resources for the needs of production. Science and man’s practical transforming activities have made humanity aware of the enormous geological role played by the industrial transformation of the earth.
At present the previous dynamic balance between man and nature and between nature and society as a whole, has shown ominous signs of breaking down. The problem of the so-called replaceable resources of the biosphere has become particularly acute. It is getting more and more difficult of satisfy the needs of human beings and society even for such a substance, for example, as fresh water. The problem of eliminating industrial waste is also becoming increasingly complex.
Modern technology is distinguished by an ever increasing abundance of produced and used synthetic goods. Hundreds of thousands of synthetic materials are being made. People increasingly cover their bodies from head to foot in nylon and other synthetic, glittering fabrics that are obviously not good for them. Young people may hardly feel this, and they pay more attention to appearance than to health. But they become more aware of this harmful influence as they grow older.
As time goes on the synthetic output of production turns into waste, and then substances that in their original form were not very toxic are transformed in the cycle of natural processes into aggressive agents. Today both natural scientists and philosophers are asking themselves the question: Is man’s destruction of the biosphere inevitable?
The man-nature relation—the crisis of the ecological situation-- is a global problem. Its solution lies in rational and wise organization of both production itself and care for Mother Nature, not just by individuals, enterprises of countries, but by all humanity. One of the ways to deal with the crisis situation in the “man-nature” system is to use such resources as solar energy, the power of winds, the riches of the seas and oceans and other, as yet unknown natural forces of the universe.
But to return to our theme, the bitter truth is that those human actions which violate the laws of nature, the harmony ot the biosphere, threaten to bring disaster and this disaster may turn out to be universal. How apt then are the words of ancient oriental wisdom: live closer to nature, my friends, and its eternal laws will protect you!