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Where is nature?

Have ever stopped to think about the different ways people view nature? In today’s modern society, we tend to think of nature as something outside of cities and maybe far away, such as the tropical rainforests of Africa, the coral reefs of Madagascar, or the Himalayan Mountains. More importantly, we often view nature as something that does not include humans, meaning no houses, streets, etc. Why? Why does nature only exist in designated areas? But then again, this may depend on who you are talking to. 

Someone living in a metropolitan area like New York City may think of nature as the beautiful Adirondack mountains, while others may think of Central Park nature. Someone living in a more suburban area might think their backyard is nature, while at the same time others may think it is Yellowstone National Park. A tribal man living in Papua New Guinea may say that nature is all around, including people. While there are definite differences in the ways various cultures and classes of people view nature, there is also a vast difference in how we think about nature at different ages. As children, it is easier for us to see and appreciate nature all around us because we are curious about how the world works. We notice the fly on the wall, the spider’s web in the corner, the robin sitting in the tree, and we take the time to look at them. At this age, one animal or plant can be nature. As adults, we should try to re-establish this connection to every piece of nature and help to encourage it in children. It wouldn’t hurt to “stop and smell the roses” even if they are in a park in the middle of a city. The point is that nature is all around us. 

It is interesting to think about how our ideas of nature are formed and where they come from. Why do we tend to think that nature cannot include people? How does this shape our view of conservation? How does this affect the way we treat nature? This is an important question because in order for us to really improve the environment, we need to become more closely connected with nature and improve the conditions we are currently living in. This starts in our own backyard. It is time for us to change our perspective and include ourselves in our vision of nature.

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