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Nature and human nature
Eden Wang, Ph.D & Lili Feng, Ph.D
Humans benefit from wild nature. However, nature has been greatly wounded as a consequence of human beings’ pursuit of quick gain in hard cash. Researchers estimate that humanity loses about $250 billion through the destruction of natural habitats in a single year. The long term cash return from conserving wild places is far higher than the gains made from developing them, and scientists put the benefit over cost ratio at more than 100 to 1 in favor of conservation (1, 2).
The new analyses reveal the value of the goods and services that nature provides, just like businesses provide goods and services to their consumers. Take for example, the ability of a forest to regulate climate by absorbing greenhouse gases, filtering water, and trapping nutrients are natural services.
However, nature as a symbol for the physical world is not the only factor that determines the living state of human beings. The other factor, which appears to be beyond nature, but is in fact totally interwoven with nature, has been completely overlooked – that is human nature.
Destruction of nature will bring about natural catastrophes. So what will happen if human nature is betrayed or insulted? As individuals, we may keep a seemly stable job and a peaceful relationship by constant self-protection through building personal distance. As corporations, we may gain quick profits by keeping our mouths shut and eyes closed to the actions devoid of human nature and focus on the profit of businesses. As political leaders, we may gain temporary political powers by sustaining political relationships with leaders who abuse human rights. As scientists, we may save our current reputation of greatness by covering or avoiding the truth. Through the separation in space, time, mind, and heart, we are maintaining a seemingly intact world. However, what could be left when we must call out “United we stand!”?
Both nature and human nature are the most precious resources of our human world. Human beings, as an integral part of nature herself, reflect all essential qualities of nature. When human nature is violated, nature is violated. Disaster is bound to follow. However, the intimate inter-connectedness of nature and human nature is blurred by our inability to connect space, time, mind, and heart. We only see a spot, not a line, not a plane, not a three dimensional image.
Do we know what is the fundamental characteristic of Human Nature?
Isn’t Truth the only vehicle for good relationships, compassion the vitamins for human society, and forbearance the force that physically and psychologically enlarges the living space of our crowded world?
The value of nature’s habitats may be measurable and cashable, but there are no market values for human nature. When nature is abused, human beings will be penalized with natural disasters. However, the consequences resulting from betrayal of human nature could be easily overlooked and viewed only as incidental natural catastrophes.
Recently, there are lots of interesting and puzzling phenomena of the weather patterns around the world. Is it possible that physical world weather mirrors the inner world of the human affairs governed by human nature?
People are hearing a message that human values are being greatly eroded in China. The world's human values have been massively insulted since the Chinese President Jiang Zemin started to crackdown on those people who choose to assimilate their nature with the principals of Truth-Compassion-Forbearance. In correspondence, currently, almost one third of this vast country's land mass is desert or is in the process of becoming one, according to official statistics. In Beijing, the dust storms have been the worst for a decade and more than 50,000 tones dumped itself on the city in March and April this year. Again this year, a half of China has been flooded and the other half plagued with locusts. How long can this titanic nation keep afloat if human nature continues to be insulted and totally violated?
Is it possible that all these are connected?
Yes, we need to conserve nature. However, we need to conserve human nature even more. Enron and other companies have been eliminated through bad accounting. Many people have been doing exactly the same things on the scale of human nature, counting the destruction of the best of human nature as revenue.
The value of natural habitats may be used temporally for profit; however, human nature is priceless. We may cash everything, but human nature, guarded from above, should never be cashed.
1.Pimm, S.L., M. Ayres, A. Balmford, G. Branch, K. Brandon, T. Brooks, R. Bustamante, R. Costanza, R. Cowling, L.M. Curran, A. Dobson, S. Farber, G.A.B. da Fonseca, C. Gascon, R. Kitching, J. McNeely, T. Lovejoy, R.A. Mittermeier, N. Myers, J.A. Patz, B. Raffle, D. Rapport, P. Raven, C. Roberts, J.P. Rodriguez, A.B. Rylands, C. Tucker, C. Safina, C. Samper, M.L.J. Stiassny, J. Supriatna, D.H. Wall, and D. Wilcove. 2001. ENVIRONMENT: Can We Defy Nature's End? Science 293, no. 5538:2207.
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