People Need Nature. Nature Does Not Need People. Discuss.

“People Need Nature. Nature Does Not Need People.” What has this to do with cats? Everything, actually. It is a phrase that is becoming more and more relevant as international nature conservation becomes ever more pressing.

The idea behind the statement in the title is that we rely on the planet to survive but the planet would survive far more easily without us. The phrase was used by Harrison Ford, the actor, this morning, on BBC Four Radio.

Humankind abusing nature

Humankind abusing nature. Photo by BoyGoku

Humankind sees itself as above nature. We believe we can improve nature. This leads us to use and abuse nature, which in turn, leads to jeopardizing our survival.

If our actions jeopardize our survival, we cannot consider ourselves to be superior to nature. We need to take stock, reconnect with nature, become part of it and then we will be able to integrate with nature. We’ll become part of what the planet is. That is the way it must be.

At the moment we believe that we are the most intelligent animal on the planet but we are clearly not intelligent enough to manage that intelligence to good effect or in a sensible way or recognise the intelligence of our fellow creatures.

How does this relate to cats? It relates to cats in every way possible. The wild cats are part of nature. They live in habitats created by nature. We are destroying these places for commercial gain. Domestic cats are 99% wild cats. They need nature to feel normal and they need us.

Commerce and economic growth is not the panacea for all our ills. It can take us so far. At present it does not work. It feeds our greed and ultimately greed destroys nature. It doesn’t even work if you take nature out of the equation.

We must learn to respect nature and the cats, wild and domestic. We need to think differently to the politician’s mantra that we need economic growth. This is shortsighted and myopic. It is built on competition, which should be converted to harmonious, world wealth creation; working together rather than against each other.

We need a completely different way of living. It will happen. The change will be painful. Our cats will feel the pain with us because their world is our world.

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People Need Nature. Nature Does Not Need People. Discuss. — 18 Comments

  1. I agree. We need a different way of living. But it won’t happen. I see this world getting worse, not better, over time. As a kid I remember thinking that how I lived was very artificial compared to how Laura Ingalls Wilder lived when she was a little girl. In high school I read things people wrote in the 1800’s questioning advances such as the telegraph and the railroad. “Are we driving the railroad or is the railroad driving us?” asked one writer (I can’t remember who, and I’m sure I’m paraphrasing.) Another asked what good the telegraph is because what does it matter that people on the opposite ends of the country can communicate with each other– what would they have to say? Today we don’t question our “need” for rapid transportation and instant communication. But we’re missing what Laura Ingalls and her family had– a closeness to nature and to each other that is just not seen very often in our time. I interviewed a WWII veteran to write a song about his experiences, and he talked about how much closer families were back then, how much more people relied on each other and valued each other. Today we just turn on the tv and don’t even talk to each other. Living with a cat is a good way to return to nature. Loving and caring for an animal can help us become better stewards of the earth. It’s not perfect. Nothing involving human beings ever will be, but I think closeness with animals helps us to be somewhat better than we would be without those relationships. Couple that with actually getting outside once in awhile, away from concrete and buildings, and we will feel a lot better.

    • I see this world getting worse, not better, over time.

      Totally agree with you. Sometimes I wonder if it is just me being a bit grumpy. But I don’t think it is.

      At the moment the world is going badly wrong. It looks bad. Sometimes I lie in bed before falling asleep and think, “I hate the world”. This is not good for me. But so much seems wrong and crazy to me. All the basics seem wrong.

  2. People on farms and ranches used to teach their children a valuable lesson about how to be good stewards of the land. They knew the importance of all wildlife and nature; and how their actions, choices, and values could destroy the very habitats upon which their own lives depended. They lived (and live) in balance with nature. They would convey this all-important lesson to all of their children with one simple statement when it came to managing the populations of their “working” barn-cats:

    “If you see a cat more’n 50 yards from any building — shoot it. It’s up to no good.”

    If only you could comprehend the wisdom of this simple comment and lifelong lesson.

    • 1. They would convey this all-important lesson to all of their children with one simple statement when it came to managing the populations of their “working” barn-cats:

      2. “If you see a cat more’n 50 yards from any building — shoot it. It’s up to no good.”

      1 is uncompatible with 2 isn’t it because 2 means all barn cats get shot and if that is the case they can’t be “working” because they’ll be dead.

      I sense you’re from the Woodsman clan of cat haters. Your IP number has been stored for future reference.

      • No kidding. I come from a farming family and that is one of the dumbest comments I ever heard. “Simple-minded statement” describes it better. and it’s not a lesson I ever heard conveyed. Why would someone shoot their farm cats if they are 50 ft from any building? The cats are protecting the food supply of the humans and livestock.

        This guy prolly lives in his mom’s basement in the suburbs and is quaking in fear of her mild-mannered Persian.

        I think it’s Cats 3, Woody 0

        • lol- you are being generous, I felt a minus -1 was in order. I agree with the 3. Perhaps it’s Cats 3 : Woody -1 then 🙂

          Also it’s good to hear from somebody who is the subject of the comment and who knows better. I have never heard of this idea that a cat should be near a building or not at all. It’s absurd and I’m glad being from a farming familly you have in fact never heard it either. It doesn’t make sense anyway.

          Futhermore I thought that in Egypt the cats were protecting the crops, not only the barn, from snakes and rats. So it was part of their job to be 50 yards away. You’d be in big trouble for killing a cat in that time and context.

          I think Woody goes with what sounds kind of real and makes sense but the irony is that it only seems to make any sense to him. I wonder if reality doesn’t make any sense to him which is why he finds the need to ‘re-apply’ it in a different form. He might need a friendly visit to the doctor. It’s actually quite funny to hear him use a word like ‘stewards’.

          • oops, I mean -1, Marc. You were right.

            yeah the crops are in the fields and then stored … often in silos. but some is stored right in stable or barn. which = a building.
            Cats got domesticated because there was mutual benefit.

            Not that I am saying that all farmers / ranchers are totally humane in their treatment of the cats . but this fantasy that it is an old tradition that all farm kids are told to shoot cats for going anywhere near a building, is just silly. We sat on the porch swing playing with the kittens.
            And my family had been farming in the same county since the mid 1800s. so it’s not like some city slickers who just moved there.

    • Haven’t you got anything better to do Woody? The fact that you bother connecting from new IPs everytime means you have to have absolutely nothing else to live for in your apperently horrible life. I’m gonna have to give that another point to the cats and a minus point to you Woody. You lose again. Find something else to do.

      Cats 2 : Woody -1

  3. Those who lived in even closer balance with nature wouldn’t even allow cats on their lands. This is why one species of animal even has the common name of “Barn Owl”. They perfectly took the place of any man-made domesticated cats even better than cats. And they didn’t senseless destroy all valuable wildlife just because it triggered some “if it moves, kill it” instinct like all cats have, even well-fed cats.

    • I think you have missed the point totally. The reason why cats were domesticated in the first place was because they were beneficial to humankind. That basic premise still exists thousands of years later.

  4. Having recently visited North India, once a very forested region of India where Hunter and later wild-life conservationist Jim.Corbett wrote his famous “Man Eaters of Kumaon”, was surprised at the climate change in some hill stations like Shimla.Conversations with a local guide Mr Rajendra.Gautam of the 19th century “Gaiety” theater made me understand how forested regions gradually evolved into city’s through decimation of trees.The winters in Shimla are less longer than a century ago when plays were conducted in the “Gaiety Theater”, a result of De-forestation and global warming. What will Shimla be 100 years from 2013 ? I am quoting Shimla as a reference since this is the oldest modern city of India , once the summer capital of the British Empire and hence records and photographs of that era preserved.The wild cat v/s Macaque monkey encounter that i witnessed indicates that wild-life does exist human surroundings.Hope De-forestation is reversed or controlled and we humans learn to co-exist with nature.

    • Thanks for the information Rudolph. Interesting. I always feel sad when I read about deforestation that goes on relentlessly. When will it stop? Forests are the home to so many species including many wild cat species. Trees are beautiful. It seems that people prefer trees dead and used, rather than alive.

  5. ‘At the moment we believe that we are the most intelligent animal on the planet’
    But we are not, are we!
    This planet and animals existed long before we came along and since then we have systematically destroyed Nature by some of our race thinking that they know better than Mother Nature and interfering with and even killing any and every species of creatures they choose to.
    These people think they have the right to take another living being’s life, but how wrong they are and I hope there is such a thing as Karma. Because then they will have to face up to and pay for, the fact that they are less than the lowest bacteria which act on instinct, not the thought and compassion and reason humans are supposed to have.
    These people ruin the world for those of us who love Nature and ALL the species who live on this planet and who realise we do NOT own it nor have the right to destroy any part of it, neither animals not the environment.
    Yes things MUST change or the human race will wipe itself out and in my opinion that would be the best thing to happen!
    Maybe if our species had a second chance we might get it right next time around, without the selfish and cruel people we have right now.

    • I am currently convinced that humankind will eventually self-destruct and what a blessing it will be for the remainder of nature and this precious planet – this blue, jewel in space with a deep flaw at its heart: humans.

  6. The nature versus culture argument is the last argument – we lost a long time ago. Culture is incredibly stupid. The Japanese think they should be allowed to kill whales because its ‘in their culture’ – if you are asking me culture doesn’t deserve anything when it comes to nature except punishment for being so incredibly stupid. I could go on and on – I wrote my thesis on this question really. The truth of the matter is that everything is a force of nature, including culture, and I think the real question is ‘who is tamed and who is untamed’ and I know culturalists would soon disagree with what I think which is: Culture is an untamed force of nature, simply because it is the one force who would eat its own self, and in fact is eating its own self. If I saw an animal sit down and start munching on it’s own leg then I might think culture has met it’s match in stupidity but unfortunately for culture, the rest of nature is nowhere near as stupid.

    People go to old European cities and stare at big old buildings and think about how fabulous culture was and is but I think that is a load of bull. All those old building were built by poor people who probably died building them to satisfy the ideas of the rich, including the church. We need to get rid of this idea that our culture and our religion is more important than anything because the only reason it is important is because it is killing each and every living think on this planet. Culture, religion, human society – has all become the cancerous and horrible deathly future of this place we can’t even really call home anymore because it is so full of things that suck so badly we have to ignore them to survive.

    Survival of the ignorant? I don’t think so, just a quicker death to us all. I will never have children. Even if I want them I don’t have the right to put another blathering selfish individual on this planet to consume and have more babies. The whole thing is disgusting and Culture SHOULD be a BAD word and yet we all still think its a good word and we all support it. we allow the Japanese to kill 100 whales a year because it’s in their culture – (from international protected waters I might add) – who give a flying f*ck about culture if its killing every last bit of healthy life on this planet. The sooner we realise – as the title suggests – that we need nature and that we are nature (we are not separate from it and in control of it – you cannot say ‘nature versus culture’ – only ‘culture as a part of nature against everything that is any good’.

    I’m sorry to be such an ass about it but I believe every word I say and I spent 2 years studying this ridiculous question of culture being some kind of seperate entity versus nature. It’s simple. We are nature. It therefore goes without saying that we need nature. The people who run everything are retarded for ignoring the fact and we are all going to die. The one good thing that is left is that we will die. Thank goodness for that. Furthermore, it’s incredibly sad for the rest of life on earth that humans, who are the stupid idiots who would metaphorically start eating their own limbs, have to take every other life form down with them. As a whole, our society and culture is disgusting and stupid, in terms of the tamed or untamed or wild forces of nature. What we need is wilderness but we don’t understand the value of it enough to save whats left of it. If life on this planet is going to suffer a long painful and horrid cancerous death then perhaps a meteorite would be the nearest thing to our wonderful culutral term ‘euthanasia’ for us. A sort of happy painless death.

    Again I am sorry – the whole culture / nature thing is right up my alley because I think everything can be described within the greater extents of this terminology – terrible things happen to innocent life because of culture and above all, said culture’s underlying and supporting religion. I can’t believe how many people still give 2 flying f’s about the pope. Surely he is the biggest and most revolting pimp of all of them. But that’s another culture/nature discussion.

    People do need nature – they need to realise they are nature and what nature actually is. – and nature as the word is meant when used in seperation of culture, does not need people. It needs no people actually. Good article. I could go on. 🙂

    • Awesome comment.

      …they need to realise they are nature…

      I feel this is one of humankind’s major problems. We think we are above nature, removed from it and can do as we please with it. We think we can improve it and ignore it. We forget that we are part of nature. I agree that culture is used to protect crappy ideas, habits and behaviors.

      The Chinese eat tigers as part of their culture (it is part or ancient Chines medicine). Anything ancient has to be preserved even if it destroys the bloody planet. Anything ancient should be questioned because we are meant to be developing towards a more civilised race. Look at the way the Koran is used to justify terrorism. Quite insane.

      I think sometimes that humans have evolved too far. It is almost as if humans prove that evolution can only go so far before it fails. We don’t fit in with the rest of the world’s species. We are a dysfunctional part of nature. This will automatically lead to our extermination at our own hands one day and nature will then, after millions of sad years of human occupation, be returned to a balance. That great film, Planet of the Apes will come true.

      A well known author whose name I have forgotten 😉 believes that humankind hates itself to the point where we want to destroy our entire species. He argues we are doing this by destroying that which allows us to survive: the planet. We are currently heading in that direction nicely. I feel sad for the youth of today.

      • Thanks – my sentences get garbled when I’m worked up. You think the same thing. Yes, ‘ancient’ ways and customs are just that, ancient, we should remember them and move on. They say old/indigenous people have a circular concept of time. We modern people have a linear sense of time which is further clouded by short sightedness. We are not able to care for our children’s children and their children. If we did we wouldn’t let them inherit a dying planet. We can’t care past our own lifetimes and what physically effects us. We have lost alot already, big time. This is a fantastic and hugely profound article and discussion. More people need to become at least involved in the discussion. We rely on education for that and we may be taught about it here in the developed west. But do you think in the huge rest of the world that is still trying to get what we have (a capitalist failure and breakdown) teaches students about the need to curb consumption and live more sparingly on a personal level. I doubt it. Developing countries need young people to crave the american dream – extra kids, extra cars and a few extra bedrooms for a start.

        I read a fantastic article in Time magazine many years ago. It went into numbers and years and so on. On the assumption that the US has created the standard and that all countries are trying to achieve the same ‘quality’ of life as the US, the planet was nolonger big enough to provide this for everyone in 1975. I read the article about 6 years ago and it said at the time of reading, in order for everyone on the planet to have what the average american has, we would need another 4 planet earths. We shot ourselves in the foot a long time ago and now its just a matter of time.

        If you can survive drinking half a liter of water a day, and you must cross the desert and you have enough water to last the 10 days it will take you to get to the other side then you would have to be incredibly stupid to drink most of that water on the first day.
        Apparently we are stupid. It really is as simple as that. We drank our water a long time ago and we aren’t going to make it.

  7. Nature cerainly doesn’t need us and would be better off without us as we have invaded the planet and bred so much that there isn’t enough of it and its resources to go round.Yet we breed more and take more and kill off other species more,it’s very frightening to think how it’s all going to end as end it must if we don’t change our ways.

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