Living with Nature

We may not think about it, but we are a part of nature and we cannot live without nature. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and our clothes and homes all come from nature. Even the plastics and polyester fabrics are produced from previous life forms (the gas and oil deposits in the ground).We and all other species depend on nature for our survival. The Earth provides ecosystem services that filter the air and water, microorganisms inhabit the soils and interact with plant roots and other soil organisms to produce healthy soils and in turn, healthy plants.

Life on Earth, as we know it, exists in a very fine balance. One of these balances is called the "food web" or "food chain". It is the flow of energy and matter. In simplest terms, the sun's energy is taken up by plants (and photosynthetic organisms) "the primary producers" and is stored within the plants as sugars and starches. Then plant eating animals (herbivores) come along and eat the plants, who are the "primary consumers" and they use the energy produced by the plants as energy (and also nutrients that the plants take up from the soil) to grow and live, then come the animals that eat the primary consumers, the carnivores who are the "secondary consumers", and another exchange of energy takes place. And then there are the "tertiary consumers" the carnivores eating primary consumers as well as other secondary consumers. Within this there are also the omnivores that eat both plant and animals. This food web is very complex and resilient, but taking out too many of the plant and animal species can affect other species and cause collapses within ecosystems. For example, over-fishing by humans leaves fewer fish for other species that eat those same fish, and in turn, their populations will shrink and possibly die out. One group of animals know as insects, greatly affect all other species on this planet. They are so important to life on Earth, that it is figured that most life on Earth would disappear without them. Why? Because insects pollinate flowering plants (1/3 of the food plants we eat), and they are the primary food source for many fish, birds, and mammals. In many cases, where specific insects have disappeared, so have the host plants for those insects. The heavy use of pesticides is greatly reducing the number of insects, and not just the "pest insects". Some insects are harmful to humans, but most are benign to humans, and some are very important to humans. Also, pesticides are harmful to us and our environment. They are now found in the soil, water, air, plants and animals, including us. Food for thought.

This world is not for the taking, by us. We live because of nature, and we should protect nature, and in turn, protect ourselves. Nature provides us with what we need to live, and with mindful and careful use of its resources, we can live healthy, happy lives. We have been taught to be really good consumers, to keep the flow of money flowing. But maybe it is time to become really good conservers, and be conscious of what we are buying and the true cost of those products. No more buying in excess and cheap throw away products. You will save money and help save our world.