Okay, so maybe nature doesn’t always suck, but we give it far to much credit for being good, and I’m tired of it. We have lots of organizations dedicated to the support of nature. A good example is the Nature Conservancy, which does lots of good work in preserving natural habitats. Then there is the Sierra Club and Green Peace. Can you think of any groups that are opposed to nature – except perhaps big oil, mining and logging companies?
The term ‘nature,' in and of itself, has no inherent goodness or badness any more than does the term ‘rock.’ “That really rocks,” is a good thing, while “dumb as a rock,” is a bad thing. And so it is with nature. The expression “Mother Nature” personifies nature as a woman who is considered “the source and guiding force of creation” (Merriam Webster, 2003). There is a lot of goodness implied there. But terms like “the call of nature,” “crime against nature,” “force of nature,” “freaks of nature,” “human nature,” and “second nature,” only obfuscate the matter.
Recently I asked someone what things she really likes to do. She replied, “I love nature – hiking in the mountains, swimming in the ocean, walking in the woods…” I like those things to, but only when “Mother Nature” is being compatible. Hiking in the mountains when there’s a blizzard is not pleasant, and neither is swimming in the Artic Ocean. We tend to be very selective about when and how we expose ourselves to nature, and when we do, we have a good time and think positively about it. I’m sure that homeless people have a different view of nature.
We spend much of our life and our income trying to protect ourselves against the evils of nature. Consider how much you spend on housing, heating, and air conditioning. We buy summer clothes and winter clothes, and raincoats, and sunscreen. We pay extra for convertibles so we can enjoy nature when she is being good – and four-wheel drives and snow blowers for when she isn’t. And we use condoms, because nature can get us into lots of trouble if we are not careful.
Keep in mind that it was Mother Nature who killed all of the dinosaurs. All too frequently she brings us bad things like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, forest fires, tornados, volcanoes, locust, famine, pestilence, and other “natural” disasters. Spiders, snakes, rats, and scorpions are some of the least favorite of nature’s visible creature, but the invisible ones like germs and viruses cause much more misery. We get sick, grow old and feeble, and eventually die because of nature.
The food chain is another good example of how nature sucks. If we think about it at all, we tend to think of it rather positively since we are at the top, but try to imagine being further down the food chain – for example, a chicken. According to Discover Magazine, there are 17,000 chickens born every minute on poultry farms, and that’s just in the United States. Mother Nature has really stuck it to you if you are a chicken.
And what about wars? Your first inclination might be to say, “Hey, wars are caused by man, not by nature.” Well, if lions fight, you might agree that it’s nature’s way. Why isn’t it nature's way when people fight? People are a creation of nature and, like the lions, were created as predators, so preying on one another is really just nature’s way of thinning the herd -- as the hunters like to say. "But humans can think and reason," you argue. Well, guess who’s behind that brilliant development?
When you come right down to it, we can attribute everything that happens to nature – all the good and all the bad. Just because some event doesn’t fit the image of nature as a grassy meadow full of grazing deer on a sunny day, doesn’t mean it isn’t nature. And that’s a good thing, because we live in the age where everyone likes to blame others for their problems. If idiots can blame McDonalds for making them fat, and smokers can blame the cigarette companies for their lung cancer, everyone can now blame nature for all of the bad things that have happened to them and to others. But wait, you can’t sue Mother Nature. And that’s also a good thing, because if you could, she would have gone out of business a long time ago -- if she had not been executed first for committing millions of murders.
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Here is a good example of nature at work. This series
of four photographs are