Cultural Interpretations of Nature and the Effect on the Environment

In the same way that individuals have different views on the concept of nature, so do different cultures as a whole approach the concept. Perceptions of what can be termed the ’natural world’ differ between cultures, creating a change in how environmental concerns are considered and in how the ecology of the world is handled.

Nature is a concept. Despite the fact that nature has very tangible elements that can be touched, sensed, and held, the true idea behind nature is a description of a state of being. Nature tends to refer to areas where organisms and plant life grow unrestricted and without interference from human influence. However, the true meaning of the word is a
qualities of an organism”. It also might described as the “inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing“, or it could be described as “ a creative or controlling force in the universe”(nature, 2009). These dictionary definitions do not nearly encompass the many ways in which the natural world is defined by the different cultures across the globe.
Nature has had an influence on many aspects of cultural development. Nature influences art, science, and philosophy. It is at the base of medical discovery, just as it has the strongest representations of mathematical equations within its many structures. However, the cultural perception of nature creates a stronger impact on the world than the many disciplines that derive their principles from the concept. Within these perceptions lay the foundations of preservation and destruction upon which society will build and expand. In cultures where nature has less connection to its people, it is much easier to clear away the ecosystems that exist in order to pour concrete and lay a stone. In cultures where nature has been given reverence, one might find no permanent structures inhibiting the natural world. Regardless of the reverence or lack of reverence, the ’nature’ of man has become one of destruction and creation as the landscape is recreated to the needs contrived by human design.