For much of human evolution, the natural world constituted one of the most important contexts children encountered during their critical years of maturation. It would not be too bold to assert that experience of nature has been and may possibly remain a critical component in human physical, emotional, intellectual, and even moral development. Despite this possibility, our scientific knowledge of the impact and significance of nature during varying stages of childhood is remarkably sparse
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS AND THE NATURE
What makes human beings distinguish from the other beings on earth is the fact that they have always placed supreme objectives. The basic factor for Man’s constant evolution and progress has always been the Natural Environment and his relationship to it. This relationship, however, has gone through a lot of stages and fluctuations.
The “Stone-Age Man”, who is primitive and his only goal is to satisfy his survival instinct, is being “under the control of Nature”. His survival methods include hunting and collecting food. Human beings do not intervene in the evolution of natural elements; on the contrary, they feel an intense awe and a fear towards Nature.
During the second stage of the Man-to-Nature relationship, the “Bronze-Age Man” finds himself co-existing “with the nature”. Human beings have become equal to it. They do not exploit Nature, they simply use it in a “friendly” way in order to improve their life. Therefore, the first forms of rural life started coming up and lasted up to the Industrial Revolution. In this phase, elements of nature are exalted to the skies and the first forms of religious worship are developed. In our country, Greece in particular, during Ancient times, people worshipped not only Nature itself but also the Gods who had the power to control the greatness of Nature. We mean, of course, the Twelve Gods of Ancient Greece, who were known to control the birth and death of every little thing on earth.
To conclude, we reach the present phase. The “Hydrocarbon-Age Man” finds himself “above Nature”. Human beings have tried to escape from all natural bonds which might have prevented, to their mind, their evolution.
Modernity wishes to kill the biological gods of Nature and destroy animist beliefs (the notion that each part of the global ecosystem has a soul and is therefore value in itself). Modernity considers progress to be the only god to which people, communities and ecosystems may be sacrificed. However, this attitude has resulted in their extended intervention in the ecological balance. People have overcome Nature (its restrictions and limits) with considerable and rather dangerous consequences. The improved quality of life, which was their objective, is currently being placed in horrible danger.
Now that an ecological destruction is imminent, we, the Earth’s habitants have to comprehend all our faults and realise the unison we have with Nature. From now on, we have to realize that we are not only the “consumers” of Nature but we have to become the “Re-creators” of Nature.