Nature nurtures mankind unselfishly with its rich resources. Yet, man is so carried away in his transformation of nature that he is unaware that it also has limitations and needs constant care. Now worn by the excessive demands of mankind, nature is unable to maintain the ecological balance needed. Humanity is faced with the problem of how to stop, or at least to moderate, the destruction of Mother Nature.
Human beings live in the realm of nature. They are constantly surrounded by it and interact with it. Man is constantly aware of the influence of nature in the form of the air he breathes, the water he drinks, and the food he eats. We are connected with nature by "blood" ties and we cannot live outside nature.
Man is not only a dweller in nature, he also transforms it. Humanity converts nature's wealth into the means of the cultural, historical life of society. Man has subdued and disciplined electricity and compelled it to serve the interests of society. Not only has man transferred various species of plants and animals to different climatic conditions, he has also changed the shape and climate of his environment and transformed plants and animals.
As society develops, man tends to become less dependent on nature directly, while indirectly his dependence grows. Our distant ancestors lived in fear of nature's destructive forces. Very often they were unable to obtain the merest daily necessities. However, despite their imperfect tools, they worked together stubbornly , collectively, and were able to attain results . Nature was also changed through interaction with man. Forests were destroyed and the area of farmland increased. Nature with its elemental forces was regarded as something hostile to man. The forest, for example, was something wild and frightening and people tried to force it to retreat . This was all done in the name of civilization , which meant the places where man had made his home, where the earth was cultivated, where the forest had been cut down.
But as time goes on mankind becomes increasingly concerned with the question of where and how to obtain irreplaceable natural resources for the needs of production. Science and man's practical transforming activities have made humanity aware of the enormous geological role played by the industrial transformation of the earth.
At present the previous dynamic balance between man and nature and between nature and society as a whole, has shown ominous signs of breaking down. The problem of the so-called replaceable resources of the biosphere has become particularly acute . It is getting more and more difficult to satisfy the needs of human beings and society even for such a substance , for example, as fresh water. The problem of eliminating industrial waste is also becoming increasingly complex.
Modern technology is distinguished by an ever increasing abundance of produced and used synthetic goods. Hundreds of thousands of synthetic materials are being made. People increasingly cover their bodies from head to foot in nylon and other synthetic, glittering fabrics that are obviously not good for them. Young people may hardly feel this, and they pay more attention to appearance than to health. But they become more aware of this harmful influence as they grow older.
As time goes on the synthetic output of production turns into waste, and then substances that in their original form were not very toxic are transformed in the cycle of natural processes into aggressive agents . Today both natural scientists and philosophers are asking themselves the question: Is man's destruction of the biosphere inevitable?
The man-nature relation – the crisis of the ecological situation – is a global problem. Its solution lies in rational and wise organization of both production itself and care for Mother Nature, not just by individuals, enterprises or countries, but by all humanity. One of the ways to deal with the crisis situation in the "man-nature" system is to use such resources as solar energy, the power of winds, the riches of the seas and oceans and other, as yet unknown natural forces of the universe. 但是，回到我们原先的主题上，令人难以接受的事实是那些违背了自然规律、破坏了生物圈和谐的人类行为将会带来灾难，而这种灾难也许是全球性的。古代东方智者的话讲得真是恰如其分：朋友们，你要是亲近大自然，大自然就会用那永恒不变的规律永远呵护你！
But to return to our theme, the bitter truth is that those human actions which violate the laws of
nature, the harmony of the biosphere, threaten to bring disaster and this disaster may turn out to be universal. How apt then are the words of ancient Oriental wisdom: live closer to nature, my friends, and its eternal laws will protect you!
|物种灭绝——过去和将来Extinctions, Past and Present
Man and wildlife are supposed to live in harmony, but human intrusion has driven a large number of species to extinction. It is high time that we took up the cause of wildlife conservation; otherwise, the price for us to pay in the future will be extremely high. In the following essay, the author calls for a global fund for wildlife conservation.
I spent some of the most exciting days of my life working on the eastern shores of Kenya's Lake Turkana searching for the fossilized remains (遗体) of our early ancestors. We did not always find what we wanted, but every day there was much more to discover than the traces of our own ancestors. The fossils , some quite complete, others mere fragments , spoke of another world in which the ancestors of many of today's African mammals (哺乳动物) wandered the rich grassland and forest edges between 1.5 million and 2 million years ago. The environment was not too different from the wetter grasslands of Africa today, but it was full of amazing animals that are now long extinct (绝种的).
That was true not just for Africa. The fossil record tells the same story everywhere. It is estimated that more than 95％of the species that have existed over the past 600 million years are gone.
So, should we be concerned about the current rate of extinction (灭绝), which has been accelerated by the constant expansion of agriculture and industry? Is it necessary to try to slow down a process that has been going on forever?
I believe it is. We know that the well-being of the human race is tied to the well-being of many other species , and we can't be sure which species are most important to our own survival.
But dealing with the extinction crisis is no simple matter, since much of the world's biodiversity (生物多样性) resides (存在) in its poorest nations, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Can such countries justify setting aside national parks and nature reserves where human intrusion (侵扰) and even access is forbidden? Is it appropriate to spend large sums of money to save some species in a nation in which a considerable percentage of the people are living below the poverty line?
Such questions make me uneasy about promoting wildlife conservation in poor nations. Nonetheless , I believe that we can –and should –do a great deal. It's a matter of changing priorities. Plenty of money is available for scientific field studies and conferences on endangered (将要灭绝的) species. But what about boots and vehicles for park personnel who protect wildlife from illegal hunters? What about development aid to give local people economic alternatives to cutting forests and plowing over the land? That kind of funding is difficult to come by .
People in poor countries should not be asked to choose between their own short-term survival and longer-term environmental needs. If their governments are willing to protect the environment, the money needed should come from international sources. To me, the choice is clear. Either the more wealthy world helps now or the world as a whole will lose out .
For that reason, we need permanent global funds devoted to wildlife protection. The funds should Primarily come from the governments of the industrial nations and international aid agencies.
How to use those funds would be a matter of endless debate. Should local communities be entitled to set the agenda , or should outside experts take control? Should limited hunting be allowed in parks, or should they be put off limits ? Mistakes will be made, the landscape will keep changing, and species will still be lost, but the difficulty of the task should not lead us to abandon hope. Many of the planet's natural habitats (栖息地) are gone forever, but many others can be saved and in time restored.
A major challenge for the 21st century is to preserve as much of our natural estate as possible. Let
us resist with all our efforts any moves to reduce the amount of wild land available for wild species. And let us call upon the world's richest nations to provide the money to make that possible. That would not be a contribution to charity ; it would be an investment in the future of humanity – and all life on Earth.