The Role of Humans in the Degradation of Nature

Op-Ed: How the U.S. came to protect the natural world — and exploit it at the same time — from climate change

At a time when the world is facing an unprecedented challenge, to restore and maintain the health of Nature, we need to look back to understand how our history contributed to the current state of affairs.

This past week, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, held a hearing in Washington on the importance of protecting nature’s health. The topic has become more pressing every day due to the impact of human-induced climate change as well as new threats from extreme weather.

The senator, a Democrat, has heard directly from a wide range of experts and observers, including many of my own. His hearing was a great opportunity to share our experiences, ideas, and knowledge about how and why we are losing the human race.

Many environmentalists and scientists argue that our natural world is in danger. We are losing natural ecosystems, which have been used for our benefit, and are losing the beauty we see in them every day. As I explained in the November 16 issue of The Revelator, we need to face the facts, not deny them. Instead, we need to build a strong human-centric foundation to protect the health of nature and our culture.

As I also wrote in The Revelator, we need to understand the role we play in the degradation of our nature. While we enjoy the benefits of the natural world, we are the main cause of its decline and have had a hand in shaping its future. And we are not the only cause.

I have written about the role we play in the degradation of our nature before. But today, I want to turn our attention away from myself and to a less-visible force.

How we came to love the natural world

A few years back, I wrote and discussed the “love affair” we have with the natural world in two pieces published in The Revelator. In this first piece, I examined the “human” (and human-centered) contribution to the decline of our nature.

My reasoning:

The majority of the environment is found nowhere but

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