Speaking in terms of the entire human history, nature has always provided for all of man’s needs. Only in the last few centuries has man started to produce things he could not find in nature, but nature is still the great nurturer, even if we have lost our connection to it and awareness of it. The Earth offers us so many gifts, from obvious ones like food, water and materials, to less obvious ones like art, inspiration, spirituality and beauty. Here we explore the benefits of each of these gifts we are given freely.
It is hard to believe that there is shortage of clean water on the planet when 70 % of the surface is covered with water. No living thing can survive without water for long. Luckily, nature has a way of purifying polluted water through its freshwater ecosystems, where the soils, micro-organisms and plants filter out toxins from water, as is the case with natural wetlands and forest waters. There are still clean water streams and springs, wells and rivers from which water can be drank, but unfortunately their number is decreasing and we need to remember just how essential fresh water is to us and take action to clean the world waters.
Food and medicine
Obviously, nature provides food for animals and plants and for us, humans. We have a wide variety of foods to choose from, depending on the region, but nowadays, a lot of foods are available worldwide due to import and export. This includes tropical fruits, roots, spices, beverages like coffee and cocoa, even alcohol. Still, while many foods are processed, the healthiest foods remain wild foods – like berries and mushrooms we can pick in a forest, they give us the most nutrients. Herbs, plants and seeds are natural medicines we can use – as oils, teas, powder, extracts, essences and so on, and they are still the most efficient in healing.
Even during the times of cavemen, nature has been proving material to man to use and build from, including stone, clay, wood, mud, cork. All of these are still used in interior design and never go out of fashion, just because they are durable and beautiful. There is a trend of including more natural elements in our décor, like bamboo, copper, marble, even the element of water in the form of aquariums and fountains.
What would art be without nature? Nature has always been the most abundant source of inspiration for artists, and a huge amount of art presents nature – paintings, drawings, sculptures, reliefs, cave art, poems, songs, books, photography, film, architecture. Art cannot survive without flowers, clouds, trees, meadows, seas, stars, the Sun, birds … nature is art in and of itself, it just needs us to listen and observe carefully and translate it into the media of our choice.
We all wait for that time of the year when we can go to the seaside or to the mountains and just soak in a natural environment, because it is healthy for our mind, emotions and spirit. Nature resets us, calms us down, relieves stress and brings us peace and renewal. We cannot say why and how, but beauty is definitely one aspect of it, beauty is healing, it is pleasing to all our senses, and we are just made this way. If we stay away too long, our balance is disturbed. Nature teaches us harmony, cycles, continuity, death and rebirth, contentedness of all things, the importance of life and the meaning of life.