Archivo de la etiqueta: scales

What is nature?

I do not pretend to start over one of the most trascendent phylosophical discussions, indeed I do not have the background for it. But in the last years I have attended a few discussions on this question, specially orquestated around the hybridist scientific trend of political ecologist. Since humanity is part of nature, what is unnatural about New York city? said the brilliant David Harvey, radical geographer. Since we have conquered almost every space in this planet, since there is no natural area that is not so by human mandate and is managed, since protected species are so by the money we devote to it…there is no nature separated from the human that decides what is nature and what is not. There is certainly a point in these arguments when you look at the world from the human perspective, but there are scales over humanity which scape our control, and this is also nature.  I recently found a very nice definition of nature in a paper on ecosystems organization by  the great theoretical ecologist Felix Müller.


Source: Müller 2005

Nature is a set of interactions between living and non-living things that allow their self-organization and maintentance. These processes are arranged at multiple spatio-temporal scales which are nested, being humans processes in some of them. But there are upper scales, like climate or the water cycle, and also tiny ones, like bacteria ecosystems, which can not managed by humans. So, in my opinion, it is true that humans are hybridized with multiple ecological processes, some of which may be controlled by our designations. But I can’t resist to acknowledge its own ontological property to the inmense, diverse and magnifient network that shaped the genuinity of this planet: life. Here I share an incredible video on this network, how species regulate each other, how they influence their landscapes and their rivers ;)

How Wolves Change Rivers from Sustainable Man on Vimeo.