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The effects of nature on human civilization have been looked at in depth in the book Down To Earth by Ted Steinberg. His attempts in this text is revolves around unmasking the ecological consequences of human actions. This article is a summary on his findings focusing primarily on his selected ideas in part three of his book which basically focuses on history from America. In his book, Ted Steinberg observes that, a lot has been said concerning the effects of nature on human lifestyle. He further deduces that, human life is closely linked to nature and this he looks at it into regimes.
Ted observes that, nature comes with many effects on human life due to its wild nature and due to this; human being has become so much interested in getting civilized so as to tame it. In one of the effects that nature has triggered civilization is through education (Steinberg, p 217). Given that nature appears strange and complicated, human being has to get educated in order to cope up with it. As a result, human being ends up getting more enlightened thus making his life more civilized and admirable. It through education in attempt to deal with the wildness of nature that such machines as computers, mobile phones, motor vehicles, televisions among others were discovered. Through these machines, human life has become enjoyable and simple thus leading to a more civilized world.
In his text Down To Earth, Ted deduces that, the wildness of nature has led to human beings discovering clothing. At the beginning, the early man never used to wear clothes. The body was very hairy and therefore he used to survive naked without any clothing. Due to harsh climate and cold nights, man came of age over a period of time and started covering himself using skin from animals he used to trap purposely for food. The skin was later discarded on the coming of industrial revolution. This emanated all from the wildness of nature and in attempt to make life more comfortable for human being. The revolution saw the coming of textile industry which saw clothes made of cotton coming into the limelight. The coming of garments to cover our bodies saw nature triggering yet another civilization (Steinberg, p 228). The impact on human life was measurable and very much evident. Man can live even in the coldest places on earth all because of warm clothing. Human can easily cover nakedness and walk freely in any part of the world. This was indeed a big impact in human beings life, thanks to the wildness of nature.
Another impact that is expounded in Ted Steinberg's book, on human civilization in relation to nature is housing. The early man used to live like an animal on trees and in bushes. This clearly indicates that the difference between man and the wild animals was nil. Putting this into consideration, it can be seen that human being was at risk of being attacked by wild animals at any given time of the day or night. On the other hand, in case of such things as heavy rain and cold, he was equally not saved from their harshness. This can simply be put into two words as wildness of nature. Over time, man became knowledgeable and therefore saw the need to construct a house to curb the wild nature (Steinberg, p 240). This was indeed civilization thanks again to the wild nature. The effects of nature on human civilization in this case can be seen and this has continued happening to date. Human being has nothing to worry whether it is the harsh climate or wild animals which had been a life threat before.
In yet another way in a bid to bring on surface the effects of nature on human civilization, Ted observes what is often ignored by experts when looking at this important topic. He continues to observe that, nature is designed in a way that it controls human life everyday. For instance, climatic change does not just happen but it happens with a reason behind it. Were it not for the behavior of nature, human civilization would have only remained as a dream (Steinberg, p 246). The processes that nature undergoes enable movements on planet earth to occur. Human life has therefore greatly depended on these movements oblivious of the impact they have in their life. a good example in the text is that of air conditioning gadget which enables one to stay in the house oblivious of how hot the weather is outside. It simply varies the temperature of nature and keeps the atmosphere at cool temperature. Were it not for the harshness of nature, such civilization would not have come into being. This is yet another prove that nature indeed has an impact on the life of human being.
In part 3 of the text, there is a comprehensive coverage on efforts of human being to make life more comfortable depending on nature. The effects that come with this idea may sometimes be negative and far reaching. Ted is quick to note that, although nature has impacted human civilization, human being in return has become abusive on the same and more so on the processes that come with it. For instance, in attempt to get more civilized, human being has led to global warming due to so many industries running. The modification of genes in attempt to procreate among many other things has led to negative civilization and interruption of nature in a very negative way (Steinberg, p 249). In return, nature hits back in a very fierce way and human being feels the pinch. Putting this into consideration, it becomes clear that although nature can have an impact in human life in a positive way, too much effort in attempt to get civilization can bring negative impact on human being.
Nature's effect on human life is far reaching. Through nature, human civilization has had the greatest civilization of developing language as way to communicate easily. This only came possible as a result of human being understanding nature better. Civilization has been seen through establishment of some of the fastest means of transport, understanding human being well in a psychological manner, putting the population at bay due to the demands of nature while still deriving pleasure from sex, understanding in depth different epidemics and how to cure them among other things. All the above emanates from nature although it has been tamed by human being with very little civilization. These happenings have impact on human civilization all because of nature.
Although nature has made so many impacts on human civilization, Ted calls for human being to keep some boundaries so as for human being and nature to mutually exist. He is quick to observe that coexistence will see human civilization going a mile further (Steinberg, p 254). When nature is respecting boundaries, human being on the other hand does not seem to note that and instead continues interfering with nature. If human civilization is a life time thing, Ted then calls for a peaceful coexistence between nature and humanity. Human beings should learn lessons in order to put in place plans to have future civilization.
Another observation worthy taking is that nature in most situations devastates human being due to invasion on it. Such occurrences like earthquakes should be taken with a lot of seriousness as it is an indication that human being made an error in an attempt to seek civilization. Urbanization which is brought by human being leads to many individuals getting concentrated in one place and therefore nature decides to retaliate thus causing harm. This harm which comes in form of earthquakes is an indication that attempts to remodel nature making an assumption that it is not dynamic is a misplaced idea. Urbanization is as a result of civilization which eventually leads to a reaction from the nature.
In conclusion, Ted Steinberg in his book Down To Earth observes that human being make so many errors which are gross in nature having it in mind that by exploiting nature, more civilization will come on the way which turns out too be the wrong thing. By getting minerals from the ground to construct urban centers which eventually leads to construction of industries, human being does not mainly focus on the impacts that come with it. What appears to be the most important thing to him is civilization which in return comes as something else (Steinberg, p 267). Ted Steinberg is quick to note that if for sure civilization is to come on the lives of human being, then exploitation should be pushed at the back of human being's mind. This is for the simple fact that, exploitation is only bringing clashes even on fellow human being. Finally, it is important for human beings to know that when the saying goes exploiting a given opportunity, it is not the act of extracting all that there is to an extent of causing harm.