STEPHEN GORMAN
Arctic Climate Change, Nature, and Indigenous Culture Photography

"Who Needs Real Nature?"

Each day brings dispiriting news about the state of the earth: melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, diminished food and water supplies, deforestation and desertification, and mass extinctions of plant and animal species. 

It should come as no surprise that this unfolding environmental catastrophe is occurring as modern industrial society has all but severed its ties with the natural world. The accelerating diminishment of personal as well as cultural knowledge about nature’s vital role in human sustenance and security undermines modern society’s ability to make well-informed decisions regarding natural resources. 

“Widespread alienation from nature underlies many of our linked environmental and social crises including resource depletion, chemical pollution, biodiversity loss, atmospheric degradation, social alienation, and spiritual impoverishment,” says Dr. Stephen R. Kellert of the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. “There exists in modern society a growing separation from nature that fuels skepticism regarding the continuing role of nature in human physical and mental health and productivity.” 

"Many now believe that although people require food, water, and shelter like other creatures, modern technology and invention have largely freed us from the natural world,” says Kellert. “In this world, they wonder, who needs real nature?”

Arctic Fox, Coast of Hudson Bay, Nunavut, Canadian Arctic

 

WHO NEEDS REAL NATURE?

Each day brings dispiriting news about the state of the earth: melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, diminished food and water supplies, deforestation and desertification, and mass extinctions of plant and animal species. 

It should come as no surprise that this unfolding environmental catastrophe is occurring as modern industrial society has all but severed its ties with the natural world. The accelerating diminishment of personal as well as cultural knowledge about nature’s vital role in human sustenance and security undermines modern society’s ability to make well-informed decisions regarding natural resources. 

“Widespread alienation from nature underlies many of our linked environmental and social crises including resource depletion, chemical pollution, biodiversity loss, atmospheric degradation, social alienation, and spiritual impoverishment,” says my great friend and mentor, Dr. Stephen R. Kellert of the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. “There exists in modern society a growing separation from nature that fuels skepticism regarding the continuing role of nature in human physical and mental health and productivity.” 

"Many now believe that although people require food, water, and shelter like other creatures, modern technology and invention have largely freed us from the natural world,” says Kellert. “In this world, they wonder, who needs real nature?”