nature

nature
   The distinction between nature and convention goes back to Anaximander, is well noted by Aristotle, and is the source of much social and political theory. It was not, however, until the romanticization of nature in the early modern period that nature came to be seen as an object of distinction and beauty that could be both interacted with and appreciated. Rousseau, Byron and Wordsworth exemplified this latter view.
   Changes in attitude in contemporary times, while built on an earlier romanticism, coincided with the first photographs of the Earth from space in the 1960s. These pictures conveyed the im-measurable beauty of the globe, and its finitude. For the first time, the boundaries of the planet were clearly visible. Consequently, it was recognized that the Earth is a fragile totality composed of a precarious balance of interdependent ecosystems, and that human survival depended upon preserving this balance. Contemporary public and media interest in nature and conservation emerged from this background of romanticization, spatial/global images and the increasing knowledge of the variety of species. That background produced knowledge of, and images of, particularity on the one hand and the globe as a universality on the other. These poles have been dealt with in and through unprecedented media interest, ranging from the highly scientific journals such as Nature and National Geographic to more amateur expressions such as Bird Watching and Country Walking. British television broadcasts on nature are internationally renowned; the most popular series have been Survival and Life on Earth. In the mid-1990s, increasing public interest in the natural world led to the introduction of the satellite channel Discovery; a large part of this documentary channel is devoted to topics concerning nature. As well as passive reception, active reception of media on Nature is now available via the Internet. This interactive medium offers a variety of possible interfaces. Earth Kids, for example, teaches children about ecological concerns.
   Ecological groups have merged with political concerns, as in the case of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Such groups have attempted to draw attention to the value of the natural habitat and have used the media to great effect in their objections to government-backed activity, from the building of nuclear power plants to airport runways. Two thousand years ago, Horace wrote that, ‘You may drive out nature with a pitchfork, yet shall be constantly running back’, the implication being that, if the planet is to escape ecological disaster, public recognition of its fragility is clearly necessary.
   Further reading
    Attenborough, D. (1980) Life on Earth, London: Book Club Associates.
   PAUL BARRY CLARKE
   EMMA R. NORMAN

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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  • nature — [ natyr ] n. f. • 1119; lat. natura I ♦ 1 ♦ (Qualifié) La nature de... Ensemble des caractères, des propriétés qui définissent un être, une chose concrète ou abstraite, généralement considérés comme constituant un genre. ⇒ essence; entité. « on… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Nature — еженедельный научный журнал Обложка журнала от 15 февраля 2001 года Специализация …   Википедия

  • nature — Nature. s. f. Tout l Univers, toutes les choses creées. Dieu est l autheur & le maistre de la nature. l ordre qui regne dans toute la nature. il n y a rien de si beau dans toute la nature, dans toute l estenduë de la nature que le soleil. toute… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Nature — • Has reference to the production of things, and hence generally includes in its connotation the ideas of energy and activity. Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Nature     Nature    …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • nature — Nature, Natura. La nature et maniere de faire, qu un chacun a de nature, Ingenium. Bonne nature, Bonitas ingenij, Bonum ingenium. Nature pleine de vices, Mendosa natura. La nature et vertu des arbres et des herbes, Arborum atque herbarum natura.… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Nature — Beschreibung Fachzeitschrift Fachgebiet Naturwissenschaften Sprache Englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nature — Na ture (?; 135), n. [F., fr. L. natura, fr. natus born, produced, p. p. of nasci to be born. See {Nation}.] 1. The existing system of things; the universe of matter, energy, time and space; the physical world; all of creation. Contrasted with… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nature — (n.) late 13c., restorative powers of the body, bodily processes; powers of growth; from O.Fr. nature nature, being, principle of life; character, essence, from L. natura course of things; natural character, constitution, quality; the universe,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • nature — The phrase of a…nature, with an adjective before nature, should be used sparingly and only when the adjective by itself will not serve for some reason. For example, a theologian of an enigmatic nature could easily be rephrased as an enigmatic… …   Modern English usage

  • nature — [nā′chər] n. [OFr < L natura < natus, born, produced: see GENUS] 1. the essential character of a thing; quality or qualities that make something what it is; essence 2. inborn character; innate disposition; inherent tendencies of a person 3 …   English World dictionary

  • nature — ► NOUN 1) the physical world, including plants, animals, the landscape, and natural phenomena, as opposed to humans or human creations. 2) the inherent qualities or characteristics of a person or thing. 3) a kind, sort, or class: topics of a… …   English terms dictionary

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