Alter the course of nature

The acquisition of natural resources

According to their relationship to human life

Though the term has fallen into disfavour among botanists as a formal way to categorise ‘useless’ plants, the informal use of the word ‘weeds’ to describe those plants that are deemed worthy of elimination is illustrative of the general tendency of people and societies to seek to alter or shape the course of nature.

Aerial photography
The Turpan Depression, nestled at the foot of China’s Bogda Mountains, is a strange mix of salt lakes and sand dunes – photo: USGS

Among botanists

Another category of plant has historically been carved out for weeds. Though the term has fallen into disfavour among botanists as a formal way to categorize ‘useless’ plants, the informal use of the word ‘weeds’ to describe those plants that are deemed worthy of elimination is illustrative of the general tendency of people and societies to seek to alter or shape the course of nature. Similarly, animals are often categorized in ways such as domestic, farm animals, wild animals, pests, etc. according to their relationship to human life.

Animals as a category have several characteristics that generally set them apart from other living things. Animals are eukaryotic and usually multicellular (although see Myxozoa), which separates them from bacteria, archaea, and most protists. They are heterotrophic, generally digesting food in an internal chamber, which separates them from plants and algae. They are also distinguished from plants, algae, and fungi by lacking cell walls.

The most fundamental science

Some fields of science see nature as matter in motion, obeying certain laws of nature which science seeks to understand. For this reason the most fundamental science is generally understood to be ‘physics’ — the name for which is still recognizable as meaning that it is the ‘study of nature’.

Aerial photography USGS
photo: USGS

Matter is commonly defined as the substance of which physical objects are composed.

Aerial photography USGS
photo: USGS

The acquisition of natural resources remains a sizable component of the world’s economic system.

Aerial photography USGS
photo: USGS

Science see nature as matter in motion, obeying certain laws of nature which science seeks to understand.

Aerial photography USGS

The acquisition of natural resources remains a sizable component of the world’s economic system.

Aerial photography USGS

Matter is commonly defined as the substance of which physical objects are composed.

Aerial photography USGS

Science see nature as matter in motion, obeying certain laws of nature which science seeks to understand.

Share

Jane Roe

Jane Roe

Jane is a 24-year-old researcher who enjoys charity work, cycling and cookery. She is allergic to artificial food colourings. She has a severe phobia of sharks, and is obsessed with milkshakes.