Every day in the news I see something about the environment; ‘Getting Better Gas Mileage in Three Easy Steps,’ or ‘Ten Ways to Reuse and Recycle Everyday.’ Everywhere I go I see signs that say: ‘This Bus Runs on Clean Natural Gas,’ or ‘Made of One Hundred Percent Recycled Paperboard,’ each boasting of a certain company’s environmental friendliness. Everyone seems to be so concerned with conserving each single natural resource individually. It is as if they think that if they reuse grocery bags they will save the earth. They believe that pollution and energy consumption can only be overcome by shaving a seemingly insignificant portion off of their own expenditure and informing everyone they know of their actions. As redundant as it sounds, I believe that nature is our greatest natural resource.
Relative to the time span of the existence of nature, humanity has only just recently developed the ability to engineer manmade structures on top of and covering nature. It now has the means of even changing nature to fit its blue print of development. The one thing that no one anticipated was the difficulty and time it requires to restore and area from manmade to its natural state. In many parts of Virginia, as well as the rest of the country, I have seen communities that have simply been abandoned. Where the inhabitants have moved on, the structures remain. Originally built to withstand the elements of nature for the protection of those that dwell within them, they continue to live up to their design. Every house, building, sidewalk, and street holds fast in open defiance of the reclamation of nature. There is some evidence of nature struggling to take back the area upon which it had originally thrived, but its attempts appear to be feeble and pathetic. Evolution is defeated by modern engineering.
I believe that nature is the last real resource that I have to enjoy. Scientists and engineers are developing ways to get around the depletion of almost all other resources. Hydrogen cars and wind energy. Solar power and recycled cardboard. During my life, the world will break its dependency on limited natural resources, yet I feel the most valuable of the resources with be overlooked. Nature is the greatest natural resource, this I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.