Nature in all its Gory

Tree huggers love nature. They love to update their status on social media with cute images of orangutan’s frolicking with puppies and kittens and baby goats and fat Vietnamese potbellied pigs.

They share stories of the bear raised with the tiger and the lion.

They show rainbow-diffusing waterfalls with elk drinking at the peaceful edge of the pool of water or snow covered bison roaming peacefully on the open ranges of Yellowstone.

But that is not nature, that is marketing.

What set this off was the following headline,

People love watching nature on nest cams — until it gets grisly.

(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/05/19/when-nest-cams-get-gruesome-some-viewers-cant-take-it/)

The story was about how the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute had to turn off the webcam on an Osprey nest. The outrage of “nature lovers” escalated to vitriol and anger when the camera showed the mother Osprey neglecting and attacking the chicks in 2014. They wanted the staff to intervene.

In other words, nature wasn’t really to their liking.

Polar bears are another favorite. No matter where you fall on the man-caused/natural global warming discussion (although I think the science of man-caused is pretty clear if not the exclusive reason) there is much angst about saving the big white furry magnificent Polar Bear.

Whatever the cause of their decline, I remember one interesting fact about Polar Bears. They are the only known species to actively hunt humans. It’s their nature.

Polar Bears are majestic apex predators. Watch this if you have any doubt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0DCOTaZgtA

But that’s not my point.

Tell me your point, Joe, you say.

Okay, I will.

Nature is not cruel. Nature is not heartless. Nature is not brutal. Sometimes, nature seems downright chilling from our human perspective.

But overall, Nature is neutral.

Now, doing everything we can to minimize our impact on nature and the many creatures we share this planet with is a noble goal.

Complaining when a camera gives you a window on the reality of nature is not noble or caring. It is to be ignorant of the ways of nature.

Every moment of every day something in nature is dying by the efforts of some other creature. Whether it’s a Baleen Whale filtering microscopic plankton or a pack of lions chasing down and killing a gazelle.

That is nature.

Nature is not a Disney film. Often, it’s more Alfred Hitchcock with a script by Stephen King. But that’s because we are looking at it from an unrealistic perspective.

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