The Relationship between Man and Nature

Background and History

In ancient African cultures, there are many different stories about the beginning of time and the birth of humankind on Earth.

In all of these stories, there is a similar theme, that is, in the beginning, man and nature lived in harmony. Man was part of creation and part of the circle of life. He was another mammal living and surviving with, and alongside, all the other animals, in a natural environment.

In these stories, man did not use the spoken word as we do now but communicated with his mind and his heart, a silent form of communication using intuition and emotional feelings. Man not only communicated with other humans in this way but also with plants and animals.

The stories explained that the basis of communication was love and respect for nature. When man wanted food to eat, he would ask permission from the herds of animals, and when he went hunting, he would see if one of the animals would let itself be hunted. He would then kill the animal very quickly and thank it for giving up its life so he and his family could have food and clothes. Every part of the animal was used, nothing was ever wasted and man would never hunt more than he needed.

Cavemen Hunting a Mammoth

When man wanted fruit from a tree, he would wait until the fruit was ripe and dropped to the ground. He would never take anything from nature without asking, and would always wait until nature was ready to give.

Bushman Hunting 
Bushman in Tune with Nature

The stories then go on to say that something terrible happened to change the relationship between man and nature. In the Christian Bible, man disobeyed God and was thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

In the Bushman stories, man also disobeyed God or Unkulunkulu, by making a fire and frightening all the animals.

In other stories, an alien race came down to take over the planet and gave humans the power of language. This confused man and the result was that they were no longer able to communicate with the animals.

Scientists and environmentalists have started studying the ways of our ancestors, to gain an understanding of living with nature.

Truth or Just Stories?

The fact that so many of these stories are similar in their message shoes that there could be some truth to them.

There is no doubt that something happened to separate man from animals and nature. As centuries went by, humans became more and more alienated from the natural way of living.

Stoneage Hunting

Heal the World

This separation caused humans to kill the very environment that gives us life. Humans are the only animals on Earth who knowingly destroy the natural environment.

People talk about the 'great separation sickness' from which humans suffer. There is evidence that the more people disconnect from nature, the more uneasy they feel.

This uneasiness causes unhappiness and 'dis-ease'. Unfortunately, humans are not paying attention to the ancient ways, and so people are becoming more and more disconnected and filled with 'dis-ease'.

This also works the other way round. If humans mistreat the environment or if there is war and struggle in society, the Earth reacts by creating natural disasters, like tornados, floods and droughts.

Natural Disaster – Tornado
Natural Disaster – Flood

Ways To Reconnect With Nature

By taking an interest and spending time in nature, you are already well on your way to reconnecting with the natural ways.

Join a hiking club or wildlife society. Take time when you are walking to really see the plants, birds and animals around you.

Bird Watching

If you feel scared of a particular animal or insect, try to learn something about it. All animals and nature respond to the feeling of respect. If you respect animals and the environment, they will respect you.


To respect the environment, it is important to know as much as you can about it. Start with the nature that is outside your back door.

To start being balanced in nature, we also need to be balanced inside ourselves. Remember, there is a relationship between ourselves and our environment, so if we are happy and balanced, then it is easier for us to be more connected with nature.

One of the ways to be more in balance is by practising yoga and meditation. Many yoga studios offer kids' classes. This is a wonderful way to keep your body fit, as well as calming your mind and connecting with your emotions.

Meditation is an excellent way to relax and take your mind off your fears and worries. It can help you to cope better with school work and life’s general stresses.