Geography, Earth and environment at Brighton

What is Nature?

As Geographers we all have somewhat different working definitions of nature. One of our first year lectures introduces students to the idea there are different ideas depending on what your starting point is. And it introduces students to our staff in the process!

Here are some of the responses to the question, ‘What is nature?’

“Wildlife, organisms and vegetation.”
Dave Nash

“Nature is the ecosystems (biological communities and their physico-chemical environments) that develop on their own accord in the absence of localised human activities.”
Dr G. S. Bilotta

“Nature is something that we create, and often the term ‘natural’ is used to make some people, identities, behaviours seem better than others.”
Dr. Kath Browne

“Nature is a ‘gift’, it provides us with goods and services, and we have a duty to reciprocate and replenish these gifts.”
Dr Paul Gilchrist

“The basic or inherent features, character, or qualities of something.”
Dr Matthew Brolly

“Nature is a cultural concept that opposes culture; its evocation legitimises oppression, secures the human against the non-human and provides purchase for struggles over land, labour and life, as well as countless other political acts that are carried out in its name. It is one of the most contested and contentious terms of our time.”
Dr Leila Dawney

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Hannah Macpherson • November 26, 2014

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