In common usage, the meaning of the word “nature” is extremely limited. It does not refer to the earth as shaped by cosmic forces, but almost exclusively to the living forms on which people depend and to the earth’s atmosphere and surface.
The interdependence between human beings and the other forms of life is so complete that the word nature usually has biological connotations, even when referring to inanimate substances. In practice, we do not live on planet earth but with the life it harbors and within the environment it creates. For example, the oxygen we breathe is a product of life. Oxygen was being released into the atmosphere in a free form by primitive organisms that lived aeons ago according to scientific historians. It is still being produced by most members of the plant kingdom, by the microscopic algae or ocean plankton as well as by the most gigantic trees.
Microbes and plants are thus absolutely necessary for the existence of animals and human beings, not only because they produce food but also because they literally create a breathable atmosphere.
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