I got on a bus once and caught the end of a conversation between two people sat together. One was saying to the other ‘But is it natural?’ I have no idea what they were discussing but it’s an interesting question!
knowledge of rhinoceroses. Night-time cameras have revealed for the first time that these apparently grumpy animals are not as solitary as was once thought. They were filmed gathering in large numbers at night around watering holes, tenderly nuzzling each other, playing together and flirting.
Of course these landmark documentaries are edited to be exciting and entertaining. Yet I know I am not alone in finding the grandiose and melodramatic soundtracks a bit off-putting. It seems that wherever the BBC camera crews went in Africa there was an orchestra! Nature documentaries aren’t natural.
The idea of ‘nature’ is a device used in all kinds of arguments and advertising. ‘Natural’ is assumed to be good - although most of our lives most of the time aren’t especially natural. Our natural needs - for food, clothes, heating and shelter - are met by complex industrial systems, which transform raw ingredients into products.
What we know about nature is always changing. Science is always extending our understanding of it. I believe there is beauty and wisdom in nature but I think we use the word too easily. Nature is awesome and mysterious and yet we take its name in vain.