What is human-nature interaction, and why is everyone talking about it?

A mindful and beneficial synergy to thrive together, respecting our planet

Key takeaways from this article

  • Human-nature interaction is the synergy between the two entities and their longstanding actions.
  • The four main categories of human-nature interaction need to balance themselves.
  • Examples of the positive and negative influences of humans and nature on each other.


Human actions, such as farming, overhunting, and the use of fossil fuels, are causing the sixth mass extinction and changes to the climate around the world. Because of these human activities, the global environment is changing, and everyone agrees that we need to reinvent the way we interact with nature right away.

To make this kind of shift, it’s important to know which human-nature relationships are recognized and emphasized in our society. In this article, we will figure out what human-nature interaction really means and why it is so important.

What is human-nature interaction?

The human-nature symbiosis can be described as humanity’s affiliation with nature. In other words, the adaptive synergy with nature as well as our longstanding actions and experiences that connect us to nature.[1]

From an evolutionary perspective, humans became the most powerful species on Earth thanks to a peculiar trait that no other animal or plant has: flexible cooperation. This human ability has always been used to rule and thrive in contrast with other living entities, and in many situations, it led to the extermination of whatever tried to stop the evolutionary path of our species. Now it is time to cooperate not just with other humans but also with the Earth as a whole.[2]

The four main categories of human-nature interaction

Talking about interaction means understanding the mutual influence two agents have on each other. In the specific case of humans and nature, both systems, which together generate the socio-ecological system, can have a positive or negative impact on the other agent.[3] The four possible interactions draw from this assumption, and they are:

  • Negative human influence on nature

In this context, we examine various aspects related to water crises, as well as harmful behaviors such as wildlife conservation and biodiversity loss. While this doesn’t cover the entire spectrum of issues, these human actions have received the most attention in public opinion and, regrettably, are the primary drivers of the most pressing issue affecting our planet: climate change.

  • Positive human influence on nature

For instance, efforts like the adoption of organic products and urban greening are steps toward respecting and reversing the harmful trends inflicted upon nature. These actions alone, however, are insufficient in comparison to the multitude of threats our planet faces. In the near future, our primary focus should be on fostering these positive relationships and avoiding the mistakes of the past.

  • Negative effects of nature on humans

Nature plays a vital role in human life, but its impact is not always entirely positive. In fact, when we analyze the cost-benefit ratio, we often find that nature has given us more than we have returned, resulting in an imbalanced relationship that can lead to natural disasters and adverse effects on humans.

  • Positive effects of nature on humans

Who we are as humans is a result of nature’s generosity and the abundant resources it has provided, fostering our growth and evolution. The list of nature’s benefits to humanity is endless, encompassing arts, recreation, food, resources, outdoor sports, habitats, biodiversity, and plant life, among others.


The secret? Rebalance the interaction

Human interaction with nature negatively impacts our planet’s survival, while unjust behavior disrupts natural balance. Nature, on the other hand, sustains our rapid evolution. Our consciousness should evolve to recognize when it’s time to reverse the trend and stop exploiting resources solely for human benefit.

In the following article, we will look at one of the most powerful solutions we have at our disposal for reinventing the human-nature relationship and creating something that will benefit both entities.



[1] “A big-data analysis of human-nature relations in newspaper coverage”. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/356567307_A_big-data_analysis_of_human-nature_relations_in_newspaper_coverage

[2] “Why we dominate the Earth”. Available at: https://fs.blog/yuval-noah-harari-dominate-earth/

[3] “A big-data analysis of human-nature relations in newspaper coverage”. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/356567307_A_big-data_analysis_of_human-nature_relations_in_newspaper_coverage


Author: Giuseppe Scandariato