Determining what is considered “natural” is important in solving many ethical dilemmas we face today, namely those surrounding urbanization and technology. We constantly hear talk of how unnatural and cancerous human civilization is, or that we as humans need to “return to nature.” New techniques in medical and biological sciences, like with genetic engineering, commonly illicit negative responses from people claiming them to go against nature. Likewise, urbanization is slowly eradicating forest land via deforestation and city expansion; wild animals are seen roaming urban landscapes as they try adapting to new homes. Industry lays concrete over green fields and carves out mountains for the purpose of resource gathering. Some may wonder if one day the entire planet will be covered in concrete and metal, like the fictional world of Trantor in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Humans also tend to engineer synthetic chemicals that will sometimes pollute our air and poison our drinking water.
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