What Should We Call What Nature Provides Us?

The term de jour is “ecosystem services,” but that doesn’t really thrill anybody. What’s the phrase you think would express everything that nature gives to human beings — everything from agriculture to drinking water to clean air to recreation and aesthetic pleasure? Natural Capital? Nature’s Benefits? Natural Infrastructure? Natural Life-Support? Environmental Value? Tell us by leaving a comment — your idea could really help us convince others that nature is life itself!

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.

Comments

  1. I agree that ecosystem “services” doesn’t do a good job of alerting people to the essential nature of these functions. I’ll offer “ecosystem benefits or values” as a move in the right direction. Unfortunately it will probably take something with more incentive implied to get anyones attention.

    Maybe what we need is to convince people that humans are in fact very conservation reliant themselves and that without large scale and long range conservation efforts to preserve and restore essential ecosystem benefits we’ll be yet another species in need of heroic emergency room efforts to recover.

  2. Nature is our mother who gives everthing to us for living and life.

  3. Life and diginity.

  4. Limited Planetary Ecosystem Resources sounds pretty good to me.

  5. we should call it “Nature’s Free Gift” because nature gave us these resources without seeking any payback…kind of like God

  6. Life-support services

  7. Life support.

  8. Grace…..

  9. Love the ‘life support’ idea…
    maybe ‘The stuff of life’?
    ‘Life’s Best Treasures’
    ‘A World of Resources’

  10. Gaia.

  11. Simply Earth
    Earth’s Bestow

    Athough the Earth hands out everything at need, people abuse it like a drug their addicted to. I wish and hope that everyone on this planet changes the ways they live to begin a new era of life; or else there is no life for anything.

  12. “Ecological endowment” would emphasize the need for careful stewardship. Just as contributions are made to a university’s endowment with the expectation that the university will use the contribution wisely, a contribution made by nature to the human race calls for careful stewardship. Also, one who contributes to a university will not do so again unless the funds were used wisely the first time–similarly, if we don’t care for the services and resources provided by the Earth now they could dry up and be inaccessible for future use.

  13. (Looking for a short noun phrase, then?)

    life’s crucible
    life support system
    life sustenance
    human sustenance
    our body nature
    womb of humankind
    garden of life
    our common garden
    our garden nature

  14. Taking a cue from Brittney:

    our garden Earth

  15. I like your term, “Natural Capital,” but I’ll add that there may be some thought about differences and refinement. Artists sometimes use the term “Natural Abundance” (Julia Cameron). Does that bring any terms to mind? “Natural Treasures?”

  16. “A home to thrive in”

  17. There seems to be a tradeoff between being precise and being inspirational.

    Also, unless we get really creative, I fear the prefix ‘eco’ would make the term inaccessible to those who aren’t already sold.

  18. interdependant connection.

  19. Nature’s Endowment – a variant on Christine Diepenbrock’s suggestion. As Joe Lapp mentions above, I feel Nature has a more accessible “feel” than Eco-anything.

  20. Oh, and if you want something that is more of a bumper sticker catch phrase for the work of the Conservancy, perhaps “Man’s stewardship of nature’s endowment” would work…

  21. If humanity dies, she will live. If she dies, so does humanity.

  22. Life’s Supply

  23. From My Body, To Your Plate

  24. The Essence of Life:
    Nature works to balance extremes in spectacular fashion and part of the wisdom shared from this is that life is perfect in its imperfection; that the essence of a full and good life is accepting the imperfections, continuing on with faith in the cycle’s progression.

  25. “Nature is a giver, a true friend and a sustainer”

  26. Natureza como essencial uma Vida.

    Natureza dá a água, o ar, alimentos, fatores indispensáveis à vida. Portanto devemos preservá-la.

  27. Nature is Nourishment for our systems AND souls

  28. I have a bit of a problem with the concept humans “consuming” nature’s “products & services”. Those are economics terms, but I’m not sure that our relationship to our environment is an economic relationship, or even a producer/consumer relationship. Certainly we consume things produced by other living things, and other living things consume things produced by us. But I wouldn’t say that a strawberry plant, for example, exists mainly to produce food for humans, or that humans exist mainly to produce carbon dioxide, fertilizer and seed dispersal for other living things such as strawberry plants. It seems that most living things are just trying to live and reproduce. I don’t think it is their intention to provide “services” for some other living thing. But I realize that we often feel the need to make comparisons in purely economic terms.

    I don’t have a term to offer at the moment, but if I ponder this article from William McDonough I might be able to come up with something – http://www.mcdonough.com/writings/address_woods.htm

    “When our designs support life, then growth is good. When our intention is to grow our children’s health or grow ecological recovery or grow socially beneficial prosperity, then we can go way beyond simply tinkering with a design paradigm that is antagonistic to life and begin to redesign our world so that it is in harmony with all of life. To get there we might ask ourselves, “What are the fundamental intentions of our species?””

    “The question really is “What do we want to grow?” Do we want to grow asphalt and destroy the planet or do we want to grow health and intelligence and a beneficial human footprint?”

    “I think perhaps it’s time to leave behind trying to be less bad and start trying to be 100 percent good. Rather than stewarding the planet into oblivion why not awake to our kinship with all life and leave behind a footprint we can delight in? Why not make the human influence on the planet restorative, vital and good? Why not follow the laws of nature so that we can generate fecundity and good growth? As an architect I have to follow the law of gravity. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law. Understanding the laws of nature is fundamental to design.”

    So maybe instead of a term we could ask – “What do we want to grow?” And with that, the corresponding question “What are we currently growing?”

    1. Interesting points, Dave. I think the issue is — how does one sell others on the value of nature when they don’t immediately get it? One obvious tactic is to enumerate the ways nature benefits us — including baldly economic ones. I agree with your move to talk about the consequences of our actions and making conscious choices, but we need to start first with getting most people’s windshields clean about all that nature gives them. Most just don’t seem to know.

  29. The delicate balance of life rests with earth, give everything to protect it. j.e.p.

  30. What can you say, until individuals stop being so commercialised and greedy things may not changes. I bet the average Joe in the street has no idea about nature, the food chain, etc. Education is one way, but until you take key things from individuals, they will not take it all on board.

  31. “heaven IS on earth”

  32. Thanks Dave for that. I too think William McDonough has been very articulate on behalf of understanding the essentials of nature and the relationship with fundamentals of design. He is wise to point out that in most recent history, as economics has taken over the driver’s seat, many things have been irrevocably lost. Designing and more importantly THINKING differently is critical to a future.

    I think another possibility for a phrase could be to borrow heavily by stating:
    “Respect the laws of nature: it is fundamental to all life on Earth.”

  33. Natural currency

  34. It needs to be simple yet definitive if people are going to remember it or at least understand it. We can’t live without taking care of Nature. We can’t live without Nature taking care of us. How about “Nature Nurtures Life.”

  35. ‘ecosystem life link’
    I was thinking ‘Nature is Life’, but then read where you seem to want to apply this. Have to show the valuable relationship. Good luck!

  36. This isn’t a good comment, but it’s the truth – Nature gives us everything we need.

  37. the good things in life.

  38. Life.

    If that’s too obvious, then Quality of Life.

  39. Having been richly blessed growing up on a beautiful farm in Western Wisconsin with parents who taught their children to respect the inherent sacredness of land, I sincerely believe the primary legacy of Nature is A SANCTUARY OF/FOR THE SPIRIT.
    Wherever I’ve travelled world-wide, I’ve always felt at home in the natural world. This, in turn, has opened doorways for my being welcomed into indigenous communities where their spiritual practices greatly honor the gifts and sustenance of Nature. In our hearts, we speak the same language…

  40. all i want to do is plant trees all over town . Where do I go to get donations or grants and how do I get started? I’m doing it whether I get approved or not .

  41. I breath, therefore i need nature!

  42. A slogan for Nature
    “Nature gives us life!”
    Suggested by and copyright © Zoya Zaidi

  43. Each living organism has a continual relationship with every other element that makes up its environment. Within the ecosystem, species are connected and dependent upon one another in the food chain, and exchange energy and matter between themselves as well as with their environment. Therefore, I choose “symbiotic interdependence” as the catch words to describe our relationship with nature.

  44. Nature’s footprints.

  45. Nature gives us breathing space for beauty, feeds us the stuff of life and washes it down with the clarity of water.

  46. Environmental Peace
    Natural Sake
    It’s our world too
    Balance
    Green Life – Long Life

  47. resources.

  48. Chief Seattle, leader of the Squamish Nation

    and I quote,

    “the Earth does not belong to Humanity, people belong to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the people of the Earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a part of it. Whatever we do the Earth, we do to ourselves.” 1854

    how about

    “Living Matter”

    What really matters!

  49. Nature gives life. Simple.

  50. Nature provides balance.

  51. Nature provides us something to live for.

  52. Nature provides us peace of mind.

  53. I agree with Jane,
    Nature gives life – peroid.

  54. Cradle Of Life

  55. Life on Earth: we call it ‘nature’.

  56. I would simply say that nature gives life; if we as a species impede nature then we are looking at the lose of all life.

    But rather I may ask the question “Does or could nature evolve to maintain life?” in regards that previous life has been destroyed by natural events 5 times before in Earth’s history.

    What would the situation be [for nature] if the next big extinction event were man made?

    MJ

  57. she gives us “A Path to the One.”

    While we’re OUT in Nature, it can happen in an instant. Just take a second to take a deep breath and be silent and go withIN, and there you will find all you’ve ever been searching for… “Heaven on Earth!”

  58. Instead of “ecosystem services,” how about “Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails”?

  59. life force, bounty of the Earth, gifts from the Earth, life sustaining gifts of nature, fruits of the ecosystem, the natural harvest of ecosystem resources, harmony of humanity and the natural world, fruits of the Earth, gifts of beauty and utility, beautiful and life-giving eco-systems

  60. In my school I am learning about water and found out that only 3%is fresh water, the rest has salt. We also learned about desalinization. If you drink salt water your kidneys will shut down. Water treatment plants help dirty water become clean. WE also found out about the water cycle!

  61. I know the world has things you do not expect!

  62. Nature IS Us

  63. Beyond-value life services

    Priceless preservation systems

    Irreplaceability

    Everything…even your iPad

  64. I really dislike the economic terms, by adopting them we are turning nature into just another number on a cost/benefit analysis spreadsheet. Is that really what we to do?

    Perhaps they are necessary, but I can’t help but feel that by folding to the demand for transforming nature into economic language we serve only to deepen the chasm between us the world that we wish to protect.

  65. “ecocircuitry”

    Sounds delicate, complex, and connective.

    To market it to the masses, it should probably be called “Iecocircuitry”, which would be found outside your Apple Store. Connect to free songs, breathing, food, and shelter.

  66. How about “Planetary Life-Support Systems” or just “Life-Support Systems”? That really gets to the heart of the matter. “Ecosystems Services”, “Natural Capital”, etc, are way too wonky for the general public.

  67. “Nature – Physical and spiritual sustenance”

  68. Saw a venus fly trap plant in Brazil a few years ago yet, your article says they only grow in North Carolina.
    Why is that? is the article wrong or did the plant get imported & grow up to 5 (five) feet tall? Are all venus fly trap plants illegal?
    Thks!

  69. Dear Nature Conservancy:

    Yes! Nature provides us with indispensable gifts!! A walk in the woods is enjoyable! The plants, the leaves, the undergrowth! The trees provide much needed oxygen and the walks are enjoyable! Much can be learned from nature and nature walks and it is a cool, green science.

    Linda
    UNA-USA

  70. I couldn’t find any place else to comment on your article, “Ghost Cat,” so I am here. We have the Canadian Lynx right here around Lapwai ID outside of Lewiston ID. It’s very exciting when we see one. A rancher had the skin of one tanned. I sure hope he didn’t kill it to begin with.

  71. A Gift

  72. Indian peoples/Indigenous peoples all around the world know there is no difference between us and all living things which is everything. We are only a part of this great Mother Earth. The teaching is this–the foods, medicines, and even the things we don’t know what their use is–are gifts from the Creator. We are promised that IF we take care of the gifts, the gifts would take care of us. This is why Tribes spend millions to bring back species that are almost gone such as the salmon. When we take care of even one species it benefits all species. You can’t go wrong. My grandfather used to say,”when the premise is right, it will always be right. But when the premise is wrong you can never make it right. For instance, you can’t make it right when people only want to make money on “resouces” or gifts as we call them. If that is the motive, it is wrong. Traditional native people would never say, resources. That’s like calling your children resources. All things must be treated with the same respect as your children, in other words–sacred. Something that you wouldn’t put a price tag on. When those in decision making postions take this and realize that promise is not just to native people but to ALL people everywhere, and it is, only then can we begin to operate on the right premise. Thank you for hearing me today.

  73. I forgot another very important point. In Nimiipuutimt, or the Nez Perce language, our word for the ecosystem is Watus. Many think it is just the land but it is the atmosphere and everything below the surface and all the systems that work together. It is also understood that this Mother Earth does not rely on humans to exist. There are many, many legends about the time before people. Only half of these so-called myths speak of humans.

  74. Earth Support Systems

  75. Bounty. Nature’s bounty provides the earth with everything it needs. People would be advised to curb their population and get inline with human carrying capacity to make sure that earth’s bounty continues in a healthy manner.

  76. save the planet

  77. I agree with the comments above that say using economic terms degrades what we should be protecting. I have wrestled for years with this, having worked in “natural resource management.” That term implies, at least to me, a consumptive outlook, as does the term “Natural Capital”. “Ecosystem Services” might be too esoteric.

    How about “Natural Amenities” or “Natural Endowment”? In financial terms, an endowment is usually a fund that you can use the interest from, but the fund itself remains intact, so even though it uses a financial analogy, it is more fitting than some others, at least to me.

  78. Our bodies, our life, our home.

  79. eco-bennies

  80. Nature sustains us
    but only if
    We sustain Nature.

  81. Nature Provides Humanity, Inspiration, and …- the question was “What should we call what nature provides us?” If the idea is to reach all people big and small I believe blunt and simple to leave the reader of such a message to quickly understand what it is you want them to understand. By saying, “and…” it leaves the reader of the message to question themselves, what else does nature provide? They may relate what nature provides for themselves satisfying the greedy nature of the issue and yet getting the response to at least consider nature. Hopefully!

  82. Sorry but we dont want to reach the people who care, right? They are already involved. It is the people who don’t care we are trying to reach and unless it serves them they won’t.

  83. in the context of “$ of value of ecosystem services,” try “natural value” or “nature’s wealth” or “nature revenue” or “nature paycheck” or “nature bonus” or “natural dividend” etc

  84. Go with answer #3: (by MyLifeOutdoors)

    Providence

    As in: the source of provender, that which sustains us.

    It is appropriately human-centric and also politically astute, bringing religious types under the same tent as secular humanists: the argument is reduced to whether the providence is divine in origin. Yet we can move forward together under that word.

  85. I recently heard Dr. Sylvia Earle speak as a guest of the Wallace Stegner series at Montana State University. The word she used, with which I whole-heartedly agree is World Bank.
    Dr. Earle is currently the Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society.

    If someone has a hard time with thinking about our Earth as our World Bank whose resources we are depleting at break-neck speed and doesn’t understand that we can use without using up all we were given for free, then perhaps there is a way to show that everything on our planet is connected by a web.
    What happens in one place to one part of Nature affects us all.
    It has to go beyond just quoting statistics. As a writer I struggle every day with how to show rather than tell what is happening.

  86. Greenery is Real life , save it.

    SEO

  87. Life Recipe

  88. Gaia’s gift

  89. I would use the phrase “Ecologic Reciprocity”, a term I adapted from the title of an article by Sylvester Steffen called Economic/Ecologic Reciprocity in the Commons,a portion of which reads: “The egalitarian nature of life resides in the inherent/ coherent necessity of economy/ ecology. Every person depends in the same way on economic/ ecologic nature. Life individually is expressed “from within” naturally graced economy/ ecology. The evolution of natural/ human ecology/ economy is spontaneous “ad intra” (from within) and is cumulative in outcome “ad extra” (externally) in the physical complexes of ecological nature—which is to say: when human consciousness is intentionally faithful to its economic/ ecologic origins, it lives symbiotically in nature, not as a drain on ecology/ economy but as contributor, investor. The maintenance of nature’s economy supposes healthy, ongoing diversification of its ecology; not Ponzi schemes that cream off principal and interest. Humankind is already far down the road of trashing nature, of scamming nature’s principal and interest.” He is genius in his thinking and very well versed. Here is a link to the entire article:
    http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977964252

  90. An additional comment I would like to add: my thinking was partly inspired by the comments from “Dave” on Jan. 25, who pointed out that basically we must not assume that Earth’s purpose is to serve humankind, rather we must recognize the need for a relationship that is give and take, reciprocal and symbiotic.

  91. This comes to mind: Earth as an island in space:
    “Earth: Island of Natural Abundance” Wellspring of Life.

  92. I’m a few months late for this discussion but it’s an important timely topic wrth contributing to all the same.

    The term ‘Ecosystem Services’ is indeed not the best – and research I’ve been involved in recent years with shows that the general Western public generally understands the term as something which we do for nature and not vice versa.

    In terms of alternatives, I personally share the poetic, inspired and creative ones on this blog like ‘Nature’s Gifts, Life-Support, Benefits’ etc…but the challenge is that most of us are who comment on this blog are ‘the converted’ – we understand nature is the grandeur of life in its wonderful essence. So are the meaningful and inpsired terms we want to use also able to reach out to those how see nature as purely a resource/commodity? I’m not so sure…it depends on our target market/audience.

    We probably need to more effectively apply principles of social marketing in order to really engender/mainstream an intrinsic understanding of what ecoservices really means for the human race…for all of us.

  93. The fundamental elements of life that sustain us all: clean water, air, and food.

  94. It’s been said before, but I like: “Life sustanence.”

  95. ‘The Green Spirit’.

    Regards

    Zee Mathews

  96. What does nature give us?

    “Life”
    Vicki Johnson

  97. *LIFE*

  98. Continuum – A continuous extent, succession, or whole, no part of which can be distinguished from neighboring parts except by arbitrary division.

  99. “I find no hope for a civilization so stupid it demands a quantitative estimate of the value of its umbilical cord.” Dave Ehrenfeld

  100. Nature really does provide us with everything we need , want and use! We usually take that for granted! We must do everything we can on order to conserve the life sustaining things that the natural world provides for us free of charge! And we should try to switch from the dirty fossil fuels; like coal gas and oil ; towards renewable forms of energy: wind, solar and geothermal! AT New York City

  101. What we receive from nature is a gift. Open your eyes. It is more important than the selfishness which destroys it.

  102. In light of cost:benefit analysis, how about “Ecosystem Benefits”. “Ecosystem Services” sounds like nature is in servitude to us as humans. However, in reality, nature is providing benefits to all living organisms, humans included. It also helps us discuss the issue in better economic terms, the costs of our actions versus the benefits received from natural (ie. undeveloped) areas.

  103. We don’t need to “brand” nature. Just continue to do the good work you’re doing at TNC.

  104. A gift from God, let’s not destroy this gift.

  105. “LIFE”

    Proof of God’s Existence. (I find it every time I stare in wonder at the intricate details of each living creature/plant around me and how this diversity of living things combines to achieve balance, harmony, and self-renewal.)

  106. Life.

  107. Earth’s Bounty Balance
    EBB and flow of nature

  108. Earth’s Balanced Bounty
    All the species of this world,
    whether mammal, fish or bird
    Are provided with their food, whatever their taste
    Each created for the other,
    When the offspring leaves the mother
    There is all the food that’s needed without waste.
    The ants will feed the lizard,
    and in turn, it feeds the Hawk
    The flies; they feed the spiders, then the frogs.
    The amphibian feeds the snake
    Which the Kookaburras and take
    And in time, they’ll all feed ants inside the logs.
    The logs from old flowering trees
    house and feed the birds and bees
    That fertilize the plants we use as foods.
    With rain and sun the crops will flourish
    And when harvested, can nourish
    All the peoples in the world, if we so choose
    Foods for all the nations
    are here in God’s Creations,
    Glorious is the spirit that’s big enough to care.
    Food goes where it’s needed
    And water, if not impeded
    Or if we keep it for ourselves
    when there’s enough for all to share.
    In this world of ours we’re brothers,
    sisters, fathers, mothers
    Caretakers of this earth and all that it contains
    All the air, waters, and the lands
    We must juggle all in our hands
    To keep our planet balanced and ensure its bounty is retained

    worddancer

  109. BLOOD……If we think of our own bodies, what is it that delivers oxygen and nutrients to us, removing carbon dioxide, that removes toxins, controls pH, that heals wounds, that we absolutely need to live, and that we can share with others if they need it? …….Blood. And these functions can all be seen as an abstraction of what ecosystem services do for our larger earth body – in sometimes directly the same ways.

    Maybe this would change our frame of perception of what the earth is…a larger body for us to exist in. So here are a few immediate suggestions to replace the term ecological services:
    communal blood
    living blood
    mother earths’ blood
    species blood
    survival blood
    sentience blood
    earth blood
    natural blood
    ecological blood
    the planet’s blood
    planetary blood
    lifeblood

    It may liken the earth to a living being in people’s minds, it gives us the connection that the earth can be wounded or hurt, and it gives us the idea that we can donate her our blood, by doing all we can for her.
    I think whatever the terms is, it needs to liken the earth to a living being. We need to understand the connection between the health of living species and ecosystems and out own health, in a visceral way (not a dry scientific way,)of which the most visceral I can think of is blood
    And, as a side note, climate change together with biodiversity loss, rainforest clearcutting, soil degradation, etc………why don’t we just call that gradual human extinction, or GHE?

  110. “Human ecological sustenance, wealth or biophilia” is what I would call three different benefits to humans; “human ecological life cycle” if it is in terms of humans only and the overall process, since ecology considers all organisms as fundamentally equal. This term also does not specify a scale, so it can be further discerned by watershed, region, state, country, etc. Ecosystems are inherently filled with a system of cycles – geological, hydrological, climatological, evolutionary, cultural, biological, chemical and even spiritual that dictate where life occurs, to what degree and with what features. Eh, just an idea.

    Other than that, I would say that humans derive two fundamental things from nature, which are 1) sustenance and 2) wealth, which is any benefit beyond sustenance.

  111. Of those listed, cannot say I am in on any of them. All of the comments attribute it to either an economical term, a random 7th grade lesson in biology, or God; none of which “thrill” me either. Although probably to “hippie” I would go with Gaia’s fruit.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

  112. Great gift to make our life full and happy!

  113. I would second the comment from Catherine … I like the idea of calling ecological services the something like a “World Bank”. I think that title will be a bit confusing, as there already is an organization called the World Bank. Maybe “Nature’s Bank”?

  114. Mother Earth is a gift and she should be treated with great respect and honored. What man has done, is the worst war we could have ever started. WE need to listen to the Elders of the true Native “American” Indians words spoken hundreds of years ago.
    If we all follow the Red Road, respect this planet of water, STOP Fossil Fuels and use solar and Wind, we could turn things around within an other 100 years.
    If only they had listened to us Vintage Hippies in the 60′s & 70′s, we would not be in this mess. The only good thing that came of those times was the littering stopped! Far cry from what we where trying to do in the great scheme of things! Now we are suffering, or rather Mother Earth is and she is rebelling…The Gulf diaster is her way of waking up the niave ones into getting off their duffs and start using alternate sources of Energy. The wind has been blowing this in our face for centuries!!!
    I’ll end this for now!!!
    Deer Seeker

  115. Planetary Life Support Systems

  116. Planet & Life Essential Systems

  117. Life!

  118. the means to be able to exist

  119. Flow.

  120. If we humans don’t take care of our Mother Earth, who will?

  121. How about “ecological capital resources?” Ecology is the branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environments. We, as humans, are organisms that have an interrelationship with our environment (the Earth) and its other inhabitants.

    Equity capital is defined as capital (stock or surplus earnings) that is free of debt; especially : capital received for an interest in ownership (of a business). As inhabitants of this planet, humans need to understand that they have an interest in the “ownership” (I use the term loosely) of their environment. The capital we receive from good stewardship of our environment is clean air, clean water, wholesome food, natural aesthetic beauty, ecological diversity, etc. Every negative impact we have on the planet decreases this capital and accumulates “debt” in the form of air and water pollution, climate change, loss of species, etc.

    This, in turn, negatively impacts our “capital stock” or natural resources, which are defined as the industrial materials and capacities (such as mineral deposits and waterpower) supplied by nature. This would include all the organic and inorganic diversity of nature which supplies us with energy, food, water, medicine, and the intangible aspects of our environment that make life pleasant.

    I think unless people start treating the things that Nature so graciously provides us as capital that should be preserved and conserved (kind of the way they look at economic capital now), then convincing them to change their habits is going to be difficult at best.

  122. Nature’s Bounty

  123. We should call it The Living Truth of Life

  124. A Blessing.

  125. Borrowing life…in other words, we are temporary, the world is not.
    “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it form our children.” – Native American Proverb.

  126. Nature is the lifeblood of our existance.

  127. The means for humanity to survive, so dont destroy it, 1/3rd gone without a care. what now?

  128. Inspiration.

  129. “Life itself”. With that it is enough to alert people such a string statement like that truly gets your brain going.

  130. we simply call it life. without it we will have no life.

  131. I assume that nature is an outstanding souvenir of the God for us to prove as a best gardener. So the stated duties and responsibilities are not easy to execute as we are told. Due to marginalization of environment and natural beauties, we are compelled to face natural disaster and global warming. Thus, we hereby appeal you all to play remarkable roles to preserve our precious natural heritages and make them alive forever.

  132. It all depends on who you are trying to reach, to communicate with. A six-year old will interpret whatever you (we) call “it” very differently than will my husband (a computer programmer) than will my staunch-Repbulican parents vs. my environmentally-focused friends and colleagues. What nature provides can’t be summed up in any one term primarily because words aren’t adequate to do so.

    However, if I were to make an attempt at using words to describe what we should call that which Natures provides…I would say “it” is a living life line.

  133. We are members of the natural community, but in our cars, grocery stores and houses, we forget that we need the rest of nature. Some people go about their lives thinking “nature” is out there some place, at a park or at the beach. Reminding people that they benefit from nature in their everyday lives might help people to appreciate what they receive. But maybe it is too inconvenient for some.
    I think we need to remind people that they are members of a community where what they take affects others. And a loss to others in the community is a loss for everyone.

    Perhaps “natural community.”

  134. Nature’s Gifts

  135. Lifeblood

  136. Earth-Human Symbiotic Register.

    This includes what we take and what we give back.

  137. Earth as a resource smacks of consumerism. We are consumers and consumed–circle of life. The two values that make the most sense to me are interdependence and interrelatedness. Thus the terms “gaia” and “life” seem most appropriate.

  138. Sacred, as in:

    “regarded with reverence”
    “secured against violation and infringement”
    “properly immune from violence and interference”

    Shouldn’t the trees that give us oxygen and the oceans that feed us be considered just as sacred and “secured against violation and infringement” as the Vatican or The Holy Mosque in Mecca? If these buildings are revered, protected and secured as sacred places, shouldn’t nature – the very thing that gives us life – also be considered sacred?

    And if it isn’t, wouldn’t the obvious conclusion be that it will eventually be destroyed? Isn’t our lack of reverence, protection and security for nature, the very thing that is causing it’s destruction?

  139. Sustenance systems for the body, mind and soul.

  140. I’m not sure the problem is with the message – ecosystem services, or the messengar – conservation scientists who have proven again and again that they are not good at communicating to the public.

  141. Life’s best gift: Nature.

  142. “the ecosystem functions as a life-support system for people living in the surrounding area”

  143. Eden

  144. I’ve always been a conservationist. I was the kid who would step around the ants on the sidewalk, who chased the kids out of my mulberry tree in my backyard because they were breaking the branches and threatening the robins nest near the top. I pick up all the trash and recycle it. The great system we see everywhere, oceans, rivers, streams , mountains, beaches, owls, eagles, horses, whales,creatures of every kind,,,everything that we see use touch ,feel and taste….gotta say it folks (sorry to the non-believers`)…..but that is God’s work…every little last amoeba,cell, proton, neutron…..it is all God’s creation.Nothing but an all powerful mysterious creator could produce and manage all that for all of us!Got to give thanks…I know that I do and always will!!

  145. LIFE. Let’s keep it simple – all that Nature provides should be called LIFE. If you want a longer term – then Life Support System. For without all that Nature provides we would be dead
    or robots maybe

  146. Wellth.

    Everything that supports wellness, and has value…
    comes from Nature.

  147. Is food not our most direct interaction with the Earth?
    Putting in your mouth something grown from the soil?
    FOOD; for Life
    FOOD; for the Spirit
    FOOD; for the Mind
    Beyond that… Breath, Water, Everything!
    That’s it…,
    “EVERYTHING!”

  148. Another vote for “providence” – which I thought of, then was pleased to see others suggest it first. The word has long use in this context, does engage believers concerned about the stewardship of creation, justice and care for the poor, and is an elegant word to say. It also translates reasonably well.

  149. Well nature provides us with all the essential elements that we are required to have in order to survive. I would like to think or put it in terms of a relationship, but the one that would best fit the bill is sadly parasitism. And I do not believe that would get too many people on the band wagon. So maybe something like “Nature Our Critical Care Unit” this is basically what it is, or something along those lines.

  150. I like “natural life-support” as it expresses what nature really does for us. Supports all life, including our own.

    Investing in nature truly is investing in ourselves.

    I work for a small non-profit in Philadelphia called the Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers. We work to restore the 2,000 acre forested area of Fairmount Park called the Wissahickon. This year we are having our first ever spring campaign to raise money for planting 1,000 trees! It’s just $10 to sponsor one tree.

    Please visit http://wissahickonrestorationvolunteers.org/join_us1/spring_tree_planting_campaign/
    to follow our campaign and keep America investing in conservation!

  151. i really like ecologic reciprocity as catherine mentioned above.

  152. I like Sweetwater Tom’s suggestion:
    Limited Planetary Ecosystem Resources
    I think it gets the fundamental points across; Limited being a big one.

  153. Uh… Mother Nature.

  154. Call What Nature provides us poor human beings, ‘our life’s blood’. Call it a blessing from Mother Earth. Call it the natural symbiotic dance of life. Above all, call it the natural cycle of life and death, birth and rebirth.

  155. Earth services
    planetary value
    wild benefits

  156. Nature is a gift.

    Nature is a part of all of us, and we are a part of it.

  157. It doesn’t matter ECOSYSTEM SERVICES is the concept that the academia and the scientific world choose. END.

  158. It is the “Circle of Life”

  159. Nature provides us with the the privilege to be able to exist when the odds against life in this universe are incredibly small.

  160. life Benefits = BIOFITS

  161. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

  162. Ecosystem Capital

  163. love.

  164. I call it “A Blessing”

  165. Nature at your service. protect it, i’ll extend life beyond 2012. ”Promote Environmental Protection”
    Be and environmentalist, it may save tomorrow.

  166. re Jackie’s comment; earth may not be too abundant soon!

    I think we need to further the ‘Laws of Nature’ idea. When laws are broken, the offenders are punished. Everyone understands that.
    We need to make it clear that these things belong to ‘someone’ but not anyone; not nations or corporations, not the first to locate it or patent it.
    So perhaps an extension of that idea, such as Nature’s Governance, or Gaia’s Governance, or perhaps Gaia’s Property or Gaia’s Treasures, to make it clear that it’s not there for those who would pilfer and profit (in the economic sense); and that those who do rape and pillage Gaia’s property, and those who are accomplices or accessories after the fact, will be tried in nature’s court.

    The consequences of such action will be great. Much of humanity is an accomplice or accessory in the crime against Gaia, all those people with consumptive lifestyles, all developed nations who consume more than their share of our planet.

    Many religions are based on this fear factor; be good or the wrath of god will descend on you. It could be the start of a new belief.

    In past cultures, volcanic eruptions etc were considered Gaia’s expression of wrath for a misdemeanor. Science has explained many natural events, but most of humanity isnt involved in science, and they rarely believe it because they dont understand it. Fear on the other hand is understood by all.

  167. “gift of nature” like Act of God.

    It would quickly become inconspicuous– in the right way– I mean the way “African-American” never did.

  168. Ecosystem services seems like a paid service! But maybe that’s what it should be… I also like Natural Capital. We have to preserve capital in order to be sustainable!

  169. Natural Balance
    or
    Edens Natural Balance System
    or
    Natural Balance System
    or
    Natural Balance System of Eden

    We never left Eden, we ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge and became dissatisfied with it.
    All things mentioned are Natural, even our enjoyment of them. The economic uses are a natural result of our needs. We have yet to achieve a balance with the Earth.
    In the Beginning the atmosphere could not support animal life. Entropy is the great ruler of everything. In order to break down what was most abundant it was “natural” for bacteria to grow to consume and use and break down what was there.
    Thus plant life developed to consume carbon monoxide and put out oxygen as waste. After more years than you can imagine passed we had a glut of oxygen thinning the atmosphere and causing the ice ages. This flux of plant vs planet went back and forth until animals became part of the balance.
    We consume and use, as is only Natural, but we need to achieve a balance with Earth. Or use what we have and grow beyond Earth. Even leaving Earth behind, do we want to leave our birth place a dead husk?? Sadly tho we are already not able to cope with our Earthly problems and they are rapidly worsening. I fear it is too late to invest what would be needed to get us free from the womb.

  170. How about biopretium? That is translated to “life” [Gr.] + “prize” [L].

  171. Dear Robert Lalasz:
    Nature’s benefits There is nothing as cool green science
    Leaf projects,pith and bark cool green science

    Linda

  172. Nature:
    My art studio has a website and an annual report, work-in-progress

  173. I think we need a phrase that encourages people to understand that we are part of Nature, not just that Nature gives us …..(all those things)
    hummm, “Life’s niche” “Life’s systems” “Life’s necessities” something along those lines.

  174. -The Life Force-
    We are all connected to the life force. It is the force of life that governs us.

  175. While some of the comments above are insprational, they may not serve the intended purpose: communicating all that nature provides to us in a concise fashion. Like someone above, I believe the prefix “eco” is polarizing. Likewise, because of the pro-life/pro-choice debate, use of the work “life” may be as well? While very corporate sounding, I like “Natural Capital” or “Natural Capital.” The word does not have a political connotation. Also, capital implies something that should be guarded and conserved because it can be used up. Thanks for asking!

  176. I truly beleive, Nature is omniscient, just as Frank Lloyd Wright did: quote; “I beleive in G-o-d, only I spell it N-a-t-u-r-e!”

  177. Nature is not a place to just go visit.or look at pictures etc.It is our home…It shares with us it’s Love…it loves us every second of every day by providing us it’s Miraculous and Magical flowers/trees/breath/ It provides True Love..and we Love it back…It helps us to grow spiritually…We are ONE with Nature..all species/co-species/all that Dwell on this beautiful Earth..in our Oceans/rivers/streams…Nature provides us with food/medicine/and all of our needs…
    LOVING NATURE…IT OPENS IT’S HEART UP TO US….

  178. Home.

    Earth is our home, the only one we have or are likely to have for the foreseeable future. Perhaps if we remind people of that, some will be less likely to trash it.

  179. Good. It is good. They are goods. Remove an “o” and you have god.

  180. life and inspiration

  181. Earth’s bounty

  182. Nature is our Source for all physical and spiritual nourishment. We are all a part of this great Being.

  183. First, what is our working definition of nature? Please, someone give me a definition i can actually believe in.

    Since humans are just as biologically natural as other species and we’re not the only species making objects, structures, organizations, societies or technology, what actual scientific basis are we using to separate humans and our stuff from everything else in the world?

    Isn’t ‘nature’ just an extension of an old social construct founded by Christian ideology that decided that humans have dominion over the Earth and are therefore separate entities?

    Isn’t this really about how well we maximize our ability to systematically support life conditions on this planet, rather than a contentious relationship between us and this supposed “nature” that always has us scrambling to justify saving it?

    As long we keep reinforcing this artificial separation and create a false sense of security that humans are independent from their environments, I dont think we’ll ever solve our conservation crisis.

  184. Earth Equities
    Yeah, it’s leaning on economic terminology but the reality is we don’t need to speak to the converted, many of whom have offered up mellifluous phrases as seen above.
    Find the terminology that corporate board members can say without snickering and you’re off on the right foot.
    Cheers,
    M

  185. In my opinion, the term “ecosystem services” does not evoke the intended meaning in conveying the value of natural systems, but rather implies provision of consulting services. In contrast, the term “natural infrastructure” implies a valuable natural system that could be harnessed, ignored or destroyed. Further, when one values a “service” one generally thinks and computes on a short term basis for cost accounting purposes, whereas when one values an infrastructure, one thinks and invests in the long term. The focus on long term value bears a closer relationship to both the factual value of the ecosystem, and the intended outcome of applying this concept to our collective decision making. I believe the emphasis on long term value would convince more companies to value natural systems in their decision making, regardless of the terminology they use.

  186. Ecological economists have observed that until the last century classical economists did not consider land and natural resources to be limited. They were thought to be essentially free and unlimited. However, the expansion of the human population and the development of industry and technology have enabled us to consume natural resources faster than they can be replenished. We now need to educate all people, including our economists and leaders, to recognize and value the goods and services that our environment provides to us. Beyond the spiritual and esthetic value of our natural world, we need to put a monetary value on the services and goods that nature provides, so that we can better judge the costs of depleting a natural resource or of regenerating an already depleted resource. Those costs should be factored in when determining the costs we pay for products and services we purchase.
    Since we are now impacting the whole global ecosystem with our consumption, perhaps a good phrase to use in talking about our natural resources would the value of the global ecosystem’s goods and services.

  187. I don’t think Nature is so good. I was stuck by the polio virus. Now I am disabled. I cannot walk. So I think that if Nature has suffered by the presence of man, this man must be eradicated from the Earth.

  188. I think the “Earth Life” is about as clear as it comes. Life involves exchanges between all organisms and the earth. We share this life with plants, birds, fish, animals, bacteria, fungi, etc. “Bio-Earth” might also be indicative of the life concept. When one organism becomes too populous others suffer.

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