The word nature is polysemic (that is to say, it has many meanings): the composition and the material of a thing (what it is, its essence), the origin and the future of a thing, or all of the systems and natural phenomena.
In common sense, nature includes:
- the biophysical environment, the habitat and the so - called natural (terrestrial), aquatic or marine environments; preserved (with high naturalness) and degraded;
- wild landscapes, landscaped and altered landscapes;
- the "forces" principles and physical, geological, tectonic, meteorological, biological, the changes which constitute the universe and those that drive ecosystems and the biosphere on the Earth;
- environments (water, air, soil, sea, mineral world);
- the groups of species, the individuals and the worlds which shelter them: vegetal (forests...), animal, including the human species and the human environment and the other trophic levels including fungal, bacterial and microbial;
- certain episodic phenomena of nature (crises, cycles glaciations / global warming, geological cycles, silvigenetic cycle, fires of non-human origin, etc.).
Given the negative impact of human activities on the biophysical environment and the accelerated loss of naturalness and biodiversity over the last decades, the protection of nature and natural environments, the safeguarding of habitats and species, the implementation of Sustainable and reasonable development and environmental education have become demands for a large part of the citizens of most industrialized countries. The principles of environmental ethics, new laws and environmental protection charters are the basis for the development of a human cultural ideology in relation to the biosphere.