Newswise — John Vucetich,  a population biologist and professor in Michigan Technological University's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, takes on a philosophical question with far-reaching implications for humanity and the natural world around us: Are humans and nature fundamentally one and the same? 

Writing on the Center for Humans & Nature website, Vucetch proposes that ecosystems—of which humans are a part—are organisms. "In that sense," he says, "we are one and the same. In fact, humans and nature are so intimately connected that acting as if we are separate and abusing nature is tantamount to abusing ourselves.

Yet today, few ecologists believe the natural world is so interconnected, Vucetich goes on to say. "Too often we are not good at telling the difference between abusive relationships and sustainable ones. Our future likely depends on embracing an entirely different view."

He cites the Ojibwe world view that man and wolf are siblings, suggesting that "treating animals and plants fairly and with concern for their interests and welfare does not mean that we cannot ever use plants and animals. It only means humans should not infringe on the wellbeing of nonhuman organisms any more than is necessary for a healthy, meaningful life."

To contact John Vucetich, email [email protected]

See the full essay at