Since the beginning, Man has always been respectful of nature. Everyone worshipped, or at least, respected Nature. No one cuts a tree without affording it the necessary respect. No one kills an animal simply for sport, and only for food.
Such a practice still exists to some form in the bushmen of the Kalahari in Africa, at the least. They don't kill an animal or hunt it the way most of us "modern" people do. They don't kill it outright; instead, they give it the dignity of dying by shooting a poison into its system that will let it breathe its last breaths. They even stalk it for days after shooting the deadly toxin into the animal. Finally, as the animal dies, the bushman apologizes to the animal and explains that it had to be killed to provide food for its family.
However, the rest of the world has forgotten the respect that Nature deserves. Science and even the rise of organized religions have started to label the practices of those that still give Mother Nature an inkling of honor and respect as "heretic," "primitive," "animalistic," "pagan" and even "activist". Christianity, in my point of view, plays a very big part in the degradation and abuse of Mother Nature and Science simply added salt to the injury. For centuries of "enlightened knowledge," Man has endlessly ravaged the Earth that gave him the food that he eats everyday.
Highly ironic, since the Bible specifically tells Man to be the "steward" of His Creation.
"Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the lifestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."" (Genesis 1:26, New International Version)
Instead, we are the destroyers of it.
I somehow think that this disregard for Mother Nature stems from a simple misunderstanding that I think were caused by the teachings of the Christian religion... or perhaps the way its people interpreted and spread the Word.
"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous god."
With the propagation of the Christian religion, Nature-oriented or, say, shamanic forms of worship have been literally stamped out of the Earth. The whole of Europe was converted and, with their migration to the New World and Asia, all non-Christian religions that were based on Nature were stamped out of existence. Here in the Philippines, they virtually destroyed the "pagan" practice of worshipping Bathala (the pre-Hispanic Filipino God that is literally Nature itself) because the Bible told them to. The religion is preserved in history and information only, showing that the Philippine Natives worshipped Nature the way the American Indians and the Bushmen did.
It's kind of ironic if you note that the early people noted in the Bible were Nature worshippers. The offering of meat and vegetables by Cain and Abel, respectively, are marks of Nature worship. They simply had a name for their God, but other forms of Nature worship have names too. These pantheons have since disappeared or disregarded with the rise of organized religion that worshipped a single God with a name, most especially Christianity who aggressively worked to spread itself throughout the centuries.
All because of, as I said, a misunderstanding of that line in Exodus Chapter 20. I’m not a very religious person though I was baptized a Catholic. However, I have recently become a sort of Deist/Agnostic because I disagree with most of the tenets of the Catholic Church. I’ve come to realize that Nature worship is not pagan or devil worship as the stigma made most people who never bothered to research think. Let’s put it this way, God is Nature itself, and Nature is God. Christianity would argue that Nature is not God for a variety of reasons, but that is all because of the misunderstanding of the verse in Exodus. This is also similar to how a religious order here in Cebu argued against me about the difference between meditation and their contemplative prayer, which are essentially just the same thing.
These days, there is really the need for all of us to open our eyes and learn to look beyond the grasp of organized religion and science. Today’s world is tumultous: calamities are abound, the globe is facing a debilitating financial crisis and Nature itself is on the brink of breaking. Remember that Nature itself feeds us from her bosom: we should learn to respect Nature and mend the damage that we have given this world before the natural order of things decide to take over and remove us from this world.