Human Beings and the Balance of Nature
What we today call ecology describes the living conditions for animals and plants. Although the term ecology did not come into use until the 1860s, we can in fact discern the fundamental concepts of the economy of nature in what Linnaeus taught as a physician. We encounter this in two ways in Linnaeus. As a scientist, Linnaeus urges us not to disrupt the balance of nature. As a physician, he teaches us the importance of seeing human beings in their environment. We are affected by the climate we live in, our access to food, our protection against contagious organisms, etc. There is a mutual dependency among everything that is included in nature – there is a balance in the economy of nature (Oeconomia Naturae). There is also a regulatory system for how this equilibrium among the elements of nature is maintained (Politia Naturae). Humans are an integral part of nature.