I've started reading Bill McKibben's classic The End of Nature, which was originally published in 1989. What does the "end of nature" mean? McKibben writes,
An idea, a relationship, can go extinct, just like an animal or a plant. The idea in this case is "nature," the separate and wild province, the world apart from man to which he adapted, under whose rules he was born and died. (p. 48)
My 8- and 9-year-old students are saddened and distressed by news of wildlife habitat loss and environmental degradation. I wonder what "nature" means to them.
Next on my reading list may be the recent book Coming of Age at the End of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet, edited by Susan A. Cohen and Julie Dunlap.