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In Harmony with Nature
This, simply, is a character or a society who, either by training or by intuition, understands the resources and rhythms of nature exceptionally well, and lives accordingly. They may be able survive in, or travel through, an apparently forbidding wilderness with ease. If they're not an actual Nature Hero
, they'll probably be a virtually self-sufficient farmer or gardener, able to coax glorious harvests out of the ground
with a single trowel and love (and certainly never with pesticides) and will pontificate about the ancient wisdom of the soil
. At the very least, they'll be able to experience a simple jaunt through the countryside
on a deeper level to any more urban-minded people around them. They are, invariably, Nature Lovers
In more Anvilicious
works, this overlaps with Friend to All Living Things
. Usually, however, living In Harmony with Nature
requires you to kill the occasional creature, and even if you never take more than you need and have immense respect for the little critters you're roasting over the campfire, this does tends to deter them from gathering around you adoringly while you sing.
When confined to cities, characters who are In Harmony with Nature
will often become distressed
and wonder how the other characters can bear to live in such choking sterile surroundings. Characters Raised by Wolves
will almost inevitably be like this, as will the Magical Native American
and the Noble Savage
. Often a characteristic of a Mary Suetopia
See also Harmony Versus Discipline
, this trope being Harmony.
- Definitely the Wolfriders and Sun Folk in ElfQuest, but subverted by the Gliders, who've cut themselves off from nature. As for the Go-Backs, they're too busy fighting the trolls to care one way or another.
- Lord of the Rings. Partly by virtue of the quasi-medieval setting, many of the societies and individuals included are depicted In Harmony with Nature in one way or another:
- The hobbits, especially Sam, in that farmerly-wisdom, son-of-the-soil sort of way.
- Radagast the Brown fits this trope perfectly.
- The elves in the spiritual "The trees are talking to me" way.
- Aragorn in the "I can tell you the entire life story of who walked through that hedge and bent that twig" way.
- Given Tolkien's quasi-Biblical creation myth for the setting, a case can be made that "harmony with nature" directly correlates to "goodness" in it, period. So "good" people and races do live in accord with nature as Eru intended it (without actually going to tree-hugging extremes), morally more ambiguous ones allow themselves to grow out of touch, and "evil" ones just plain can't be bothered to care or actively want to despoil it.
- The elves in Inheritance Cycle are even more In Harmony with Nature than even Tolkien's elves, to the point that they are a bunch of pompous vegans who use magic to bend nature to their will.
- In How I Live Now, nine-year-old Piper is like this.
- Neville Longbottom, from Harry Potter, is an Herbology prodigy, eventually taking over the Professorship in that subject upon the retirement of Professor Sprout.
- This trope is parodied with various characters in Cold Comfort Farm, notably Elfine.
"She learns from the skies and the wild marsh-tiggets, not out o' books."
"How trying," observed Flora.
- In Adiamante, a science fiction novel by L. E. Modesitt, Jr., the future people of Earth are In Harmony with Nature because they have to be. The environmental damage of the past has so damaged the planet that even the most "minor" disruptions would have big consequences.
- In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Kazarites and Irriol are two races like this. The Kazarites have telepathic and empathic links with animals, and accordingly have a culture greatly concerned with preserving natural eco-systems. This empathy extends to animals beyond Kazar itself, allowing them to aid in the restoration of other, more damaged planets. In Star Trek: Mere Anarchy, their "ecopaths" play a role in the terraforming of central planet Mestiko, which has been heavily damaged by a pulsar. The Irriol are even more In Harmony with Nature, to the point where they are willing to sacrifice their lives to predators if they sense that the ecosphere is better served by their deaths.
- Parodied in Discworld; the wizards expected Mustrum Ridcully to be a "roams the forests with every beast his brother" type, who talked to birds, because he was a wizard who lived in the countryside. He turned out to be a Great White Hunter who shouted at birds ("Winged yer, yer bastard!"), but he's still more in harmony with nature than the other wizards, who never leave the city if they can avoid it.
- Magrat seems to expect witches to embody this trope, even though she's seen enough of them to know they're more farm-oriented than wilderness-oriented. Witches were generally depicted as more In Harmony with Nature than bookish wizards, at least until I Shall Wear Midnight pointed out that urban witches are entirely possible.
- Dickon in The Secret Garden astounds even his family with how happy he is on the moors and how well he gets along with animals. He teaches Mary, Colin, and even Ben Weatherstaff to do the same, though his knack is always the best.
- In Heidi, Alm-Uncle has many elements of this trope (with the comeuppance that he is not a people person.) Heidi manages to live in harmony with the goats and charm everyone around her. She also suffers in city environments.
- In The Blue Castle, Barney lives this way, and when Valancy comes along to live with him she takes to it like a fish to water.
- In fact, the vast majority of L. M. Montgomery heroines possess this trope. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne asserts that she could never be happy someplace that didn't have trees. Jane of Lantern Hill blossoms when she moves out to the countryside, is a great gardener, and even before then, had an affinity for the moon. Marigold (from Magic for Marigold) loves nothing better than to roam the hills and shore of Prince Edward Island.
- In Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling, Ivy Carson is a combination of this, Nature Lover and an Earthy Barefoot Character. In fact, she comes within a hair's breadth of being a Friend to All Living Things. This is why it's so jarring when we're told she ends up studying ballet in New York City.
- The Sevenwaters clan in The Sevenwaters Trilogy. They are also savage Warlike, and constantly feuding with, well, everyone.
- Grizzly Adams was like this.
- Cody Lundin of Dual Survival is another example, trying to live as close to nature as possible and having worn neither long pants, shoes, nor underwear in the last 20 years. However, he's no idiot (the man knows how to survive in potentially deadly situations) and is willing to compromise in some situations (he'll wear protective footwear in terrain that warrants it, like snowfields and sharp rocks).
- Druids in Dungeons & Dragons, their spells tend to be split between clerical 'holy' spells and spells that affect and draw on nature. Some can also can shape-shift to battle.
- Druids in general when they are portrayed in fiction. There's little evidence that the real world druids were actually living in any more harmony than the rest of the human race, since we know almost nothing about them.
- In the same game, rangers are also generally portrayed like this, but have more leeway. Barbarians and spirit shamans are also liable to be associated with this.
- World of Warcraft features druids, who are (as noted above) described as this. Night elf and Tauren druids especially.
- Subverted in Dragon Age: Origins, where an elven clan living in the woods is mistrustful of outsiders for all the usual elfy reasons. Then it turns out that they're actually in conflict with a local nature spirit who their Keeper invoked to put a curse on the humans who raped and murdered his children. Problem is, that was centuries ago - the curse has kept spirit and Keeper alive long past their time, and is now only hurting the killers' descendants (and causing problems for the elves too).
- The Cetra or Ancients as they are sometimes known in Final Fantasy VII are an entire race of people like this combining motifs from both Judaism and the Animist traditions.
- Kuraii, from a type of cat species in The Gungan Council, is as close to nature as most sentient beings could ever be.
- In the Camping Episode of The Simpsons, Marge and Lisa were separated from the rest of their family. With nothing, they managed to have a nice fire and a comfortable place to rest. Marge was even seen sweeping out the hut and arranging the living animals in a row. Homer and Bart, on the other hand, were not so lucky...
- The ponies, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, aren't so much in harmony with nature as crucial to its functioning. They clean up the winter snow, change the seasons and the weather, tend the 'wild' animals, and nurture the plants. The characters even speaks of the Everfree Forest as an unnatural place because the plants grow on their own and the animals take care of themselves, and the clouds move on their own.
- The fairies in Ferngully are like this, as guardians of a rainforest.
- The Wood Forgers seen in the ThunderCats (2011) episode "The Forest of Magi Oar" think they are this, being the Forest's self-proclaimed guardians. They're not. Their desire for power is harming the forest (through a paper mill), so much so that Viragor, the true guardian of the Forest, wants to evict them.
- Ray Mears.
- Ancient Hawaii. The people had sort of a shifting schedule of taboo that made sure that they never ran out of a resource.
- The Australian Aborigines. Even their religion was based on being in harmony with nature.
- Often assumed to be the case with native North American society, but not really. These guys lived in complicated societies with trade routes, urban centres, and, yes, deforestation. On the other hand, they did understand the North American environment far better than the white settlers did, but still. It turns out that Native people are human, and not, in fact, elves.
- In a subversion C. S. Lewis in Reflections on the Psalms claims that a purely aesthetic appreciation of nature does not come to most peoples until they are capable of making artificial environments(I.E. cities) and points out that in many works of ancient poetry when people say that nature is beautiful they mean it is useful. That is under this theory a hunter-gatherer would think an antelope beautiful because it is tasty but a leopard definitely ugly because it might think him tasty; but city folk think leopards beautiful because they live far away from leopards. Of course in that sense primeval man is In Harmony with Nature; because he is acting just like it.
- The ideal is Older Than Radio. In the eighteenth century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau spearheaded the back-to-nature fad, which was part of the overall Romanticism movement. Marie Antoinette was a big fan and had a hamlet built where she could fulfill her fantasy of living the "natural life". The simple folk were assumed to be pure and close to nature, so Marie Antoinette had an artificially idealized version of their lives created for herself, where she could dress up in peasant clothes and play shepherdess with her ladies-in-waiting. The starving actual peasants of France weren't amused and viewed it as a mockery of their plight.