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In Harmony with Nature

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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 Green Aesop 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 tend 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. See Transflormation for when a character is necessarily in harmony with nature because they're biologically part of it.


Compare and contrast with Nature Is Not Nice; being in harmony with Nature means knowing how to avoid predators or poisonous plants.


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     Comic Books 

  • 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.


  • This trope is almost the point of Disney's Pocahontas, although it's not really historically accurate (see below under Real Life) She can paint with the colors of the wind!
  • The Na'vi in Avatar live in the midst of a jungle, and actually communicate with other animals directly. Which makes it really easy to accomplish, compared to humans but humans are shown doing it too.
  • The fairies in FernGully: The Last Rainforest are like this, as guardians of a rainforest.
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: Done subtly-not-subtly with Howard. He's the only one who knows at all what he's doing out in the desert with his fellow prospectors, seems to have a better sense of human nature than them as well, is so spry that Dobbs complains he must be part mountain goat, and reveals that he considers the mountain a living place to be respected, when he insists on dismantling the played-out mine.
    Howard: We've wounded this mountain. It's our duty to close her wounds. It's the least we can do to show our gratitude for all the wealth she's given us. If you guys don't want to help me, I'll do it alone.
    Curtin: You talk about that mountain like it was a real woman.

  • Evolution: Subverted with early human hunter-gatherers, who believed they were living in harmony with nature by hunting animals lightly. In other words, they were driving their prey to extinction by killing the animals at a time when they were vulnerable, by selectively killing off the young, by disrupting habitats and by taking out key components of the food web.
  • The 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. This is also given as one of the reasons (the other being they spend their lives honing this inborn skill paired with, well, their smaller statures being of advantage) why hobbits are so quiet of feet and why they can hide themselves so easily that it seems like magic despite lacking the least ounce of magical talent.
    • The elves in the spiritual "the trees are talking to me" way. After Tolkien's depiction of elves as this, pretty much all elves in any fantasy work ever are like this.
    • 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", 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 almost universally vegetarian and use magic to bend nature to their will.
  • 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.
  • Discworld:
    • Parodied when the wizards expected Mustrum Ridcully to be a "roams the forests with every beast his brother" talking-to-birds type, 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.
  • In Cooking With Wild Game, the tribe of Forest's Edge is valued (not respected) by their urban overlords because they're the only people badass enough to live in the local Hungry Jungle, alongside the bloodthirsty kiba that would ravage farms if the tribe's hunters didn't keep their population in check. The tribe literally aren't allowed anything but what they can buy from the city or gather from a small section of the wilderness, yet they have survived and thrived, because, as mentioned: badass. Naturally, their belief system centers around thanking the forest for its blessings, and they are very very angry when it's confirmed that the Suun clan aren't doing their duty to the food chain or the farmers.


     Live-Action TV 

  • The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams: Grizzly Adams lives in the wild like a hunter-gatherer.
  • 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).


  • The Songs Of The Humpback Whale, which was the first album to feature nothing but sounds of whales singing. The sounds are wonderful, soft and peaceful, though sometimes they can be melancholic and haunting too. Either way, the listener will feel great admiration and wonder toward these animals in their natural environment. It inspired both the New Age movement and the "Save The Whales" campaign.

     Tabletop Games 

  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Druids. Their spells tend to be split between clerical 'holy' spells and spells that affect and draw on nature. Some can also shape-shift to battle.
    • Rangers are also generally portrayed like this but have more leeway. Barbarians and spirit shamans are also liable to be associated with this.
    • Fifth Edition's subclasses have added ways to turn less-nature classes into this:
      • The Nature domain for Clerics gives access to a number of Druid spells and a number of plant and animal manipulating abilities.
      • The Scout archetype for Rogues turns you into a hardened survivalist and guerilla fighter, similar to the Ranger.
    • In 5th edition, forest elves have a racial feat called "Mask of the Wild" that enables them to hide in natural areas with ease.
  • In In Nomine, this is especially common for angels of Flowers, whose gifts relate to plants, nature, joy, and peace. But even roses have thorns, and the Archangel of Flowers does have a few warrior Malakim for those times when trying kindness first simply does not work.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: This is one of the defining attributes of the Court of Clubs. Their ethos revolves around living in harmony both with each other and with their surroundings, and they have the vast majority of the Charms that interact with plants, animals, or spirits.

     Video Games 

  • World of Warcraft features druids, who are described as this. Night elf and Tauren druids especially.
  • Warcraft III's Night Elves are so in harmony their lumber gatherer doesn't even harm the trees (though it gathers it five units at a time, when the other factions get ten or twenty).
  • 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.
  • In Battleborn, this is the main deal with the Eldrid. They believe in the natural order of the universe and prefer harmonizing with the universal laws rather than altering them as seen with their abilities and technology. For this, they've been called space hippies by other factions. Although they may come off as such, that doesn't mean they're pacifists who'll just hug it out when pushed. They'll fight to preserve the natural order of the universe against those who would disrupt it.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, any civilization or creature with the [AT_PEACE_WITH_WILDLIFE] tag. Nature Is Not Nice, and most creatures, knowing this, consider wildlife hostile by default. With this tag, Nature makes an exception and is nice just to you, at least as long as you don't provoke it. Elves have it, of course, as do cats for some reason.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: The Tree Clan Prone are a downplayed example. They are big on being in tune with the cycle of life, hunting for their food, training wild animals, etc. but they don't disdain technology, nor do they look down on the more technologically advanced people they come into contact with. The closest any of them comes is one warrior stating a preference for bow and arrow over the advanced firearms and plasma weapons available, but conversations with other Prone indicate this is more just that one guy and not representative of their whole culture. Another Prone does admit some confusion and disgust upon hearing that the humans abandoned their natural bodies for robotic ones, saying that the Prone would never consider doing such a thing... but he also doesn't judge humanity for it, recognizing they only did so out of extreme need and knowing that humans are desperately trying to return to natural bodies.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, as seen in Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion and Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC, the Noble Savage Skaal people of the frozen, inhospitable island of Solstheim follow "The Path of the All-Maker." Whatever that is taken from the All-Maker must be repaid somehow. For example, their hunters only kill when absolutely necessary as part of the cycle of life, and never for sport. They only harvest firewood from fallen trees, never cutting down live trees for it.
  • Genshin Impact: Kazuha has a deep connection with nature, which gives him insight on the essence of things around him and has attuned his senses to extreme keenness. When the Traveler meets him for the first time, he immediately identifies traces of Anemo and Geo energy on their person, as well as the power of the stars.

     Web Original 

  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: The medicine man Pony Twofeathers has told Jason that one should never take too much from naturr, which is why he takes only five fish they have angled.
  • Kuraii, from a type of cat species in The Gungan Council, is as close to nature as most sentient beings could ever be.

     Western Animation 

  • In a 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 speak 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 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.

     Real Life 

  • Ray Mears, a British woodsman, teaches people how to live out this trope in the wild.
  • Subverted by the people of ancient Hawaii. The people had sort of a shifting schedule of taboo that made sure that they never ran out of a resource, and hence were often assumed to be like this by anthropologists and historians. In actuality, however, they ended up devastating the islands' ecology, resulting in the extinctions of over 50 species of birds, including the giant flightless ducks known as moa-nalos that were Hawaii's dominant herbivores. By the time European explorers reached Hawaii in the 1700s, they were already looking at a ruined ecosystem.
  • Often assumed to be the case with Native North, Central, and South Americans, but not really. They lived in complicated societies with trade routes and urban centers, and, yes, deforestation helped make them possible. On the other hand, they did understand the North American environment far better than the white invaders did, but only because they have lived there for thousands of years before any white people came. Fundamentally, Native people are human, and not, in fact, elves. Even so, their is some truth to the trope. The Native peoples of the Americas generally considered all animals, natural phenomena, and even the land itself (especially mountains and springs) to be living beings on par with humans, and treated them as such, with a mixture of awe (at their wealth and power), respect (as individuals with their own wants and needs), and frustration (when things didn't go as expected); they were seen as both gifts (as recompense for resources taken or favors to be asked) and threats, and obtained either through trickery or bargaining (when all else failed). In some cases, though, their beliefs were destructive, such as the idea that two deer would be born for each one killed. Some Native peoples significantly altered their environments, such as by periodically cutting and burning the forest, which cleared land for farming or to create new grazing grounds for the herds they hunted.
  • In a subversion, C. S. Lewis claims in Reflections on the Psalms 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 scary 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. Voltaire, an arch-rival of Rousseau's, disparaged him for this by saying he'd like people to walk again on all fours too.
  • While this was believed to be true for hunter-gatherers inherently, modern anthropologists in many cases have found they frequently face the same problems (albeit of course on a lesser scale) with destruction of their environment. The difference, however, is that they can't naturally affect this to the same degree. So, when destruction of a habitat occurs, the people responsible will suffer in the long run (e.g., starvation after they kill too many plants or animals), before bouncing back much later on. This is likely why many hunter-gatherer societies were heavily nomadic. Nearly all ancient megafauna since have been found to be wiped out by our ancestors (e.g. woolly mammoths) doing destructive (though practical in the short term) hunting practices like running them off cliffs.


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Steady as the Beating Drum

Seasons go and seasons come

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