The interaction of man and nature totals more than 3.5 million years. The starting point of the relationship between man and nature can be considered the beginning of the formation of human society. Over such a long time, the nature of the relationship between man and nature has changed greatly. At first, the natural factor played a decisive role in these relationships, and the dependence of the most ancient people on nature was greatest. The most ancient people (archanthropes) were essentially one of the biological components of natural ecosystems. But, gradually developing, using their mental and physical abilities and improving their material culture, the most ancient people more and more modified their surrounding nature. A new communication system has arisen between man and the environment through technical devices.
It was the growing role of hunting in the life of ancient people that weakened their dependence on nature, and opened up new opportunities for living in new conditions. As a result, the boundaries of their residence are gradually expanding. This event is one of the most important in the history of the interaction of man and nature: a person, as it were, leaves the usual purely biological niche.
Tools and artificially produced fire expanded the possibilities of using natural resources. The active use of tools has distinguished man from the rest of the biological world. In the future, this contributed to the formation of a primitive appropriating economy.
It is possible that more than a hundred millennia ago, man could have a noticeable effect on the flora and fauna. Neanderthal mainly affected the species composition and number of animals. He did not cause much transformation, but he had already appreciated the benefits of tools and labor skills. He was aware of his superiority over all other animals that he had successfully hunted, but he was hardly trying to comprehend natural phenomena and find explanations for them. He remained a natural part of the environment – both spiritually and materially.
The era of the Late Paleolithic dates back to the first evidence we know of the negative effects of man on nature, caused, according to modern terminology, by a predatory attitude to natural wealth. During the excavation, the remains of animals (bison, mammoths) killed in the hunt are found in such quantities that clearly exceed the needs of the tribe.
The transition of man from the appropriating to the producing economy. The Neanderthals were replaced by the Cro-Magnons in a historically short period of time. The appearance of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens) was a new milestone marking the onset of unusual rearrangements in the life of the biosphere. The interaction of material, spiritual and environmental factors led to a radical change in the exploitation of natural resources – the transition from the appropriating to the producing economy.
The prerequisites for this transition were: the development of technical devices, the existing system of knowledge and beliefs, including questions not only about the use of nature, but also about the state of its resources. With a high technical level, a variety of tools for hunting and gathering, a situation has been created that facilitates the transition to agriculture and cattle breeding.