Depends on your definition. 🙂 In honour of Earth Day (and my very own vocabulary month), I’m going to put my own spin on one of my husband’s favourite soapbox topics. That would be the “natural” debate. When I say debate, it’s mostly my husband debating with others. Not that I don’t agree with him, because I do, but I’m not sure the rest of the world is aware there’s a debate.
A lot of marketing touts “natural” as a benefit of… well… whatever product or process being sold. Dictionary.com has several definitions for natural but the one I’ve noticed most people seem to use is: “having undergone little or no processing and containing no chemical additives”. Somewhere along the line, natural became synonymous in people’s minds as “good” or “healthy”, and therefore, use of the word natural can sometimes hoodwink people into believing whatever product is actually good.
Now, I’m not necessarily saying an item billed as “natural” isn’t good, but natural things, even those with “little or no processing” or those “containing no chemical additives” aren’t always good – or, at least, good for humans. Hubby’s favourite example is snake venom. Quite natural, I assure you. Usually not good for us. Personally, I’m a fan of, oh, say, e. coli. Also natural. Generally, not good. I know, I know… there are exceptions to both these examples, but those exceptions usually involve “processing”.
Many people sneer at chemical additives (you know, it’s not “natural”). Well, I know I’m glad for fluoride in the water (yes, fluoride is a chemical: “a substance with a distinct molecular composition that is produced by or used in a chemical process”) because I have excellent teeth. I also approve of iodine in salt (OMG, they’re both chemicals… and actually, so is water…), because iodine deficiency can cause goiters and various mental challenges. Do I even need to go into things like antibiotics and vaccines? Civilization is based on creating unnatural things from the natural world around us. (Ooops, we might be slipping into another soapbox… I’ll leave civilization building & evolution for another time.)
I’m not trying to convince anyone that we shouldn’t be taking care of our planet, and I agree that humans have done some detrimental things to the planet in the name of convenience and progress. But, wholesale acceptance of something because it’s been labeled natural? Or immediate dismissal of something chemical? It might take a little digging, a little research to determine if whatever product or process is actually beneficial, or at least if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. When it comes to the word “natural”, it might be best to take it with a grain of salt. *wink*