Misty. Surely you're the one being metaphorical this time. I understand what you mean when you say that we as humans"use" nature, and its also fair to say that as the uber-predator we don't use nature very wisely. It strikes me as unwise because we are embedded within it and treating it as an inexhaustible resource can only bode ill for our own future well-being. The autopoietic nature of living systems means that they are self-regulating and where local environmental stresses occur various such self-regulating mechanisms can initiate to restore homeostasis, which is just a fancy word in biology for equilibrium. Once again being entirely anthropomorphic and metaphorical we could say that if we get too big for our boots then nature will find a way to put us back in our place.
There is ample evidence that this is already occurring. The incidence of auto-immune disorders in the human population has increased by 1000% in the past two generations. The immune system is the biological interface between us and our biosphere and when the biosphere is stressed the rate of evolution in the microbiome is accelerated. We are host to tens of thousands of different species of micro-organisms, most of which are crucial to our biochemistry. If we mess with their environment they will evolve strategies to deal with it and because they reproduce so quickly they can do so very rapidly. The so-called superbugs, or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, are an excellent example. Under certain conditions a bacterium can modify 30% of its genome in 24 hours, mostly through lateral gene transfer. This means that in the space of a day a bacterium can make a genetic change greater than if a human were to turn into a banana. ( This is literally true, not metaphorically true on this occasion. ). That's how quickly evolution can occur in the microbiological world and this can cause rapid and major changes in the host organism, including death of course. Under environmental stress microbe species will also change hosts from one species to another, a problem which in recent decades has caused untold problems for our own species. (HIV, Ebola, Bird flu, Swine flu, SARS etc.)
Nature doesn't need a purpose to effect all these changes because to assume this is to assume reverse causation. All she needs is simple thermodynamics. A system out of equilibrium seeks to restore itself to its lowest energy state, so in this sense nature is no different from a non-living physical system.
There's a lot of good literature available on this subject because evolutionary biology has come a long way in the last couple of decades. I'd be happy to provide you with a short list of very readable titles if you're interested.
Misty wrote:The nature of nature engages its purpose by all life.
This is an arresting quote and could just as easily be applied to my perspective as yours.