Moral relations with nature, I contend, are connected with our duty before a social environment. Elsewhere I have defined duty as '‘what is recommended by moral or religious law, and what one has to do in order to be in agreement with one's conscience’ (Schreider 1994, p. 27). Our highest duty, I have argued, is social duty, or duty towards humankind as a whole; but this kind of duty, in fact all so-called ‘moral duty’, is not natural, or predetermined by our natural essence (Schreider 1994, p. 99; Schreider 1996). Now, our social duties, not any ‘natural duties’, have implications for our relations with the environment. This is so, significantly, because no natural reasons exist for there to be harmony between humanity and the environment. Indeed, if such natural processes did exist, why should we invoke the need of duty towards nature, because whatever we did, would not we be doing things naturally? To engage duty, in fact, already presupposes the absence of such natural relations, and turns the spotlight on acts of free will, or human decisions and responsibilities. Our experience of history and social relations is such that we humans are more than often found independent of, sometimes even going against, the perceived ‘natural stream of events’, by either creating or solving environmental problems. The claims of duty, then, have to be clarified on any environmental philosophy, because there is a common trap of letting nature dictate morality, a problem apparent in neo-Spencerian ethics (cf. Trompf 1990, pp. 17-20). As I have not long ago maintained (Schreider 1994, p. 107), duty is a basis for our rational actions, designs and relations, and duty, we would thus rightly expect, has moral foundations, even (more controversially) religious ones. Human responsibility for nature loses any sense unless we presuppose it to depend on free will. Otherwise we are left with a predetermined course of events, not duty, and I hold we would even deny self-existence, ascribing our actions not to ourselves but to some ‘objective reasons’ (Schreider 1996).