People are not subject to the world around them. They are free to make choices that order the steps of their lives. In some nations, people believe that nature affords them no recourse, but to be at its mercy. The belief that nature is more powerful than human beings prevents people from devising creative ideas to curtail the forces of nature. In the West, we harness the power of nature for our use, but in many parts of the East the powers of nature harness the people.
How Genesis makes the difference
It is actually the biblical view that God placed man on the earth to have dominion over the earth that makes the difference between the East and the West. However, if the ramifications of this doctrine are not taught, the benefits to life become lost. Animals are at the mercy of their environment. They are subject to dominion. In contrast, people can change their environment by their choices. No permission is needed to think differently. There may be opposition to practicing a new way of thinking, but progress seldom occurs without opposition. Those willing to move forward despite opposition often become those who lead the way for the more timid.
Ordering our steps
This idea extends beyond man's dominion over nature, but man's ability to order his own steps. Instead of life happening to us, we happen to life. Sure some things come our way that we cannot foresee or control and land squarely on our lap. But such things are few and far between in the big picture. We cannot live in such a way that everything becomes our responsibility or our baggage to maintain. Many things will vie to be our problems, but only a handful ought to become our own. If a person is making a series of bad choices, the problems will pile up, and these problems will be that person's responsibility to clean up. But many of us have problems clinging to us that are not our own. Some other helpless soul dumped their load upon our shoulders, and we thought it loving to carry it for them. Many times we feel we had no choice but to receive the load. We need to evaluate our choices and see what truly belongs to us, what truly is an act of love, and what is not our burden to bear.