Reading Response: Coates II

March 4, 2009

Chapter 6:

  1. Coates points out that everything we see around us as a landscape has been someway or another changed or altered by humans.
  2. It was interesting how different people viewed nature with different perspectives, this point is also visible in todays society.
  3. The point Coates makes about how agricultural used to be viewed as close to nature is interesting when looking at todays views of how it’s bad for the environment.
  4. The comparison made between the english countryside and the american wilderness was fairly interesting.
  5. The whole evaluating of the difference of views between art and nature was an interesting view point.

Chapter 7:

  1. It was interesting how Coates pointed out that romantic poets and people of that era would look at mountains as taboo.
  2. Coates makes a point that environmentalism wasn’t popular until the period after WWII.
  3. The whole human nature vs. nature debate was interesting.
  4. Coates points out that our new views on pollutants come from us actually haveing worse and worse pollutants to the environment.
  5. Some believed that government replaced the nature that has been lost…

Chapter 8:

  1. Coates goes into the fact that Western influence has ruined man’s relationship with nature.
  2. The section on survival of the fittest and darwinism was a point iI thiought was well explained.
  3. Marx saw the most upsetting envoronmental issues as those regading urban poverty and pollution as the result of industrialism.
  4. We are beginning to run ourselves out of this world as Coates points out that rural slums are becoming unliveable due to pollutants.
  5. The thought that there may be medical benefits related to being outdoors is something i wouldn’t mind looking into.

Chapter 9:

  1. The whole section describing the engineering of plants and how it was ligitimezed by the government was quite interesting.
  2. The section on how man-made structures can be accepted by ‘nature’ is a very interesting point made by Coates. 
  3. Coates describes nature and wlderness as areas that have been unaffectd by man.
  4. I believe he says something about how nature will prevail… I think that humans will destroy nature before we’re done.
  5. The reluctance to admit that the climate change is the cause of the fall of nature is one that I respect as I too do not think that this is the causation of the problems we see.

Nature Tidbits

March 4, 2009

VI – Nature As Landscape

  • “The word landscape denotes places that are the combined product of human and geological forces as suggested by its frequent use as a synonym for nature, land, scenery and physical environment and even ecosystems.”
  • The latest generation of human geographers and the “new garden historians seek to reveal the victors and victims in the competition for control over the definition and use of nature.
  • Landscapes of leisure were no more innocent and no less enclosed than the landscapes of agricultural progress.
  • Eighteenth century English landowners did more to recreate the amsiecence of Virgilian pastoralism than erect the temples of flora.
  • “Agriculture was revered for its proximity to nature.”

VII – Reassessments of Nature: Romantic and Ecological

  • Ecological awareness in its present form, however, was shaped by a new order of pollutants, notably nuclear fallout insecticides, inorganic fertilizers, plastics and chemical detergents.
  • Theologians, jurists, economists and politicians have also appealed to nature as an antidote to the flux and imperfections of past and present.
  • Belief in nature a a blueprint for social rejuvenation reaches its zenith in the french and American physiocratic ideology of agrarian virtue.
  • The romantic ideology of nature is more ambiguous than is usually appreciated by today’s environmentalists.
  • Darwin: “Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy of the interposition of a deity.”

VIII – The Disunited Colours of Nature

  • Every culture projects its values onto nature and then holds them up as natures own authority.
  • Whatever else it rejected in capitalism, socialism shared its essential orientation towards nature.
  • Eco-socialists and green-anarchists contend that it is sociologically and historically facile to present vast and vague impersonal forces like industrialization , technology and human greed as the source of the problem without distinguishing between privileged and underprivileged people.
  • As slums, community health and hazardous working conditions are transformed into environmental issues, underprivileged people, rather than the natural world itself are being designated the primary victims of environmental abuse.
  • Nazi Germany led Europe in the creation of nature preserves and implementations of progressive forestry techniques.

IX The Future of Nature

  • As a thoughtful green what the greatest threat to nature is today and the answer might be ‘postmodernism’ rather than capitalism, human greed or ignorance.
  • For the postmodernist, the identification of an externally and reverence for nature as an unambiguous source of guidance are simply more universalizing metonaturatuves more out moded modernistic certainties, depending on a strict and fituous separation of culture and nature.
  • The new ecology ahas also generalized ideas of antidote to prophecies of doom.
  • “Natures power is too immense for total conquest”
  • All Classification he explained process by pairs of contrasts.

Nature Cont.

March 4, 2009

Chapter 6

– Ronald Hepburn, believes we perceive and evaluate natural objects and objects of art differently,

-The word landscape denotes places that are the combined product of human and bio-geological forces as suggested by its frequent rather indiscriminate use as a synonym for nature, land, scenery, the physical environment and ecosystems.

-For a medieval peasant, landscape meant a system of cultivated plots.

– The latest generation of human geographers and the new garden historians seek to reveal the victors and victims in the competition for control over the definition and the use of nature.

-The English iconographic counterpart to American wilderness is the countryside.

Chapter 7

-Modern environmentalism has been conditioned by the range of dangers to land,air,seas and inland waters that are largely unigue to the period since the second world war.

– Romantic deal of resuming contact with a re-enchanted nature was central to the counter-cultural impulse of the 1960s.

-Nature,nonetheless,has meant far more over the last two and a half centuries than daffodils,waterfalls,food chains, and energy flows.

-The reason that, if nature is good , than human naturemust also be good was hotly debated by eighteenth-century ethcists.

-Hobbes, nature was a predicament to be redeemed through culture in the form of government.

Chapter 8

-Every culture projects its values onto nature and holds then up as nature’s own authority, deploying this apparently unimpeachable and independent source of authority to justify its vision of society and the world.

-From the invocation of an abstract nature we turn to the role of nature and the natural world within socialist thinking.

-The most pressing environmental problems that Marx and Engels witnessed were due urban poverty and industrial pollution that caused the destruction of wildlife habitats.

-The vast and vague impersonal forces such as industrialization, technology, and population growth are the source of problems in nature.

-Edward Carpenter insisted on the benfits to mental and physical health of camping out among wild life.

Chapter 9

-The grave announcement of Lake Erie’s death through eutrophication catalysed American public awareness of an ecological crisis in the 1960s.

– According to Lambert Daneau the world is in it’s crooked old age and is weak, sick, and wounded.

-Decoupling the earth fromt he idea of human corruption, Bacon insisted on a world external to man that offered unlimited scope for human achievement.

– By nature and wilderness, means something unaffected by humans and their history.

-Climate change as tyhe alleged cause of nature’s death has been rivalled in the popular mind over recent years.

Lawmakers aiming to blur online satellite images

March 4, 2009

I found this article to be extremely interesting. The article talks about how California lawmakers are trying to get certain online mapping sites, such as microsoft live and google earth, to blur out some of the more detailed maps and 3d imagery. Their reasoning for this is that they claim terrorists could use these images to plan out and carry out their attacks. This all sprouted from the recent terrorist attacks in Israel and Mumbai, as the people who carried out these attacks had admitted to using these online mapping sites to carry out their attacks.

While the issue might seem controversial to most, and many may be outraged at this, I really feel as if people are drastically overreacting, especially when it comes to concerns about homeland security. Yes, these images are often very detailed. And yes, there are a plethora of different uses for these images for terrorists. However, all of the images and data that are used on these sites, are ALL available to the general public. Its not like any of this information is “classified.” Any person in America can go up to almost any public building and snap pictures from anywhere they want to. In addition, people can actually even easily acquire blueprints and layouts of certain buildings. Simply put, google earth and microsoft live are not using any information that would otherwise be restricted by the federal government. All of the information they use, is public information that anyone could acquire if they wanted to.


March 3, 2009

Chapter 6

1. “Landscape was once a far more precise term. For the medieval peasant, it meant a system of cultivated plots. In its original medieval sense, the related expression, countryside, was a primarily associated with peasantry…” pg 111

2. “landscapes of the American west were actually created by Euro-American incursions and reconceptualizations” pg 111

3. Moreover, enclosure’s role in shaping the essential features of the English country side after 1700 may have been overstated.”113

4. The house and garden are separated from the park by a transitional zone reflecting refined motions of order, was dubbed a ‘wilderness’.” 118,119

5. “The countryside came to look more like a formal garden; gardens themselves were looking more like the old rural landscape.” 120

Chapter 7

1. “The Romantic ideal of resuming contact with a re-enchanted nature was central to the counter-cultural impulse of the 1960’s.” 125

2. “It was not the ambiguity of ‘Nature which people felt most strongly; it was rather the clarity, the authority, and the universal acceptability of Nature and Nature’s laws.”127

3. “Today’s glass –domed observation cars provide maximum exposure to mountain glory for the nature pilgrim as trains cross the North American Rockies.” 130. I have one…a sunroof.

4. “The aesthetic mood that rebelled against the picturesque was that of the sublime.” 132

5. “The providential discovery of America and the desirability, indeed inevitability, of human evolution beyond primitive conditions.” 136\

Chapter 8

1. “Nature has a record of service as a justification for a social hierarchy, inequality of wealth and the pursuit of private poverty.” 146

2. “The question of who controls the means of production and industrial process is a subsidiary issue.” 153

3. “It is valuable to be reminded of the racial, social, and cultural specificity of our conceptions of nature and place.” 158

4. “Hitler gave Darre political authority so he could win rural and small town constituencies over to Nazism.” 167

5. “If humanity itself is the ultimate form of pollution, our extinction may be something for the rest of nature to celebrate.” 171

Chapter 9

1. “Earth as a mortal being well advanced in age and suffering from virtual exhaustion.” 175

2. “Natures independence is its meaning; without it there is nothing but us.” 176

3. “The death of nature is not to be confused with the end of life on earth or the disappearance of phenomena such as rain, wind and sun. 175

4. “B.F. Skinner trained pigeons to direct guided missiles to their targets during WWII.” 179

5. “It is useless to seek to strip the desert of its cinematic aspects in order to restore its original essence; those features re thoroughly superimposed upon it and will not go away.” 184

Nature Chapters 8 & 9

March 3, 2009

Chapter 8

Every culture projects its values onto nature and then holds them up as a natures own authority, deploying this apparently unimpeachable and independent source of authority to justify its vision of society and the world. How does ones value of a nature rule over another’s view of how it should be treated? Deforestation in Brazil

Competition drove the evolution of the higher life form, ensuring biological and social progress. Anglo-Saxon nations testified to the survival of the fittest as serving the race as a whole. Similar Hitler condemned pacifism as “contrary to nature”, environmental protection, going along with his belief in Darwinism.

John Stuart Mills feels like “The natural world was so flawed that no just and benevolent creature could have made it with the intention that humankind should follow it blindly.

Engels stresses capitalism’s sale of earth and the ill effects of the modes of production. Deforestation, overgrazing, and others all affect the world. He then goes on to warn us against forgetting our ties with nature and urges us to remember that our actions may rebound. “Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature. Has the continual emission of pollution into our environment been a large cause for some of our recent natural disasters? Katrina

Marx and Engel concluded that the most pressing environmental issues were associated with urban poverty and industrialization pollution. They felt it was important to not censure them to the destruction of wildlife habitats. Just because you are poor of have a important industry to society should you be illusive to these environmental issues? Power Plants

Chapter 9

Intellectuals at various times have viewed earth as a mortal being well advanced in age and suffering from virtual exhaustion. Is the earth really that close to resource depletion are there large nature resources we are over looking? Windmills

Bill McKibben fells that nature is so thoroughly domesticated and has modified natural processes that it is no longer possible to speak of nature as something existing separately. He talks of pollution that has created acid rain and how nature has become entirely of our own making. He talks of nature as no longer being different from anywhere else, or are there still very remote areas that have remained untouched? Australian outback

Walter Anderson talks about genetic engineering and how we have created methods of selective breeding to increase the quality of meats, higher yields of milk from cows, sheep with more wool. Is this good or a bad thing to be tampering with natural items? Pig Improvements

In 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a corporation to patent a genetically produced plant since it was production of humans rather than a part of nature. Larger portions

Mature leafy residential areas are highly desirable living areas for humans, squirrels, and foxes. While window ledges of skyscrapers and cooling towers of power plants resemble cliffs for the peregrine falcon. Can a man made item be just as good as a natural habitat? Falcon

Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times, Peater Coates… II

March 3, 2009

Chapter 6: Nature as Landscape

  1. “Ronald Hepburn, a specialist in the philosophy of aesthetics, believes we perceive and evaluate natural objects and objects of art differently. Aesthetic experience of nature, he argues, involves immersion rather than detachment. Whereas a piece of art is framed, nature is frameless and offers more scope for the individual imagination because it has not been deliberately created” (110).
  2. “Landscape… is ‘comprehensive and cultural… it encompasses everything to be seen in our ordinary surroundings… virtually all that can be seen has been created or altered by human intervention'” (111).
  3. “‘Landscape’ was once a far more precise term. For the medieval peasant, it meant a system of cultivated plots. In its original medieval sense, the related expression, ‘countryside’, was also primarily associated with the peasantry. Deriving from the French contra, meaning ‘opposite’ or ‘against’, it was attached to a tract of land stretching before the observer” (111).
  4. “A Yosemite Indian revisiting Yosemite Valley in 1929 … was unimpressed by subsequent changes in the land. Management (or the lack of it) for the sake of wilderness values had fostered a landscape she thought untidy and overgrown” (112).
  5. “Wilderness was the raw material out of which nature was fashioned – nature being the improved, privately owned landscape of farms, gardens and rural estates that occupied the middle ground between industrial urban society and untamed savagery” (123).

Chapter 7: Reassessments of Nature: Romantic and Ecological

  1. “The Romantic desire of communication with nature was based on arresting distinction between nature and culture. Distaste for city life had long been a pastoral convention, yet the Romantics chose wild nature not only over its tamer aspects but also above the finest charms and accomplishments of the human mind. The sound of the wind in the trees was sweeter to them than any symphony” (127).
  2. “But in pre-Romantic times, gentlefolk traversing the Pennines or the Alps drew the curtains across their carriage windows to protect themselves from offensive sights. For when they did not ignore mountains, poets and travelers disparaged them as boils, warts and blisters that disfigured the fair face of nature…” (130).
  3. “Burnet’s assumption that mountains were just a pile of post-diluvian junk, the product of human sin… Hakewill argued for mountains as an integral part of the original paradise…” (131).
  4. “The most striking passage in Origin of Species for today’s environmentalist has nothing to do with the principle of natural selection or the struggle for existence. It deals with the ecological community of clover, bees, mice and cats, foreshadowing the concept of the food chain” (139).
  5. “Haeckel used oekologie to characterize ‘the science of relations between organisms and their environment…” (142).

Chapter 8: The Disunited Colours of Nature

  1. “Though most recently invoked by socialbiologists, ‘nature’ has a record of service as a justification for social hierarchy, inequality of wealth and the pursuit of private property that extends at least as far back as Aristotle, who instructed that slaves were slaves ‘by nature'” (146).
  2. “The disturbing degree to which the relations of man and nature had been corrupted by Western civilization was suggested to Horkheimer by ‘the story of the boy who looked up at the sky and asked, “Daddy, what is the moon supposed to advertise?'” (153).moon
  3. “In view of a wholesale commitment to the overarching ‘super-ideology’ of industrialism and infinitely expanding production… he argues that the question of who controls the means of production and industrial process is a subsidiary issue: ‘a filthy smokestack is still a filthy smokestack whether it is owned by the state or by a private corporation'” (153).
  4. ” It is valuable to be reminded of the racial, social and cultural specificity of our conceptions of nature and place. For Afro-American slaves and peons incarcerated in rural plantations in the American South, it was the northern city that symbolized escape and revitalization” (158).
  5. “The SS adopted the oak leaf as its emblem, and Nazi Germany led Europe in the creation of nature reserves and the implementation of progressive forestry sensitive to what we would now call biodiversity…” (167).

Chapter 9: The Future of Nature

  1. “By contrast, the changes brought by the expanding hole in the ozone layer are global and irrevocable: ‘by changing the weather, we make every spot on the earth man-made and artificial” (176).
  2. “In 1980 the US Supreme Court supported the corporate interest, judging… that it was constitutional to patent genetically engineered plants because these were the products of human invention rather than of nature…” (179).
  3. “Woodcocks, for instance, set their own broken legs in mud casts and orioles tied complicated knots to prevent their suspended nests from falling. The attack on the nature-fakers anthropomorphic fables gave rise to fundamental questions… such as do animals learn? And, is so, from whom” (181)?
  4. “…some birds, if raised by foster parents of a different species, will sing the song of their adopted species instead of that of their own – and continue to do so after they hear the song of their own kind” (183).
  5. “Environmental historian David Worster agrees that nature’s powers are too immense for total conquest: ‘that is a victory we could never win. Or perhaps I should say that is a crime we are incapable of committing'” (188-189).