Nature by Peter Coates Part 2


  • “The needs of working-class people for relief from the pressures of modern urban-industrial life were arguably even greater than those ofthe literati with their delicate sensibilities.  Their motives in seeking out wild nature may have been more prosaic but they were no less urgent.  The craving for camaraderie, clean air and exercise as an antidote to cramped and grimy existences and demeaning jobs…” pg 161
  • “…Nazi Germany led Europe in the creation of nature reserves and the implementation of progressive forestry sensitive to what we would now call biodiversity; for the sake of wildlife habitat…” pg 167
  • “We comfortably agree, believing that the emotions we feel – or are supposed to feel – in the presence of grand Nature are universal and have been shared by men at all times.  But high mountains were not a ‘feeling’ [to some]…. We assume that our feelings are the perennial ones of human beings.” pg 130
  • “The Romantic ideology f nature (specifically its value as a precursor of ideas of nature’s intrinsic value) is more ambiguous than is usually appreciated by today’s environmentalists.” pg 135
  • “Darwin collapsed the sacred divide between mankind and animals.  His evolutionary model did not insist that humans were directly descended from the apes.  Instead it stressed divergence from a common progenitor, a relationship conveyed by the idea of parallel but separate limbs of a tree, united by trunk and roots.” pg 140


  1. What implications does having multiple approaches on environmentalism have on our current practices?
  2. How does the dualism of nature and culture heighten a sense of nature’s otherness? How does this view impact our view of our actions and contributions to nature?
  3. “Since plastic trees are cheaper to make and easier to maintain, more durable, and can be made more readily available than the scarce trees and places we currently treasure, why can’t we be trained to enjoy these proxies as much as the real thing?  After all if a forged painting provides the same quality of aesthetic experience as the authentic article, ‘why should this bother us?'” pg 190

“They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum.  And charged the people a dollar and a half to see them.”

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