Nature Part II

 

This chapter further reveals, especially with the Yosemite example showing that when it was entered by Americans of European decent it had already been significantly altered by the Native Americans who lived there. It is undeniable that all of us, growing up in the United States, have an image in our minds of ‘Nature’. It is almost just as undeniable that on some level we separate that Nature from human beings. We have even done exercises in class showing this. In this view Nature is some kind of ‘thing’ or concept. Our studies, however, have challenged and presented the ideas that throughout all of human history the concept of Nature was something we have constructed to fit what we needed it to be. Our relationship with our environment has been one of never-ending change. A process of alteration both literally, figuratively, and spiritually that worked both ways. The more I study the relationship people have had with our environment the more I wonder if the word Nature is anything other than what we want it to be.

When examining the affects of Romanticism on the idea of Nature we are reminded just how human-centric can be, as romanticism itself was a response to the processes of industrialization and the growth of human cities that was occurring at the time.

If nothing else it is clear by the end of the book, it is that the split between nature and people, and nature and culture, is a powerful force in the way we think. Also, perhaps, it is one we cannot simply abandon, but being aware of the way in which we are viewing Nature and where those views have come from will inform how we act.

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