I found the 2nd half of the book more interesting than the first, especially due to the fact that he talked about Jefferson and Locke, and as a politics and government major I found it interesting. When he talked about ‘Jefferson’s taste in estate aesthetics’, I found that compelling to discuss. The fact Jefferson appreciated nature and beauty, in feeling that way he did so many things to assure his estate was top notch, having all his slaves keep the plantation in tip top shape. Not to hate on the guy, I am related to him, no joke he’s on my family tree, but he did go hard to make sure his land was kept pristine.
Monticello -aerial view depiction
Anyways I found a lot of things in the second half of the book more compelling to discuss and read. For instance, the reoccurring theme of our class, the constant disagreement and competition concerning the definition of nature and use of nature. “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.” P. 111, Coates
Coates speaks about the past and present use of nature and changes around the globe from England to California, as well as several others in his chapter Nature as Landscape.
He discusses how “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 middle ground between industrial urban society and untamed savagery.” P. 124, Coates
I feel what Coates is stepping in there, and the fact that many of us today treat nature and wilderness in that way exactly. Although, appreciation of nature and wilderness still exists, we turn it into farms, gardens and estates just as he says.
I found Coates’ discussion about Charles Darwin’s theory of Darwinism, ecology and nature very interesting. My favorite quote was, “Darwin’s agreement with Thomas Malthus, the eighteenth century population theorist, that life involved a ‘struggle for existence’ (a phrase he adopted from Malthus), seems a far cry from the Romantic view of nature as a harmonious community of life.” P. 139, Coates
A controversial discussion I read over several times and had to talk about was in regards to Coates’ chapter The Disunited Colours of Nature, in which he talked about the British ‘green’ tradition and nature as outdoor amenity. The fact that nature is considered an outdoor amenity to many people including myself, is definitely true and I understand completely. The last quote I will share in which I enjoyed very much was ” Green socialists aim to steal deep ecology’s thunder by showing how much current green thinking is prefigured in the history of socialism. True greens, in their view, are also red.” P. 155, Coates
Coates is a baller and I enjoyed his book more than any other author we have read so far. _Bouch