Environment and Society Part 1

So far I have found the first part of Environment and Society book offers many new insights into some of the leading topics we have discussed thus far relating to the environment. The book began by defining and meaning of nature—a common theme in almost every book we have read so far in the semester (The Meadowland, Nature, Desert Solitaire). It argued that nothing is really untouched and pristine; the nature we see around us is all constructed and has been changed by humans. The concept of wilderness as untouched by humans is a solely western social concept; most other cultures do not even have a word for such a place because it does not exist. I found this rather surprising so i did some research and it appears that it is a western concept only

You Can’t Translate the Word “Wilderness”


But, what I think is the main focus of the first half of this book was that there is only a finite amount of resources on the earth, and with our rapidly growing population, resources are growing scarcer, which will eventually lead us to reach a limit of expansion. With our current exponential growth we cannot keep up with food production. The land has a certain carrying capacity, which is the amount of life that it can support. This theory is countered at the end of the chapter by the argument that population growth and even crisis’s are the root of human innovation and civilization. Food production increased when there was more of a demand for it so people had to come up with ways to produce more crops, this evolution of new agricultural methods is what allowed for the birth and spread of civilization.

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