Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times- Peter Coates

For this reading it was exactly how the professor told it was going to be, very lecturer style reading. At some parts of the book it was a little hard to understand and i had to go back and reread it. but for the most part it was an alright book to read and learn some things off it. Throughout the book he talks about how we as human are destroying nature, but also talks about how it all could be natural section. By saying that who knows what the world would be like without human “destroying” it. this could be natures course and animals and planets dying is there course of living

  • Coates dictates five historically important categories in the Western world’s understanding of nature. nature as a physical place; nature as the collective phenomena of the world or universe; nature as an essence, quality, and/or principle that informs the workings of the world or universe; nature as an inspiration and guide… and source of authority; and nature as the conceptual opposite of culture”
  • This book was more of a lecture and talked about nature way back in the Renaissances time and ancient grease. For me this was a little strange to look back at this time because i didn’t think there were huge problems with deforestation, but actually there were a ton in the early 1900’s.
  • Romans unwittingly committed mass suicide through lead poisoning. Lethal compounds leached out from lead water-pipes and tableware while the popular dish garum, a highly acidic fish sauce, corroded lead utensils. Lead was also an ingredient in medications and cosmetics, and was added to wine for colour and bouquet” (25).
  • Religion had a big part in nature as well. many religion think that some plants and animals were gods presents and was a sin to kill them or even flowers being ripped out of the ground. “Why kill gods creations if he put it on this planet for a reason”
  • in this book and other resources as well believe that western civilization were the reason why the environment were so bad. For instance, some economic historians contend that when any group gains access to levels of technology higher than those they have enjoyed, their environmental impact increases.  So not only do the Europeans themselves induce environmental issues, but the native peoples they expose their technologies to will contribute as well.
  • Chapter 5: “Apologists for Asian religious traditions (both Eastern and Western) seek blanket immunity by attributing all environmental damage in the region over the past 700 years to the corrupting influence of European imperialism and technology” (99).

Like I said before it was a hard reading, but did make me look at history of the environment a little different and the religion and time frame aspect of the book was very interesting. Also, how there could be many reasons why our environment and world are the way they are today.

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