Nature Comments (chapter 7-9)

The second half of the books is like a more detailed explanation of the first half book to me. Coates seems talked about more real issues than drawing from theories. In Chapter 6 where Coates mentioned that landscape was once a far more precise term: “For the medieval peasant, it meant a system of cultivated plots. In its original medieval sense, the related expression, ‘countryside’, was also primarily associated with the peasantry.” (p.111) This reminded me of one term I am recently learning in my Ecology and Human Future class – anthropogenic biome. Biome means a group of living organisms, usually defined by their living climate and vegetation cover. However, a anthropogenic biome is defined by human population, their density, as well as the land cover type: urban, agricultural crop cover, forest, etc. It seems interesting to me that the landscape, as well as the biological term biomes, are actually, partly defined by the influence of humans in particular.

Chapter 6 and 7 both talked about the history, eighteens century in particular, of nature. In these chapter, Coates claims that there is a definition change of nature – from a more problematic term to its opposite: peace, concord, toleration and progress in the affairs of men, and, in poetry and art, perspicuity, order, unity, and proportion (p.127). In the end of chapter 7, it discussed Darwin’s ideas about nature that flowed into ecological science. Coates claim that Darwinism closed the gap between nature and culture. People began seeing humanity from animals and claim it as part of nature. They use Darwinism to support that view, when Darwin was viewing it oppositely.

In Chapter 9 where Coates talked about the future of nature, Coates talked about that man-made structures, like buildings and bridges, can be accepted as part of nature. I think this point of view is very interesting. He claims that nature goes beyond what we imagine as nature. Many urban environments are been see as wildlife habitats. Man-made things, like buildings can become shelter to other organisms. However, despite these inputs to the idea of nature, Coates claim that “far more important than authenticity or some inscrutable essence of naturalness or wildness is nature’s well-being” (p.190). No matter how we think about nature, and how the definition is changing about nature, it is more crucial that we, as human beings, together with other living organisms, are making an effort to make the earth a better and healthier living environment that we could all last.

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