As noted in my previous analysis, Coates presents to the reader, the environment in terms of its history and how it has been effected by in large through different time periods. Earlier he examined the Middle Ages, Ancient Greece and Rome etc. and demonstrated through examples how we as humans have affected our environmental landscape. In one view, Coates went as far as to suggest that had the Native Americans been equipped with more technology, rather than environmental stewards, they would have damaged their environment to a far greater extent.
In the chapters following, Coates specifically looks at more recent history, including our own. He discusses the effects of the Romanticism period and its beliefs of the pure and utopian ideology of nature. This notion of nature has been scrutinized or discussed in all the books we have read so far. The Romantics concept is a misconception that clearly requires a thorough going-over. Coates also examines nature’s influence in such practices as Darwinism, Nazism, and Communism. Darwinism used the ideology of nature to justify the general exploitation committed in the earlier centuries, such as exploration and conquering of new lands, and the spread of religion (146). Nazism used nature and its appreciation of animals and other fauna as a curtain over the real intentions of their destructive practice and ideals. It was used as a cover for the extreme accounts of hatred committed against the Jewish population. Nazism, at first glance, appears to have been one the contributing factors to Germany’s Green Movement. However, as Coates demonstrates through examples, that is not the case. Nazi practices were conducted following the guidelines of Kashrut law. The Nazi regime presented the Jewish practice of slaughtering animals while conscience, as an example of the supposed cruelty of the Jews (170). This is of course another example of a common theme throughout history, where the ideology of nature is taken advantage, to justify corrupt and cruel practices.
In Coates’ conclusion, he clarifies that there will be not one spot where a rock has not been overturned. The idea that there are no longer any “natural” areas left untouched by human influence. He does add that although man has been able to destroy nature and alter its original setup, it seems that nature has been able to survive the disasters we have created. I believe Coates tries to explain to the reader that we, humans, have still been unable to clearly define what nature is, how we handle it, exploit it, attempt to control it. Although, I found it difficult to not stray from the intentions of the book as a whole, I was able to appreciate his attempt at constructing a text that included a “timeline” of sorts, of environmental history and how we have used nature to justify the means at which we are striving for, whether it be, to discover new lands, or build an economically beneficial industry. He shed light on many examples we don’t necessarily like to dwell on or admit we were responsible for; so in that way he has own up to the acts we have committed throughout our long and continued history.