Reading Response: Environment and Society

This was pretty tough to read, just because of the style. It’s hard for me to read a textbook, especially in just two weeks. It also felt redundant at times; the authors redefined some terms every time they used them. However, it was interesting to tie elements of the text to other classes and to previous readings.

Comments on le text:

  • Definition of nature according to the text: “the natural world, everything that exists that is not a product of human activity; often put in quotes to designate that it is difficult if not impossible to divvy up the entire world into discrete natural and human components”
  • Definition of wilderness according to the text: “a natural parcel of land, more or less unaffected by human forces; increasingly, wilderness is viewed as a social construction”
  • Malthus seemed like a pretty grim guy. His theory is interesting, though, and it was eye-opening to read that the Earth could only sustain 2 billion people if everyone lived like we do in the US.

    Thomas Malthus, looking stern and forbidding. He's probably thinking about the human population's imminent demise.

    Thomas Malthus, looking stern and forbidding. He’s probably thinking about the human population’s imminent demise.

  • I’m finding a significant amount of correlation between this class and my SOAN 111 class, which is neat. We’ve talked about birth and death rates and the demographic transition model in that class.
  • Greenwashing is 100% a thing! I wrote about it in an earlier blog post, talking about how Aveeno has registered the tagline “ACTIVE NATURALS” to convince consumers to buy their products. Also, in grocery stores meats and produce are specifically packaged to tout their “natural” and “organic” qualities, even if the food wasn’t really produced in a more environmentally friendly way. This also ties back to what Jonathan Safran Foer was saying in his book Eating Animals, about how terms like “organic” and “natural” are used as buzzwords in consumerism.
  • The Prisoner’s Dilemma is an interesting situation. I’m wondering how much the rise of industrialism/digital economy contributes to selfish choices. I’m also wondering if an individual’s character or personality has an influence on the decisions as well (i.e. would more “nurturant responsible” types be more altruistic?).
  • As an atheist, I’m really not sure why people take the Bible so literally. I don’t see why the Dominion Thesis and the Stewardship ideology can’t both be applied; the way the text lists them, it seems like they are complete opposites that cannot be reconciled.
  • Reading about moral extensionism as an “ethical principle” was weird since, to me, it seems obvious that “humans should extend their sphere of moral concern beyond the human realm” (74). It was strange to read the idea as a novel thought, rather than as an ingrained principle.
  • Lawrence Summers is an idiot. Even if he was being sarcastic, he’s the World Bank Chief Economist and he should really be careful about being flippant with his words. Underpollution? Puh-lease.
  • I was a bit confused by the concept of eco-feminism, since I personally feel that capitalism, Westernization, and the rise of the industrial/digital economy is more to blame for the loss of natural environment; however, I hadn’t given much thought to the role of patriarchal society in the detriment of environment, so I can’t really say anything on the matter.
  • Page 129 mentions William Cronon’s “The Trouble with Wilderness”–we read that! What are the odds.
  • Institutional approaches to the carbon dioxide problem stress achieving international cooperation. The text claims that international cooperation was reached through the Kyoto Protocol, but also admits that it was a failure. So… is international cooperation actually feasible?
  • In terms of “Objects of Concern”, wolves and bottled water are both recent in the news:
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One Response to Reading Response: Environment and Society

  1. […] half) (pub. 9/29) – Week 7 (10/7): Eating Animals (pub. 10/4) – Week 10 (10/28): Environment & Society (pub. 10/27) – Week 11 (11/4): Placing Animals (parts 1 and 2) (pub. 11/2) – Week 13 […]

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