Nature-Part 1

One of the interesting points Coates makes in the first half of nature concerns how nature is viewed in different time periods by different cultures. Some viewed it from more of a spiritual viewpoint while others knew it could be and should be used by humans for the greater good. This clearly shows how depending on the location and time-period nature is viewed completely different. For example, in a developed country in the 21st century nature is often very likely viewed as an advertising tool. Nature can be used to sell anything from plastic water bottles, granola bars, and many other food products. Think about it, when was the last time you had were at the top of a mountain enjoying a nature valley granola bar? Probably not lately, but somehow the commercial shows us that buying an all natural granola bar will let us escape our hectic lives, explore a quite forest by yourself or with a significant other, and just “be.” Though it rarely actually happens, it makes the granola bar seem much more enticing than if it should a person eating a granola bar at their laptop, which is more probable for the average human being than actually going hiking.

This makes me wonder why when we see nature on TV or an ad it looks so enticing, but few actually have the motivation to go do. My guess would be the TV presents an automatic nature-fulfilled moment of eating your granola bar. Rather than getting in your car driving 30 minutes to a decent nature spot, walk around for an hour, then drive back. We are too busy for the real deal of being in nature, so we need that 60 second substitute in a product.

Just a guess though.

“We have not made the natural world but we have, in a sense, created nature” (pg 9)

I think this quote is important as we have talked about how we want things immediately and have no patience. For example, microwaving food or putting clothes in a dryer. Not only do we want things immediately, but we want things perfect for us. So we have GMO’s to make our fruits and vegetables just perfect for consumers to purchase. Chickens and eggs are bred to grow to the same size, so consumers don’t have to think about them as animals, but a food item to be purchased. We can clone animals, creates cultures of antibiotics, mutants, fungi, etc. We are so intellectually advanced that we can create nature; some may argue, a better nature. Do you eat bananas? What about corn? Have you ever been given penicillin? We need things that are technologically advanced to allow us to survive the way we have. However, this leaves the natural world that preceded our man-made nature at risk of being taken advantage of.

I was also extremely intrigued by the idea of ecofeminism. Though I’ve heard the term I guess I never really thought about what it truly meant. It contends that women and nature share a common stigmatization as an other (pg 75). Some men, especially some time back in history, men would claim that women are unequal to men. They provide a service to men, and should be exploited rather than treated with respect. This stigma is changing, which leads me to wonder if we will see a change in the way the environment is treated. With an increasing number of millennials becoming more environmentally aware will our view of the environment as a whole eventually change?

Growthism was another interesting concept Coates introduced. He believes that as we continue to industrialize the earth and turning it “from a living organism into a machine – simple, unfeeling, inert matter…” (pg 68). Growthism is this idea that development and growth (growth of population, buildings, businesses, etc) will make the society successful. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Especially, as our population reaches higher and higher. We will eventually reach our carrying capacity, which results in high mortality.

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-Shannon

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