Nature Ch. 6-9

  • Term ‘landscape’ comes from a medieval conception of rural areas fading into distance. Then altered by aristocrats to associate it with luxury paintings and recreation, inspiring a greater cultural shift in the idea of nature–that beauty of a developed land is acceptable for its aesthetic appeal despite possible damage.
  • ‘landscape of exclusion’–reconstructions of landscapes termed “natural” led to the exclusion of native peoples from their original rural homeland; led settlers to believe they were the first to arrive. used in urbanization, colonization, & industrialization propaganda
    • “emphasis on the brutality of enclosure and clearance” as socio-economic controllers
    • Black Act of 1792 prevented non-whites from using the Deer parks as hunting grounds
    • 18th century trends in garden design recalibrated the public’s conception of nature from chaos to ordered perfect system
    • Dual cultural sense: Euro immigrants putting labor into nature in order to create property, whereas native americans seeing this as nature as hostage
  • Acid-rain is a product of glass, textile, and soap production
  • Cultural Primitivism idea that happiness is greatest nearest to nature, led to archetype of “the noble savage”
    • “Romantic ecology”
    • Seen today as backpacking trips, and appreciation for the spiritual and leveling qualities of nature, but no willingness to rid of Modern luxuries
    • nature as a conduit for human spirituality in transcendentalism
    • growing tenderness for animals, but concept that “some animals are more important than others remains”
  • Darwinism posed threat to man’s sense of self as developed beyond primitive behaviors of competition and sex, as well as Christian theology
    • Darwinism helped inspire animal and environmental rights
    • homosexuality in animals as example of distinction between culture and nature
  • Capitalism knowingly uses nature for short term pay off, despite long term damage
    • soil seen as eternal communal property
    • “ecology cannot put man first”
    • ‘first nature’–original nature
    • ‘second nature’–nature as altered by man
  • Environmentalism includes: preservation of endangered flora and fauna, protection of landscapes, animal rights, in addition to the reversal of pollution and overuse
  • New age environmentalism considers urban environments as nature too. Increased awareness of every single way we interact with nature in daily life. This will help to include those living in poverty, as this approach addresses the environmental abuses & conditions which perpetuate poverty
  • Black experience in America; urban environments as places of refuge. Natural landscapes can culturally represent forced labor and captivity
  • “Eco-socialist dystopia”, green movement as inaccessible, historically aligned with left
    • Danger lies in the ignorance of a nostalgic ideology that believes we can return to the idyllic past in order solve issues of the present and future
  • Postmodernism as the culprit for mankind’s disassociation from nature; diminishing it to a thing of media and literature; it no longer commands our wonder
    • How do represent nature if it has no voice? What is its true identity?
    • ‘New ecology’ demands that we must think of a number of solutions at once inspired by chaos theory–acceptance that nature is chaotic and not one note will be the first step to the ‘renewal of nature’
    • We need to abandon our fixation on the “authentic wild”
    • nature cannot give us direction or solve our problems
    • we must urge to surpass the opposition of culture and nature, they must be united in a modern sense, merge to a grey area.
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