This book explores man’s cultural and historical relations with the natural world. I especially liked the chapter on wolves because it is a good example of how humanity tends to view apex predators in general. It is not till recently (Aldo Leopold’s thinking like a mountain) that even biologists considered the ecological importance of predators. Religion also plays a big role in how people treat animals, including predators. There is a lot of folklore associated with wolves. Cats are subject to similar prejudices in this aspect.
I particularly enjoyed the chapters of the book that I found unexpected. There are many things in this book that I had at least heard for before. The prisoners dilemma, tragedy of the commons etc. I also foresaw learning about lawns, trees and waste, but French fries? It was a quirky chapter that made me think about something I had not considered before. Before reading this, I knew that we have waaayyy too much corn in our diet. I did not consider that potatoes were just as bad. The book states that more than half of the U.S.’ potatoes are exported for fries. That’s so stereotypical it made me cringe.
The lawn chapter had an affect on how I might manage my own home. In the future when I do have a lawn, I want to plant native plants and allow my grass to seed once a year. I liked how the book explained that lawns are a status symbol. It reflects back to owning land, equating power. Tenant farmers didn’t own the land that they tended. Having money to fund gardens shows status, and wealth for excess.
… Like this beautiful penguin topiary!!
This is a good example of how the environmental issues we face today are not just a population derived problem, but a societal one as well.
Overall I am a nature nerd and enjoy reading about this material. I liked learning about environmental perspectives that I have not thought of before. This is definitely a read that I will enjoy having on my shelf.