Nature Pt 2

February 28, 2018

Before reading Nature, I had not considered the different uses and perspectives of nature throughout history. In chapter 6, Coates discusses the European view of nature and landscape as a sort of “tamed” or “perfected nature.” Throughout the chapter, Coates highlights how problematic designating lands for specific uses can be, in the context of recreation, agriculture, and industry. This gets me back to thinking about land use and what is “best” for the specific ecosystem we are using, but I’m not sure how I, or we as humans, can really know what is “best.” At this point, we can’t undo what has been done, so where do we go from here? Do we even need to do anything? Do we close the land off, or do we let things keep happening as they will? I appreciated the presentation of various perspectives of different authors, philosophers, societies, and cultures and it was more of an informative read than anything else. I do have plenty of thoughts about this half of the reading, but I don’t feel too inclined to write them out here.

 

Cool Food Waste Law in France for Grocery Stores:

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/02/24/586579455/french-food-waste-law-changing-how-grocery-stores-approach-excess-food


Nature

February 28, 2018

I found that continuing to read Nature by Coates was pretty tough. He jumps around so many different ideas and there is so much content that it becomes a bit confusing to read. Nonetheless, there is plenty of food for thought within these chapters.

Coates talks about the word scenery, which was born in the theater. Some natural scenes are staged – allowing us to interact with them as we see fit. However, in these staged scenes, are we interacting with nature or someone’s interpretation of nature? This reminds me of Holden Arboretum. It is a large area with many nature trails and a lookout tower. However, there is a small area of the arboretum which is much more staged, with cut grass and modern garden which probably has an appeal to some, but to me did not feel natural at all. I feel that the staged area isn’t doesn’t offer the same kind of exploration as un-staged nature might.

A recurring idea in Nature is that people have the need to control and consume nature. This comes back as Coates quotes a man who thinks that nature is so low on in respect that with improvement, a natural area may become a place. I believe the idea of man needing to control everything does not only apply to nature, but many subjects as well. For example, our current government.

In chapter 7, there is an argument stating that modern environmentalism stems from the many poisons humans produce – pollutants, nuclear fallout, insecticides, plastics, etc. I feel this is probably true – the Cuyahoga River catching fire in the 1960’s were a big mark for change in America. The fire able to happen because of all the pollutants in the river. Additionally, Coates talks about how modern environmental thought wants to dissociate with Romantic feelings from nature. Romantics felt that nature was essentially a religion. While I do not advocate for following nature as a religion, I actually believe that no respect for nature can form if there is no deep feeling for nature. So I may differ from modern environmental thought in this regard.

 

In Environmental news, Rome plans to ban all diesel cars by 2024 to combat air pollution . I think this is a really big step for Italy, and the announcement comes shortly after Germany announced a similar plan. Two-thirds of cars sold in Italy are fueled by diesel, so the ban will likely have major effects.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/rome-diesel-car-ban-2024-air-pollution-city-centre-a8232361.html


Week 7- Blog Post

February 28, 2018

Nature (ch. 6-9). In the beginning of Chapter 6 Coates begins by discussing how the new geographers seek to reveal the definition and use of the word nature. He also writes about one of my personal favorite regions, the American West. One of my favorite quotes from this chapter is, “A Yosemite Indian revisiting Yosemite valley was unimpressed by subsequent changes in the land. Management (or lack of it) for the sake of wilderness values had fostered a landscape she thought untidy and overgrown” (pg. 112). In chapter 7, he starts off by saying “Modern environmentalism has been condition by a range of dangers towards land, air, seas and inland water that are largely unique to the period since the Second World War” (pg. 125). He then lists pollutants that have been started to be detected, particularly nuclear fall-out, insecticides, inorganic fertilizers, plastics and chemical detergents. A next major section of this chapter is called Darwinism, ecology and nature. One of my favorite things he wrote in this chapter is “Open a British book written out after 1859 containing ‘Man’ and ‘Nature’ in its title – of which there were many- and you will find no discussion of human impact on the environment” (pg. 140). To be honest I really didn’t understand a lot of the points in chapter 8. In chapter 9 he discusses the future of nature. He starts off by describing how in 1989 there was a US state department official who provocative article called “The end of History?” In another part of this chapter he discussed how research on animal behavior that particularly questions the divide between nature and culture by suggesting common bonds between animals and people marks the end of nature. This was an interesting point. Overall I found this book to be quite dull, but informative, which is exactly what you said.

In environmental news heres an article:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/02/epa-plan-reorganize-environmental-science-center-raises-questions

 

 


Nature

February 28, 2018

During my reading this week these 10 questions I came up with really made me think.

  • How do you feel about Coates using a lot of other author’s opinions and beliefs rather than his own?
  • Ronald Hepburn stated on page 110 that he believes “We perceive and evaluate natural objects and objects of art differently” do you agree or disagree with Hepburn’s saying here?
  • Coates depicts how Europeans controlled nature for skeptical purposes, during the eighteenth century.  Do you think that type of controlled nature is still relevant today?
  • Do you think it’s possible to be without human influence when looking at the meaning of nature?
  • Later in chapter 6 the book talks about Ha-Ha fences. Their purpose was to prevent access to a garden, for example by livestock, without blocking the views. What’s your thoughts on the name and purpose of these fences?
  • What do you think when you hear the quote “the idea of nature as a liberating principle and the association of the right the good and the immutable”?
  • “If nature is good, then human nature must also be good” was a hot topic and often debated by 18th century ethicists. Do you agree or disagree with this saying and why?
  • A corrupt culture and innocent nature, approached history as a foul deviation from nature’s original plan for liberty and equality. Do you find this line to be true?
  • Coates brings up the idea that that mountains and wilderness were not always considered beautiful or of spiritual value. Can you see why people would have thought this and why?
  • What’s your overall opinion on Darwinism?

 

 

Overall I would have like to see Coates use more of his words rather than quoting a lot of other art hours. In my opinion it kind of takes away the legitimacy of his work. However Coates presented the conclusion and debates of many different topics in the closing chapters of his book ranging from the meaning of landscape, the romanticism impact on nature and how we as humans view it.

Learning how so much of nature isn’t yet conquered was very interesting to me, I love how the book explained how nature “fights back”. All in all I love seeing perspectives from others point of view, it forces you to see the how someone else perceives it rather just yourself.


On “Nature” and Environmental Topics

February 28, 2018

Nature:

I was entranced on pages 173-179. Within this set of pages Coates introduces philosophical perspectives and historical examples of the decay and utter end of nature. His primary source for this ‘disaster scenario ‘ mindset in which the human population explodes, worldly resources become exhausted due to overconsumption, and our environmental landscapes are made wastelands due to nuclear holocaust, arises from Bill McKibben’s Death of the World and Death of Nature. McKibben argues a distinction between more natural consumption (i.e. logging, hunting, etc.) and industry (i.e. chemical production, oil drilling, etc.) claiming the former is more localized and therefore more easily repaired. I tend to agree with this ideology as nature does not produce such things as plastic tuber ware or piping, but is able to give birth to wood which can be used to make our homes, bowls, and furniture.

A critique of McKibben claims he “craves the illusion of being in ‘another, separate, timeless, wildsphere'” where nature and wilderness are synonomous. Within this illusion exists a “deep contempt for” cultivated things. However, when this belief is embodied is man only permitted to exist naked, without tools or shelter?

This helped me to question whether nature and wilderness are truly synonomous, and if so, where man would find his place in the world. Contrary to McKibben comes the Christian ideal of stewardship, bestowed upon mankind when God commands Adam and Eve to care for His garden (earth) in Genesis 2. But what are the parameters of our responsibility? Are we able to cultivate and create? This is not clearly specified in the Hebrew text.

Coates then mentions Michael Pollan who suggests that we can in fact build a healthy and prosperous relationship with nature through the growing of flowers and foods, and the sculpting of natural materials without their exploitation. This is an idea that I have never thought to consider, and it deeply resonated within me. I am interested to explore these aspects contained by the human-nature relationship so as to form my belief.

 

Environmental News:

Really interesting article dispelling the myths of the Paris Accord and how to speak to individuals who are against it!

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-talk-paris-accord-skeptic

 


project proposal

February 28, 2018

Owu says it is all about sustainability. We have banners all over the campus that say sustainability. I attended a workshop from this speaker who works in United Nations when I was in NY and visiting UN building during Thanksgiving break for the international student trip. He talked about global warming and how consuming meat is one of the leading causes of global warming. What I plan to do is to actually visit our dining halls and see how much meat is consumed every day and then calculate how much OWU is contributing to global warming just by consumption of meat. I want to crunch the numbers and show the statistics and raise awareness across campus.

I could also come up with a plan to come up with ways where those of us (including myself) who consume meat can find ways to decrease the consumption by showing my research data. Like come up with a plan where our dining halls aren’t non-vegetarian stuff all 7 days a week and in a way lead by example. It is not to target anyone necessarily but to calculate how much we, here at Ohio Wesleyan are contributing to global warming. Livestock breeding is the source of 15-20% methane gas that is released all over the world contributing heavily to increasing temperature. As someone who is a meat lover himself, I want to challenge my own perspective and really want to do something about it, which is why I think this might be the first step for me to avoiding eating meat as much I like to eat.

 

 

  • Less Meat Initiatives at Ghent University: Assessing the Support among Students and How to Increase It
  • Global and regional health effects of future food production under climate change: a modelling study.

 

 

  • Communicating the climate impacts of meat consumption: The effect of values and message framing.
  • Measurement and communication of greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. food consumption via carbon calculators.
  • Fear of climate change consequences and predictors of intentions to alter meat consumption.
  • Meeting the demand: An estimation of potential future greenhouse gas emissions from meat production
  • Perceptions of behaviors that cause and mitigate global warming and intentions to perform these behaviors
  • The effect of using consumption taxes on foods to promote climate friendly diets – The case of Denmark.
  • Meat consumption reduction in Italian regions: Health co-benefits and decreases in GHG emissions.
  • The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets

 

 

Groeve, B. D., & Bleys, B. (2017). Less Meat Initiatives at Ghent University: Assessing the Support among Students and How to Increase It. Sustainability, 9(12), 1550. doi:10.3390/su9091550

 

Springmann, M., Mason-Dcroz, D., Robinson, S., Garnett, T., Godfray, H. C., Gollin, D., . . . Scarborough, P. (2016). Global and regional health effects of future food production under climate change: a modelling study. The Lancet, 387(10031), 1937-1946. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(15)01156-3

 

Graham, T., & Abrahamse, W. (2017). Communicating the climate impacts of meat consumption: The effect of values and message framing. Global Environmental Change, 44, 98-108. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.03.004

 

Kim, B., & Neff, R. (2009). Measurement and communication of greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. food consumption via carbon calculators. Ecological Economics, 69(1), 186-196. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2009.08.017

 

Hunter, E., & Röös, E. (2016). Fear of climate change consequences and predictors of intentions to alter meat consumption. Food Policy, 62, 151-160. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.06.004

 

Fiala, N. (2008). Meeting the demand: An estimation of potential future greenhouse gas emissions from meat production. Ecological Economics, 67(3), 412-419. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2007.12.021

 

Truelove, H. B., & Parks, C. (2012). Perceptions of behaviors that cause and mitigate global warming and intentions to perform these behaviors. Journal of Environmental Psychology,32(3), 246-259. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2012.04.002

 

Edjabou, L. D., & Smed, S. (2013). The effect of using consumption taxes on foods to promote climate friendly diets – The case of Denmark. Food Policy, 39, 84-96. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2012.12.004

 

Farchi, S., Sario, M. D., Lapucci, E., Davoli, M., & Michelozzi, P. (2017). Meat consumption reduction in Italian regions: Health co-benefits and decreases in GHG emissions. Plos One,12(8). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0182960

 

Hedenus, F., Wirsenius, S., & Johansson, D. J. (2014). The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets. Climatic Change, 124(1-2), 79-91. doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1104-5

 


Blog post 2/28/18

February 28, 2018

The second half of Coates’ Nature delves more into what the future holds for the environment as opposed to the historical study of western culture’s views of nature in the first half of the book. Coates’ discusses how different scientific fields relate to the environment around us and how they will impact the future of it, noting the difficulties involved within these different fields. He also discusses preservation of both plants and animals and the history associated with these two aspects of nature.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ohio-river-flooding-deadly-storms-rain-extreme-weather-today-2018-02-26/

This article describes the recent flooding in my hometown of Louisville, ky, as well as other major cities along the Ohio river. The flooding comes in the wake of days of heavy rains, and a large portion of downtown Louisville is submerged. At its peak the Ohio was 8 feet above flood stage and at its highest point since 1997.