“Nature” Preface & chps. 1-5 -Brianna Graber

Book info:

Since I am the presenter this week, I thought I would start off with some discussions points I will bring up in class.

  • Recurring themes:

1.) Christianity and Theology

2.) Religions and other various cultures other than the typical everyday “American” scene

3.) Cosmos and Physics

4.) Various time periods in history

Some general topics I would like to discuss are:

1.) Symbolism in the book in relation to nature figures and culture and religion (especially Christianity)

2.) Whether or not we, as in the class, agree or disagree with some of his statements relating to nature or not. (pg 102, 76, 32, 23)

3.) Religion v. Nature

4.) pg. 72…. “What is nature?” What can we do with nature?” (These are arguably the most important two quotes from chapters 1-5 because they argue for the sake of the topic)

Overall, I feel as if this book does a great job of covering the historical aspect of nature. It shows how each period has affected and thought of nature, wildlife, humans, plants and animals. It doesn’t just show a random 5 chapters of different definitions of the word, but instead shows bit by bit, each historical time period and how they thought. It also gives good reference to involving religion, especially Christianity into the concept of nature and how it sometimes agrees and disagrees with concepts of science.

The book also involves politics with religion and history as well. It involves many ideologies within the ecological “science” world in comparison with Christian, Buddhist, Daoist, and Jain views. It also shows cultural appropriation when making these nature- like references. I appreciate Coates using and involving so many different views when talking about nature especially in todays world. Today there are so many disagreements on who is write, who is wrong, along with what is right and wrong as well and this book covers most bases.

It also covers many ecological views such as ecofeminist, ecologists, rights activists, philosophical ecology views, Conservative nationalist views, etc. This is important to cover many views within a single topic. The topic can vary (Animal rights, human rights, religion…).

Some broader points I would like to mention and/or pages I would like to point out are:

  • Nature v.s wilderness (wild)
  • Renaissance beliefs
  • Ecofeminism and other views that may conflict with today
  • Animal rights pg. 76
  • Animal symbolism pg. 61
  • All of the different religions
  • Native Americans were a big topic. Discuss how we feel on the accusations made and/or facts presented about them and their ways of living
  • Greek mythology in relation to nature
  • pg. 34 countryside symbolism
  • Do we think that some of the points made are a stretch? Why or why not? ( I think some of the supporting facts are a stretch but I think the main foundational points are accurate)
  • pg. 104 “Nature and nationalism” (Discuss as a whole section)
  • pg. 95- Asian cultures and religions playing a role in nature and their beliefs being nature related (Talk about how these are important then AND now)

I also feel like Coates did a good job of picking literature and references to go along with his supporting points. An example of this are the small blurbs of quoted texts he uses throughout the chapters to illustrate peoples thinking from the era he is discussing. This is a good way to drive the points home is making.

Coates does a good job of driving his points on nature, its various forms, era’s of peoples beliefs and how science has evolved. He uses very extensive details to drive his points home. I not only feel like I read a history book, but like I learned cultural definitions and examples of nature, wilderness, the wild, etc. This is a take home point for cultural geography because it shows how “nature” worked throughout geographical locations.

The title of the book, “Nature: Western Attitudes since Ancient Times” with the caption of ” An exhaustively detailed account of the ever-changing history of nature, mostly tied to the political goals of the times” is the most accurate caption possible. This is exactly what the book shows through greek mythology, the renaissance, early christianity, Native Americans, Asian cultures and Nationalist conservative America.

Project update:

In the last week, my project blew up (size wise…not in a bad way, its going well). It went from most likely having to write and SIP grant to get funding for the nets, to now writing a TPG. The cost of the nets are way more than expected and I will now have to choose a research idea to pursue as I work on the nets and installing them. Each net costs around $4,800 and we need two of them. The sales person at StormX requires pictures and measurements of the storm drains to go any further as I contacted him a few days ago.

I also plan on trying to work with several professors to work on the research aspect. This may involve Dr. Grunkemeyer from the chemistry department and Dr. Downing from the ecology department. I will be setting up a meeting with them shortly.

Working out a a budget, finalizing research questions, meeting with professors, and finally meeting with Janelle’s co-workers are my current top priorities.

Environmental news:

Parrot Virus

There is a new virus breaking out in parrots around the world! It is called the beak and feather disease and is located and spreading to eight different countries. It is causing concern for threatened species and is in need of awareness for the disease and infectiousness of it. The disease is linked with the international trade of parrots.

Mosquitoes and Malaria

Researchers found compounds that may stop malarian parasites from infecting mosquitoes. This may lead to the prevention of malaria as a whole. Preventing transmissions of the parasite is the key to preventing the disease because mosquitoes are the vector for malaria to humans.

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