Peter Coates gives us a history of the view of nature by the western world, complete with its history. He blieves that the history of our perception of nature reflects human thoughts and he does an amazing job in justifying it. He denotes five categories of nature throughout history, physical place, the essence of nature, nature as a Phenomena, as inspiration or a guiding principle, and as the conceptual opposite of culture.
Although this book was very academic and very text book like I did enjoy pieces of it. I enjoyed learning about the history and how our view of nature has changed. I especially enjoyed learning about the Norman forest law for medieval times, when I took a medieval literature class the royal forest was made to seem like such a nature preserve that only the best game would inhabit and that only the best nobles could hunt within it. When the laws fell the forests were plundered, making me think of the unsoiled forest becoming more modern such as many forests today are.
Another part I found extremely interesting was at the start of chapter 4, when “mankind experieced a decisive alienation from nature between the Renaissance and the scientific revoltuion” p65. THe point made seemed to be that humans no longer found nature valuable if it was not valuable to them. This is like the approach we have taken today, nature is not valuable to us unless we charge for parks, harvest its resources or have some form of monetary gain from it. How many trees have fell within forests because it is over crowding, when it is likely there is a demand for the wood, and they find “crowded areas” removing larger trees, to give smaller trees “space”. On Page 69 many people within the Renaissance time period wanted to figure out how things worked and better them for humans, to make the world in which we live better in some way, but who can do it better than mother nature herself.
Unprecentdented ice loss in Russian Ice Cap,
This ice cap went from sliding 2 inches a day to more than 82 feet a day, which is very alarming, as it is in a higher lattitude. The ice cap is drastically thinning and moving at a higher rate than anything seen before, they believe this might indicate that the polar ice caps will soon follow the same trend. Instead of a slow response to the warming of the globe, the question now is, if they do how follow this trend how much will sea levels rise, and how much time is there to prepare and reduce the chances of this happening? The study brings the idea of rising sea levels much closer to home than previous studies.