Week 6 – Coates’ Nature part 2 + Environmental News Item

Thoughts on Nature:

The rest of this book continued to bring up various good points about nature and the ways in which we communicate through nature. While the book overall has not been the most exciting and was oftentimes boring and slow, I still enjoyed Peter Coates’ point of view on the matter. I specifically liked chapters 6 and 9, with 6 discussing our views of nature as a landscape and a work of art and 9 bringing up issues with nature in the future. I think that both of these chapters were informative in the sense that we see what we want to see in nature and can discover the art found in nature in our own individual ways, and that in order to preserve this art we must look toward the future and consider the earth’s well-being.

Chapter 6 most definitely analyzed the historical context of nature and how much we have shaped its definition, as well as how we’ve changed the landscape. It discusses Native Americans being forced to leave their homes behind in order to preserve nature, along with the poetry of John Clare that shaped the way we view today’s radical environmentalism. The ever-present dichotomy between landscape of leisure and landscape of work was a heavily discussed topic of choice considering it is necessary to realize the drawbacks of having such a system. There is a passage from the book that connects to this topic and portrays the difference between work and play:

“But the new parks, besides being larger than their predecessors, were more than just hunting grounds. Grazing, hay-making and timber harvesting were increasingly prominent in functions by the seventeenth century, and deer were often killed for food rather than sport. … Whereas the designation of a Royal Forest in the Middle Ages grafted deer and deer hunting onto existing land uses such as grazing and tree-cutting, park creation – ever since the establishment of the first Norman hunting preserves – involved a mixture of physical displacement and annulment of users’ rights based on common law. … During one raid, they uprooted the boundary fence (pale) and recently planted walnut and apple trees. Not only villages but also productive farmland, roads and other public rights of way were obliterated.” (115)

Chapter 9 was a decent way to conclude the book. I appreciated the thought of treating the earth as a single organism in the hope to convince people that it is a living, functioning being that deserves to be taken care of and respected. It is important to assess the damages that have impacted the planet thus far, and Coates does a good job of addressing these issues.

Overall, I did not despise this book, but I did not particularly care for it either. It was extremely wordy and oftentimes difficult to read. However, I did appreciate Coates’ viewpoints and enjoyed reading a few of the chapters, but other chapters were extremely boring. All in all, not a bad read.


Environmental news item:

Cat-Born Parasite May Prompt People to Start Businesses

Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite that infects cats and rats, may subtly prompt people to start businesses. Research has shown that those infected with the parasite are more risk-prone, similar to rats that get infected with the parasite as well (rats will walk right up to the cat showing no fear due to the pathogen infecting their brains). If people with T. gondii are willing to take more risks, then this may extend to decisions about whether to start a company.

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