Nature – pt. 2
This chapter basically just went over the phenomena of the landscaping, and the it’s effects on perceiving nature. This is mainly dealing with the wealthy, those who can afford to shove their idea of what nature is, or should be, in their backyard. I’ll be honest, I did not think that the art and aestheticism played such a role in gardens. From people like Newton and Bacon, who have a very manicured, pristine sense of what a garden should be. A good quote I got from this chapter, regarding Thomas Jefferson’s view of nature, “wild and unmodified environments did not constitute nature. Wilderness was the raw material out of which nature is fashioned-,” which if you ask me just sounds dumb.
This chapter focuses on intellectual views on nature over time, specifically focusing on examples from Hobbes, Rousseau, and Darwin. With Hobbes, we are told that in the state of nature there is nothing but evil, debauchery, and a lack of nobility. Meanwhile, Rousseau reads this in conjunction with the number of “discoveries” by Europe of indigenous cultures, and thus the idea of the idea of the ‘noble savage’ is born. These ideas, specifically on the state of nature and the conflicting viewpoints that nature supports spirituality and a deep connection with the earth (Rousseau), and that being in nature supports savagery, and is a complete antithesis to progress and the intellectualism of humanity (Hobbes).
This chapter focuses on the political alignments alongside nature, and environmentalism. While many may think that being Eco-conscious is a very leftist point of view. But oh no! Coates lets us know that the right has some green in it. Citing examples of war-time Britain, and the arch-conservative female lobbyist groups that protected birds, because feathers were very ‘in’ at the time. They however employed sexist methods, “on both sides of the Atlantic worked to arouse a sense of shame among their fellow women by playing on their maternal instincts,” to draw support from other women. Additionally the mentioning of the green movement within the Nazi party was very interesting, just reiterating that even bigots/dumb asses/racists can find a way to justify care for the planet, due to their “racial superiority.”
Coates ends the book on a note of recent developments in nature thought.He covers a few topics, from bio engineering, to the research and knowledge gained from animals in the past 200 years, postmodernist thoughts of nature. I found his comments on postmodernist thought interesting, specifically for it’s points against environmentalists, and the reactions the us as a society have to natural tragedies. I can think of the Gulf oil spill more recently, but he details just the reaction our country had to the Exxon spill in Alaska in the 80’s. Boycotting Exxon, the poor animals affected being broadcast, and the books critiquing the incident while painting a picture of doom and gloom for the future, much like Bruckner’s arguments in Fanaticism of the Apocalypse.
concern about environmental damage mounted after days of pounding rain left two dozen hog farms seeping waste, 3.4 million dead chickens and turkeys, widespread mandates to boil drinking water, and workers trying to prevent coal ash waste from leaking out of a landfill.
With Hurricane Florence having excessive rainfall, many manure lagoons, coal ash pits, and wastewater has flooded many towns, leaving a black lagoon-esque view of the North Carolina coast. Essentially, these toxic fluids have infiltrated the drinking water, so government officials are advising that all water must be boiled after it is consumed. Farms have been affected, with over 3 million in loss of chickens and turkeys. Ash coal pits, and manure lagoons have been flooded, containing toxins and many minerals. The company responsible for them, had some pits that were unlined and open-air. The effects of natural disaster are awful, but for real just keeping pits of this literal shit is stupid.