Over the course of this class, we have discussed everything from the hippie movement to Mount Everest. I wanted to talk a little bit about my opinions throughout the course. While learning about so many people’s views on wilderness ethics, I decided to create my own.
First, the issue of preservation is important. We talked about Muir, Pinchot, and Nash’s opinions regarding preservation versus conservation. I can relate to Muir’s point of view more than Pinchot’s in their debate. Muir focused on environmental preservation rather than conservation. I believe wilderness should be protected and our natural resources should be saved for when we desperately need them. He said wilderness should be protected to enjoy it, not to use up its’ resources. This is Muir’s wilderness philosophy as well as mine.
Adding to Muir’s wilderness ethic, he wanted people to go to the wilderness to see it and protect it, however if too many people visit it will get to the point of being loved to death. He called this the “irony of victory”. This i think can be related to modern civilization. Today, people act as if they are saving the wilderness by making donations to conservation organizations, when they really don’t know where that money is going and they never actually go to the wilderness. Also, as I mentioned in my previous post, the government targets our most important values as humans; the love of nature, to sell products to people. There will be a photo of endangered tigers in Africa on a car advertisement billboard. This kind of thing is what I have realized is such a paradox in American culture. Muir got me thinking about this issue in the articles of his and Pinchot’s wilderness debate.
Another topic where my opinion has evolved is the ethics of Deep Ecology. Throughout the course, I noticed myself thinking in the way of Arnae Naess before learning about Deep Ecology. Putting nature before humans seems like a great way to keep wilderness valued and protected. “Think globally, act globally” was the basis for every opinion I had before this class. However, now I realize that Deep Ecology is too far- fetched of an idea right now. Deep ecology puts nature before everything human, and that just is not possible to do in today’s culture. After reading Guha’s input about deep ecology, it changed my opinion. He says that the aspects of deep ecology would be detrimental to the human race and is simply a trend of the conservation movement.
I think people want to think in the way of deep ecology, like I did, but what we really need to do is move in small steps toward conservation of the wilderness, starting with intrinsic views in life. There is value in every land on earth, not just National Parks.
We cannot just simply throw away our material things and values as humans to let wilderness be reborn. It just wouldn’t work that way.
So, what I think we need to work towards as humans is realizing what Cronon suggests in his writing- that we are a part of wilderness and we live in it. We need to appreciate the tree in our backyard as much as the canyons out west. We need to realize that we ARE nature. Living sustainably and with minimum material requirements is the best way to start on the road to complete wilderness conservation.
What I can take away from this course is the simple fact to keep on loving wilderness in your own way- but don’t get caught up in all this popular culture hype that only minimizes nature in the end. Remember that wilderness is something much bigger and wilder than we can ever be as a civilization, and we were put on this planet among this beauty for a reason. And that reason is to explore and respect where we live in every way.
This short clip with one of my favorites- Bill Nye, explains how exploring the earth benefits us a species in every aspect. The more we discover, the more humble we become. Also, he explains that exploring stimulates the economy, which is good for the material part of our human race.
I hope you enjoyed my posts throughout these 5 weeks! Thanks for reading, and go explore!!