Extreme Views of Nature

How we view nature determines our consumption and attitudes.  Man needs to change how he views nature or our blue paradise will boil.  The extremists of this spectrum are the hippy and the banker (although I do not find the hippy’s view extreme).

Hippy: Save the Whale!

The environmental movement, if you can bracket it so easily, takes a rather simplistic view of nature: something that needs protecting, something that is fragile.  The environmental movement bases its total ideology on this view of nature.  Man is decimating nature, whether he is melting the ice beneath the polar bear, slaughtering the whale or harvesting the elephant. Man is rarely given a human face by the environmental movement (except for hate figures such as the BP CEO Tony Hayward).

Global warming is the biggest threat to mankind, however the enemy is faceless.  We do not confront the enemy within but rather the tools of modernity: big cars, coal plants, or planes. The “ease” of transport, freedom, the warmth, light, or the ability to see cultures across the globe does not fit this image.  Maybe that is a part of the problem with environmentalism’s acceptability: it is portrayed as something separate from modernity.  This is mainly because hardcore environmentalism rejects modernity totally.

Banker: Whale Sushi?

Capitalists see no value in something unless it can be manufactured, packaged and sold with a healthy margin.  This view of nature sees nothing more than a resource for us to exploit, including the air we breath, the water we drink and the soil that nourishes us.  Capitalists justify their destruction through growth and work, something that the market system uses against us so that we accept this ideology.  The destruction’s real face is hidden through advertising, corporate responsibility and greenwash.

To stop capitalism liquidising and capitalising the forests, oceans and land we need to value them (and I mean with real dollars).  Of course the problem we face is that we cannot escape our own greed and want for more.  We need to develop this piece of land so that people remain in work and so we can get a “better” quality of life.  We therefore devalue nature to carry on the way we are.

Banker vs Hippy

The Hippy needs to make himself more appealing; he needs to sell his lifestyle and make it accessible.  At the same time we need to educate ourselves about the real face of the Banker’s greed.  Cronon, 1996 said that nature’s role is crucial to who we are:

“As we gaze into the mirror it [nature] holds up for us, we too easily imagine that what we behold is nature when in fact we see the reflection of our own unexamined longing and desires”

How is your reflection looking?

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