Surface    |    Backfill    |    About    |    Contact


Who Is Part of Nature?

It's interesting to note how the idea that humans are a part of nature is used by both sides of the environmental debate. A good example occurs in the comments to this David Roberts post debating a good Christina Larson article about the possibility for coalition between traditional environmentalists and the hunting and fishing crowd, which is increasingly concerned about environmental issues.

In the comments, bookerly gives the standard environmentalist view of the difference in worldview between the two groups:

Many (NOT ALL!) hunters still come from the view of nature as something they need to conquer and subdue (this includes those who want to kill all predators). They tend to see humans and nature as enemies, and we must triumph over and control nature.

The environmental movement (parts of it anyway) has begun to tend towards the view of humans as part of nature, seeing a need to live in harmoney with other species, and see ourselves as one part of the grand mosaic that is nature.

But I think hunters -- as well as political ecologists, particularly those of us who try to apply political ecology to the developed world -- would swap things around. We would say that it's hunters who generally see humans as part of nature. They accept that humans can impact nature, even to the point of killing and eating parts of it. They have a developed ethical system for how to manage those interactions, respecting nature without sanctifying it. On the other hand, the traditional environmentalist view is that humans and nature are vastly separated. Humans must keep their polluting hands to themselves, interacting with nature only in aesthetic-spiritual contemplation and experiencing it in ways that "leave no trace."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home