Cronon’s Wilderness

Wilderness in this reading is described as a natural beauty, a world full of untouched land and environment. It also shows the savage and evil nature of those who live in it. Environmentalism took hold when nature was shown for human benefit. The topic of man only wanted something if it is needed for survival, gain, or individual happiness. 

The woods full of dangerous animals, people, and natural disasters are now used for leisure and relaxation. A nice view as we hike or an escape from the modern life of speed and progress. The same speed and progress that continues to destroy and dismantle it. “If the core problem of wilderness is that… we must ask what it can tell us about our home (pg 17).” Making our home in the modern world takes away part of our wilderness home. The wood in your house had to come from somewhere. The landscape “compels our attention (pg 18),” and creates a picture of what the world used to be. Environmentalism could be used for capital gain. A show of how much we have grown as a society. From trees to skyscrapers. From lakes to pure water reserves. 

Cronon’s concept of savagery in nature by using such ancient tools as bows, knives, etc, instead of guns and missiles. The reading shows the dualism of how humans can turn something so beautiful into a tool for progress. People who live in nature are deemed uncivilized, but those who visit it for its beauty are seen as normal people of a society. Religious beliefs, culture, and tradition can support or demonize nature. While Eastern Native Americans believe in a Great Spirit that created a harmonious world with nature, Protestant people might demonize those who practice witchcraft in the woods. Traditions of these two groups can create a group that loves or hates nature. 

The main point I concluded was nature is used for human growth and the admiring of its land can be somewhat hypocritical. Culture and a variety of factors can determine how someone sees the wilderness. Preservation is needed for both sides who use or admire it in order to keep the beauty of nature alive.

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