All posts by perrycy

Mother or Father Nature?

Throughout this reading, there were two main concepts which caught my attention. With regards to animal sciences, the choice of animal consumption and feminist approach to these ethical debates intrigued me.

 

It does indeed seem quite normal that animals are considered to be a large part of our food industry. It almost appears as a challenge against our entire culture to remove these animals from our consumption. This being said, the question of our relationship with animals is being brought up more often. People need to understand that our food is shaping our perception of nature as a whole. If we remove ourselves from animals which we consume, this furthers the concept that we are divided from nature. This connects to a previous topic on our discussion of humankind’s perspective of nature. It is important to understand that we aren’t a separate entity from nature. This is the only way that we can respect our environment. If humans understood their impact on ecosystems, perhaps they would treat it with more care. Animal consuming practiceshave become ingrained in our society, and it will take drastic measures to shift away from this. Will this have to be a political or legal transition? From our current position, it does appear that something will have to force the majority of the world to alter their consumption of animals.

The feminist bioethics portion of this excerpt was a new region of thought for me. I had previously never considered how different perspectives could be based on gender. It is apparent that in general, humans have been characterized as being masculine. From our terms “mankind” and reference to humans as “man”, it seems common. Ecofeminism is also an interesting concept. This portrays masculinity as the reason behind most problems. I don’t think we can blame all our environmental problems on masculinity, it is just a product of human nature. However, some aspects of masculinity like hunting in animal consumption might support this train of thought.

A Classic Joke: How many humans does it take to understand nature?

Humans have desperately desired to reign over nature since the beginning of time. For that matter, humans have sought control over their surroundings via numerous methods. I found it particularly interesting that there are so many formulated these on nature. Humans want to control it, yet they struggle to understand the entirety of nature. These theses appear as another means by which humans think they can control things, as they want to classify nature and put it in its place.  

The train of thought which follows with the desire for humans to be a small part of nature (instead of over-glorifying the human race) was seen in multiple theses. This seems to be quite prevalent in our society today, as humans begin to realize the consequences of their actions with regard to the environment.  

In particular, thesis 14 widened my perspective on understanding nature. This emphasized the difference between focusing on informational terms rather than energetic ones. It alluded to humans having excessive concern for informatics which is ruining our comprehension of energetics. Where nature falls into this thesis, I am not exactly sure. However, in this day and age, data and information rule human society. Nature is merely thought of in quantitative measure. For instance, humans care about the population of a species, the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere, the amount of untouched land, and the volume of resources left. I think that maybe this thesis wants humans to understand nature as a whole, and see our world in more than facts and data.  

On the other hand, thesis 16 argued that perception becomes action through obtaining information. This thesis appears to place an importance on processing information, and not just for humans. The excerpt provides an example of this process in a tree. I found this very interesting because usually, humans perceive themselves as the main or sole user of information, facts, and data. However, according to thesis 16, the crucial use of information is prevalent throughout nature.  

Whether these theses emphasize the relationship between cause and effect within information, the infiniteness of space and nature, or the transformation of energy, there will never be enough written theses to explain the different views on nature. One of my personal favorite theses explained that nature is the thing which places the everything we know in a common world. Nature cannot be explained, for it is such a broad aspect of existence. To every individual, it means something quite different, but that is what makes it so fascinating to ponder.

 

The Economy is on Fire! Stop, Drop, and Roll- Let’s Put it Out.

Gorz’s theory on degrowth and consumption reminded me of the throwaway culture presented in last week’s reading. This is a major concern as our capitalistic society rarely considers the idea of consuming less. The movements supported in the early 2000s, specifically in France were very fascinating to learn about because they exhibit the growth of an early idea. I wonder what particular combination of things lead France to be the center for this birth of political ecology and environmental justice. The term degrowth hasn’t typically been used by others who surround me. In fact, I believe this is the first time I have heard it. However, I do believe that it conveys an important point in environmental sustainability. For instance, there needs to be a larger emphasis on reducing one’s electricity use rather than solely trying to replace fossil fuels with other energy sources (solar, wind, etc.).

In today’s society, particularly America, we base our values of success, happiness, and worth in the form of materialistic goods. The bigger the house, the more successful… Right? This mindset has promoted the growth of our economy and helped us develop at a rapid rate. Degrowth directly contradicts with the motives of growing an economy. So, what would this look like if we suddenly got the majority of our world to embrace the ideals of degrowth? Degrowth criticises growth and capitalism. An economy thrives on consumption and a growing presence of services and companies. Is this simply an ingrained part of human nature? It is noted that negative GDP growth will be a likely outcome if degrowth occurs. Rather, I think that there needs to be a shift in the dispersion of wealth throughout various sectors of industry and geographic regions. This political ideology would shrink the “dirty industries or the financial sector” while promoting health, education, and sustainable practices.

 

The emphasis on critiquing the word “development” seems interesting as I have previously never considered it as a negative word. On the other hand, I would understand if they were concerned with words such as overdeveloped. At the same time, it makes sense as to refrain from confusing anyone attempting to follow the degrowth ideals.

The overarching limits of growth to the entirety of our society seem rooted in a desire for simpler living and happiness. One statement, “growth can never satisfy positional competition; it can only make it worse” struck me as being a cry for fairness and equality. Growth tends to lift someone or something up while leaving others behind. In many facets of life, too much of anything can create a negative impact. At this point in time, I think that degrowth might be human kinds only chance at saving our environment and socially changing to create more equal communities.

Got Writer’s Block? Use “Man vs. Nature”, it’s a Timeless Theme!

Lynn White Jr’s introduction of The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis swiftly expresses that the presence of humankind has produced dramatic effects on the globe’s environment.  In our hurry to develop our society through technological means (and otherwise), humans have altered ecosystems, damaged wildlife, and polluted the atmosphere. But why does it seem that a large majority of earth’s human inhabitants have failed to understand their daily impact on surrounding ecosystems? I appreciated the initial look into the medieval view of man and nature as it showed the transition of man becoming a separate entity from nature. This marks an important change in the thought that humans tend to see nature as something they can manipulate and have the right to use at the expense of their environment. The exploitative attitude which White discusses reminds me of present-day greed and ways in which corporate power abuses natural resources. It was interesting to see the effect of religion on people’s perspectives on their relationship with the environment. How drastically has this changed the course of human’s attitude towards nature? When reading this material, it dawned upon me that this dilemma has remained extremely prevalent throughout literature. This timeless theme of “Man vs. Nature” has appeared in many novels I’ve read since the beginning of high school (ie. Heart of Darkness, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The God of Small Things). Why does man assume that he is more powerful than nature? When the ideals of Saint Francis when he first preached about 800 years ago, his ideas for an alternative Christianity were revolutionary. Today, it seems that these ideas for equality of all creatures still hold to be revolutionary, but I hope that they become more centralized.

Pope Francis’ “environmental encyclical” illuminates the present conditions of a global attitude regarding the environment. Changes are rapidly occurring, and a sense of urgency to fix our environment has risen in various places. The topics of pollution, waste, and throwaway culture are extremely prevalent, but what can we do to stop it? What methods will be most effective, how much time do we have to reverse the damage we have already exerted on our ecosystems? When looking from a global perspective, our climate holds us together. It seems as though we are living in someone else’s sewer. If another person dumps hazards into the air, those surrounding that individual have no choice but to take in the toxins they didn’t release in the first place. Humans need to understand the scale of climate change as a problem, this is the first crucial step in making progress to fix our environment.