Improvisation is key. Birds do it to survive in human areas, and humans do it in music. Nightingales are one example: they are artists who create music that is heard during all parts of the day. They inspired poets earlier in history. There are numerous poems illustrating the power of the nightingales’ songs. The nightingales were viewed as poets themselves who are skilled using sound. Humans have even collaborated with nightingales. The trio album “And Vex the Nightingale”, is one example of this combination (Beginnings of Time). Lucie, the composer of the album, managed to synchronize with the nightentale. He left space for the bird, and worked at its pace. Nightingale music takes numerous hours, and has to be one long sequence. People can even determine the identity of a nightingale based on the amount of songs and how well they sing a song. This is noticed when the birds come back to trees they have inhabited after migrating.
Nightingales are even considered the bird of love. They are referenced in Romeo and Juliet, with importance given to the nightingale singing or not. Nightingales also are referenced in Greek mythology, meaning its history encompasses thousands of years. It is difficult to understand but music is hard to create. THe artists who make it have to constantly keep working. It can be repetitive. But it is interesting that animals as unique as whales can sing as well. Music seems like a way for multiple species to communicate if they cannot understand language. Nature may have caused animals to have the ability to make music for this reason in my opinion.
Nightingales will live through all. Even if the human race disappeared, nightingales would continue to spread music across the Earth. Everyone should have the pleasure to listen to nightingales music once.
When did the Anthropocene start? Well that’s a question many people are wondering. There are alot of requirements to fulfill. There needs to be big environmental changes at that instance in time. There might be a high amount of carbon, maybe a high amount of carbon decline, etc. There could be a huge growth in species diversity or loss as well.
We know that humans have had significant impacts on the environment for thousands of years. From the beginning of agriculture we started changing the environment, since we altered the land. Then we continued to progress, until a big moment: the combining of the west and east hemispheres in the 17th century. Cultures combined and many things were traded. There was good and bad. Bad being the death of millions of Native Americans due to disease spread by European colonizers, and good being the trade of goods between both regions. Carbon emissions actually decreased this period, which may indicate a relationship between humanity and emissions which is again an example of humanity impacting the environment. Then the Industrial Revolution occurred, and all the human impact became amplified. It culminated in the development of nuclear weapons, technology that could potentially ravage the Earth. All of these events happened, but it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when humanity drove all the changes to Earth and its components.
I think elaborating on humanity’s negative influence on the world, specifically other humans is worth mentioning. Disease is the main way humans die, and it has been a huge part of human history. Smallpox and other diseases spread by Spanish conquistadors like Cortez, possibly killed millions of Aztec and Native American people. Sickness also spread before contact with the conquerors leading to the numerous civilizations becoming weaker. This weakness allowed the explorers to win more easily in the numerous conflicts.
Humans need to be careful since we have so much power over our surroundings and over ourselves.
People have varying degrees of understanding of what Nature is. Nature is everything, but what does it actually make it? Shaviro’s 22 Theses on Nature gives an attempt to answer that question.
Well, we know that humans and whatever they make are a part of nature(Shaviro). By that logic, nature is not of anthropogenic characteristics(Shaviro). Nature always changes and never stagnates. Evolution is always occurring. Nature’s extent is infinite. It is very hard to capture the scale of nature. Similar thinking leads to the conclusion that you cannot predict nature’s future. The things inside nature do not usually reach extreme points. Nature’s metastable, there are energy gradients activating constantly causing things to happen(Shaviro). Individuation disrupts metastability. Energy is one form of individuation. It is a common fact that energy is never created or destroyed. Energy just becomes used and lost, leading to entropy for example.
Information is another component of individuation. Information’s importance varies on the entity, and nature helps spread it all over. Perception is done by all living organisms to gain information. Even trees conduct it. Perception ultimately causes action. Sentience is not consciousness. Sentience just implies that an organism can do information processing. Consciousness actually invoices conscious thought processes. Information becomes processed even without perception. The example Shaviro cites is the virus that causes one to be sick, we only feel the symptoms in that case, not the virus.
In nature cause and effect is huge. There are uncountable causes that cause almost infinite effects. Even things that are not alive “feel” things in nature, Shaviro claims, like a rock falling off a cliff.
Nature is above all, yet not outside anything. We should continue to respect nature for the entity it is.
Society doesn’t usually collapse in one fell swoop. It takes the culmination of various actions for a society to vanish. Usually people make ignorant decisions which end up hurting themselves in the long run.
The Vikings in Greenland are an example of ignorant people who by their actions hurt themselves and ended up “vanishing”. They, as cited in the book review “The Vanishing” by Malcom Gladwell, did not properly adapt to their surroundings in Greenland. The Vikings did not follow procedures done by the Inuit who effectively adapted to the environment. The Inuit hunted seals for their blubber, which they used for various purposes. The Vikings did not have a good opinion of the Inuits and continued to apply their European practices like raising cattle and other things that were not appropriate such as cutting grass to make pastures. The Vikings strictly adhering to their culture caused them to go extinct, due to the fact they ran out of food in Greenland.
The inhabitants of Easter People were also ignorant, but in a different capacity. They did not care for their environment by cutting down trees and raising farmers and livestock on the areas that the trees are. Unfortunately, the environment of Easter Island was very susceptible to deforestation so they ended up “vanishing” as well. Even modern “vanishing” in Rwanda has also come down to environmental factors. Lots of environmental degradation has occurred there, which helped spark the conflict between the ethnic groups there.
It seems the common variable between multiple ethnic civilizations “vanishing” is the lack of concern for the effects of their actions on the environment. A lesson to take, is when developing a civilization you should always take note of possible environmental effects. People should not always completely follow their biases, and be open minded to the point to find the best solution for their culture and the environment.
There are two main schools of thought who have opinions on Geoengineering: the Gaians and Prometheans. The Gaians are anti geoengineering. They do not like when man acts upon nature. A common quote Gaians cite is “Mother Nature always strikes Last.” Nature and the environment are always right in the eyes of the Gaians. Gaians are against the utilization of SRM, mainly due to the fact they are completely against unintended consequences. They believe that humanity should alter the planet’s course, and nature should always be the deciding factor. Geoengineering has the possibility of being harmful to our environment even though it is being done to prevent climate change.
Prometheans wish to apply technology to solve anything. Promethean scientists wish to do more research before deploying geoengineering. They still keep it as an option because they need to determine the negative effects. Prometheans believe humans have always altered the environment and should continue to do so. They make decisions after taking note of the possible consequences. Humans are the alphas. We decide what to do with the Earth, and we should be properly fulfilling our roles of protecting nature.
Sustainability is the key that will bring Gaians and Prometheans together. The concept of putting the environment first is appealing to both of them. Evolution should continue to happen. Nature is dynamic. So according to the “Thiele” document, conservation must be dynamic. Uniting over sustainability can lead to the ideological differences of Gaians and Prometheans to be removed. SRM is similar to a natural process, so it is conceivable that some Gaians would support it.Prometheans might not support SRM due to the fact it is very risky and will want to use alternate methods.
Geoengineering could help save the environment or continue the downward spiral of multiple ecological systems. Humanity and subgroups such as Gaians and Prometheans should come together to make decisions to save the environment.
Many people view the current Anthropocene as almost a manifestation of past beliefs of a dystopian future. There is also disagreement on what to do to maintain the environment currently. I personally lean on the side that extinctions are bad and we should prevent them, but others argue it is just a product of the environment. Some want new texts about another disastrous future.
Parallels can also be made between the protection of indegnious cultures and habitats by and the conservation of the environment. Indigenous people believe in strong relationships between nature and humans. Colonization has disrupted the positive elements of this relationship, and have damaged ecosystems that indigenous and natural people have inhabited for many years. The “campaigns”(Dystopia) caused settlers to overpower indigenous homelands and have almost total control. Indigenous people no longer have any power over the places they live in, similar to how nature had power before man manipulated it. The settlers disrupted the environment and the indigenous people to the extent that the idnegenous people could not adapt to the disruption like deforestation, pollution, etc.
In the Great Lakes a couple of restoration projects are being done to help improve environmental conditions and stop degradation. One environmental component that was disrupted is the fish species, Nmé. It was massively overfished, with numerous invasive species and dams disrupting the lakes. In response, the Natural Resources Department came up with numerous cultural ceremonies combined with the reintroduction of the Nmé back in the water systems. The ceremonies help indigenous people rediscover their relationship with the fish, making them more likely to protect things like this from happening in the future.
Wild rice has also been disrupted by settler establishment, with other types of rice putting it out of economic viability even though it is very nutritious and has been a native species for a long time.
Hopefully, indigenous people combined with other residents of the world can help protect the natural environment that rightfully belongs to them.
In the article “Art and Ecology” by Andrew Brown , the author gives great insight into the power of art. Specifically, the impact of art on ecology. Artists popularize numerous important environmental issues. The thing is, as the article elaborates, is that the art’s purpose is to be viewed as “traditional” art, something to clearly look at or a form of propaganda. How much power does art have? Well first, I should elaborate on how art has been influenced by the environment.
According to the article, art has been manufactured by humanity for tens of thousands of years. They would record images of nature while using natural materials like charcoal, making the art describe a physical and visual relationship between humanity and nature(Art and Ecology). From there humanity’s relationship with nature drastically changed. Humanity began to alter nature at huge levels once the Industrial Revolution started. Still artistic depictions of nature remained, all throughout Europe and America for example paintings depicting Manifest Destiny. The Manifest Destiny art pieces depicted the new areas of the West and caused people to want to go to the West. Photography had a big impact as well. More recently, Artists have manufactured sculptures that depict nature and even discolored rivers to show the negative effects of water pollution. One art exhibition even depicted inhumane actions that happen at a catfish farm and caused massive backlash in Britain.
After going through these examples, it is clear that art has a great influence on the world. I believe art should continue to be used to showcase environmental issues. Humans use art as a tool, so I do not believe it should be limited. Art should not exclusively be just to draw beautiful images, but to have lasting impacts on the world. I cannot wait to see the new art that will change the perception of environmental issues.
Many humans believe that they are not a part of nature. This belief has been exemplified by some teachings of Christianity (Lynn White). Instead they believe they are above nature , leading to numerous occasions of devastation affecting the Earth. Global warming, deforestation, the wasting of natural resources, are a few examples of the consequences of humanity doing whatever they see fit without addressing the consequences. Solutions must be made, and that can only result if people come together(Papa Francesco 44). Reminding some Christians of their faith and how it relates to protecting the Earth could help slow the degradation of our beloved planet ( Papa Francesco 48). Regardless of our faith, we must have the belief that a positive relationship with the Earth is necessary for the survival of humans and creatures. Everything is interconnected. We are equal to one another, even mountains and soil are equally valuable(Papa Francesco 61).
Humanity must also learn that the Earth is fragile, and we must be careful with it. We cannot live in a fantasy, with the belief that the Earth has infinite resources(Papa Francesco 68). First, we must make human life equal and solve human problems then we can solve the issues of the environment. Then humans must control and be mindful of the power they have gained through technology(Papa Francesco 78). Technology is almost like a pet: it needs to be trained in order to have a positive impact on society. Humanity must be aware of the risks of rapid technological growth as well.
Society then needs to come together. Various perspectives and methods will be needed to solve the ecological crises. The logic of “use and throw away”(Papa Francesco 91) followed by many humans also should be replaced with something more positive. Huge corporations should also be monitored and not allowed to over power local agriculture. Discussion should be made at multiple levels to fix ecological issues.
Pope Francis, Laudato Si
Lynn White, Jr., “The Ecologic Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science 155:3767 (10 March 1967), 1203-1207.