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Shannon Lew Mr. Sanford Advanced Placement Language and Composition April 5, 2013 Responsibility to Nature Nature is one of the main things we take for granted. People arent commonly seen outside truly appreciating what has been given to us naturally by the earth. If we would take into consideration what nature gives us: air to breathe, water to drink, resources to build upon, etc... We as a society wouldnt be able to live up to that bearing in mind what we as a population give back to nature in return. We give back gases to pollute the air, and we diminish the trees and resources for our own selfish reasons. If you asked any person who considers themselves as green or one with nature they would say that our responsibility to nature is to leave it the way we found it. Obviously, that isnt exactly possible but there are steps we could take to improve nature overall and take our responsibilities we owe to it. Saying we all is generalized. There are people who care enough about nature to appreciate and be thankful for what it provides. Back in the early-mid 1800s, Transcendentalism was a popular belief among people. Transcendentalism was a style of life and way of living life. Transcendentalists believed in individualism and were very focused on their inner self with respects to the relationship between humans and the natural world. You can clearly see how their mindset was concrete and not all about imagination and fantasy. This way of thinking and writing is evident as we can see in a variety of Ralph Waldo Emersons writings and compositions. In his popular essay Nature, he writes in the first portion of how children are the true viewers of nature as he says, To speak truly, few adult persons can see natureThe sun

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illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of a child (Emerson 808). In basic terms, Emerson is asserting that although adults can see nature, children can connect with it which makes for a better connection between human and nature. Transcendentalists arent the only people who are concerned with the environment and nature. There are people who are very involved with preserving and being aware of what we are taking and giving back to nature. Its no secret that Natives in America think that the white men have no respect for nature. Chief Seattle, a prominent figure in who lived from 1786 to 1866 wrote a speech addressed to President Franklin Pierce expressing his disapproval of the average Americans view and use of nature. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on (Seattle 823). Seattle is referring the fact that a white man would commonly just rob the earth of its resources and simply move on, leaving it behind. This conveys to us the ways that Natives see nature as well. Seattle says that nature is their brother, not their enemy, and its something to be respected, not taken advantage of. Seattle proceeds to warn the president of the consequences we would face if nature was to be destroyed. Rachel Carson takes it a little further by writing in her book Silent Spring about how technological advancements have brought mankind in a downward spiral and is reduced to hardly anything. Which means nature is almost at extinction. Some would even go far enough to say that people are spending too much time indoors and therefore, by being inside, it doesnt allow people to go get a good look at nature. William Wordsworth agrees as in his poem The Tables Turned where hes urging people to stop, in this case, reading and actually go outside. Similar to when youre a child playing games inside, and your mothers yelling at you to go outside and play because its a beautiful day and its more worth it rather than being cooped up inside. Wordsworth expresses

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his appreciation for nature by making books look like the bad guy. Books! tis a dull and endless strife: Come, hear the woodland linnet, (Wordsworth 856) Its ironic how sometimes, what harms nature/the environment also tries to encourage people to save it. Notice the advertisement from Royal Dutch/Shell which is asking people to work towards saving the earth from the harmful gas emissions. (Royal Dutch/Shell 858/859) The irony is that Shell is a major gas and oil company. They are working against the emission of gases even though their gas and oil play a part in harming the environment. Not everyone has the same view obviously. People will always have something to say about someone elses opinion. In this case, when someone would suggest we preserve nature, not take it for granted and to appreciate it more, people will argue that nature and its resources were meant to be taken and used. If we never took anything from nature such as trees to build houses and to make paper, and oil to fuel our machines, we wouldnt possibly be able to advance as a society or a population. Without the use of the resources, we would still be as primitive as the first people how walked on this planet. Although true, the supplies we were able to extract from nature have all without a doubt helped us expand and further our advancements, thats nothing compared to what could happen if we take too much. With everyone seeing through tunnel vision, that often hinders people from looking at the big picture, and into the future a little. Has it ever occurred to anyone that if we were to keep taking from the earth and not doing anything to attempt to give back, we would lose all of our natural resources sooner than later? If the idea of nature being destroyed isnt scary enough to get people to start thinking, we should also think about how we are already in the process of destroying nature. On the environment front, they are exposed to many human activities that are devastating to the environment and societies. These include widespread destruction of ecosystems, especially through deforestation, climatic instability, and

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contamination in the soils and waters... (Maathai 837). What Maathai is saying isnt a lie. If we continue to do what weve been doing to the environment, there wont be any more left for us to benefit from. Humans wont just be responsible for destroying nature but also the inhabitants as well. Sarah Orne Jewett definitely knows of this consequence as implied in her fictional story A White Heron. Jewett describes a heron thats home gets destroyed and it eventually leaves in search of a new home. Nature is a bountiful resource that was clearly meant for human use. It has been the key factor for us advancing in terms of technology. However, if we misuse it, it will be gone. Its our responsibility as the consumers of these resources to give back as much as we can. Its so easy to overlook nature and take it for granted. If we all would take the time to appreciate what nature has essentially given us, we could take steps to improve the quality of the environment.