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Theme 4: Responses to Nature

Work 1: “Introduction to Responses to Nature” written by Not Listed
1. What is Nature and how do we as humans interact with it?
2.
3. This was written for all humans but I think more specifically young adults because they are
still figuring out who they are and what they believe in. They are a more open minded
audience to speak to about how they effect the world and are more likely to strive to make a
change in their daily life.
4. Humans relationships to nature highly effect their culture and the way they treat the earth.
We should consider the fact that we are a part of nature and that we aren't superior. There
would be less lives list if we focused less on conquering nature and more on embracing it
and becoming one with nature. Spending more time outside and more time building a
relationship with nature. Beethoven even said “I love a tree more than a man”. I cant think
of anyone I have come across that has that kind of relationship with nature and the ones that
come close to that kind of love for nature are made fun of and ridiculed.
Early works of art depict humans interacting with nature, showing that the interaction
between humans and nature has been important for as long as we know. I would even go as
far as saying that the interaction between nature and humans has been important for forever
and will be forever. In the Bible the story of Adam and Eve talks about the interactions that
they had with nature. They partook of the forbidden fruit and in consequence became
mortal.
Later in this article it talks about the impact that humans have on the world and it is truly
terrifying. This is a very important article for people to know of and read because it is
important for us to know that what we do does have an effect. Personally whenever I think
about this subject I just suppose that it isn't me, its everyone else. But in reality it is me just

as much as it is everyone else. I should try to build a better relationship with the earth and
not consider myself superior. I should work on reusing and recycling so the amount of waste
that I produce isn't as excessive as it is now. So should everyone else, that's why this is such
an important article for people to read and become aware of.
Work 2: “Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination” written by Leslie Marmon Silko
1. Who are the Pueblans and what are their views and relationship with nature.
2.
3. This is written for uneducated people (I would even go as far as to specify Americans) who
don't know the ideas that the pueblo people have on nature. This is good knowledge of people
especially Americans to have because we definitely do not treat animals as equals like we
should .
4. Before I read this article I had little to no knowledge of the Pueblo people. Here are a few key
things that stood out to me about their culture and what I learned. The way that they view plants
and animals is drastically different that our culture. They brought up the fact that plants feed on
the remains of dead plants and animals. Even when something passes on it keeps living. They
also believe that they should use an animal to its full extent and what you don't use can be used
to feed other animals and later on in life feed the plants. None of it is wasted. They view
hunting with love and only use it when necessary unlike us who use it as a sport. They consider
the animals as people and treat them as equals like they should be treated. They even view rocks
as beings and having spirits. With this respect for everything that surrounds them they live
happier lives and they don't become greedy or take for granted what they have been given like I
often do. They also believe that survival depends on harmony and cooperation among all things.
One cool thing that I learned that goes along with this is that they believe that you are blessed
and will have good fortune if you are struck by lightning and survive. In our society we use
journals and textbooks to record history and important events. Pueblo culture does this

differently and uses story telling to accomplish this. They continue to tell their stories
throughout the generations. They are repeated over and over again so they live on and will
always be remembered. In addition the stories that they tell have a hidden meaning that teaches
a skill of some sort. For example there is a story that is told over and over again and it is used as
a map for hunting. Once they know the story it is effortless and they have that tool or skill now
with them. In our society today we are seemingly always looking for the one truth. We are not
very inviting to other ideas once we have one of our own. Pueblo people sought a communal
truth not an absolute. They value everyone's opinion and don't consider there to be only one
answer to a question. With this view it causes an easier environment for progress to take place
and a safe environment for ideas to be shared. I personally think that this is the way that it
should be and I think this is a major flaw with the way that our minds work in this day in age.
These ideas made me realize that I should rethink how I view animals, plants and even rocks.
They are equals and I shouldn't take them for granted like I do and I need to work on nor
wasting them.
Work 3: “NPR Thoreau's Walden, Present at the Creation” written by Jill Kaufman
1. Was Thoreau a genius or crazy for doing what he did?
2.

August 5, 2002

3. This was written for everyone who was being influenced by the industrial revolution and
becoming less independent but it also applies to Americans nowadays.
4. Henry David Thoreau. He spoke his mind and didn't care what people thought of him which
causes him to be strongly disliked my many. He was known for being more apt to hug a tree
than to hug a fellow man. He decided to move to the woods to be in the peace and quiet so he
could write a book but in my opinion came out a better more spiritual person. His cabin was
secluded from everyone else but was still close enough to the city to visit. One day he went into
the wood flaunting a pine tree and a man approached him asking him why he is doing this on

the sabbath and why he is being so disrespectful. His response was perfect. “I dont tell you how
to worship so dont tell me how to worship”. I think we often forget that while we are out in
nature and truly in nature it is a spiritual experience and we all should do it more often. Thoreau
treated land with reverence. He used to grow beans to sell to buy what food he wanted but he
though of those beans differently than everyone else. He said that the real purpose wasn't to
grow the beans but to know beans. One of the biggest ideas that he wanted to get across was
“Simplify, simplify”. With that short phrase comes a brilliant idea. He, during the industrial
revolution noticed the change that was happening around him and realized what it was doing.
He wanted to encourage people to not go buy wood, chop your own. He wanted everyone to be
independent. He wanted people to find what they needed around them instead of having it
shipped from other places. Thoreau was basically responsible for starting the environmentalist
movement in America. There is one thing that is important to keep in mind when you are
reading his work which is to not read it literally. There is hidden meaning hidden everywhere in
his work and you miss so much if you just take it at face value. When I was listening to this
NPR broadcast I sort of grew fond of Thoreau. I personally like people that a lot of people hate,
it makes them more interesting and intriguing. So with the background knowledge from class
that he was very disliked and had different beliefs it made me want to understand him even
more. I think that he is just misunderstood and sometimes peoples pride got in the way of them
actually becoming a better person. Spending more time in nature. Building a relationship with
nature. I think that Thoreau had a life changing experience while living in that cabin and wanted
to share it with everyone but instead they took it personally and prevented themselves from
growing. And look where we are now. Just like he predicted. I think that it is very important to
become independent and separate yourself from the worldly thing and gain some perspective
and I honestly hope that I gain the courage tot go and do that someday and hopefully make the
realizations that Thoreau made and maybe even impact someones life with that knowledge.

Work 4: “Touchscreen” written by Marshall Davis Jones
1.

How does technology impact us and our lives? How will technology impact our lives in the
future?

2.

2011

3.

This is written for teenagers of the 21st century because we are the ones who have been raised
on this technology and we are the ones who are impacted by it the most. In my opinion this is a
warning for us of what we can and will become if we continue to travel down this same road.

4.

First I would like to mention that I know this wasn't one of our readings but this poem is for
some reason very important to me. I got the chills when I heard it and have listened to it roughly
4 times since and so I thought that it was important that I reflect on it. It talks about how cliques
used to make it hard to make friends but now it is even more difficult because clicks form
friends. We rarely have face to face interaction these days and that makes it easy to be mean to
someone. We base our worth off of how many likes a picture gets, how many followers we
have. When in person we hardly have any real friends at all. Why do we value social media so
much? What do we get back from it other than a notification. The next line that really hit me is
“from the garden of Eden to the branches of Macintosh apple picking has always come at a
great cost.” Like the apples in the garden of Eden the apples that we pick today bring us a lot of
knowledge but they do come at a cost. For us they limit the face to face interaction and increase
the amount of screen time that we get which isn't really building relationship only destroying
them. I know that I am a strong offender when it comes to this. It is so bad that I have
withdrawals from my phone and literally get separation anxiety when I am away from it. And it
does come at a great cost. It has prevented me from getting the sleep that I need, prevented me
from getting my homework done and even prevented me from interacting with my family. In
the end it just talked about how technology is stripping us of our humanity and our emotions. It
is desensitizing us and causing us to loose focus of what really is important. Before hearing this

poem I thought “ yeah technology effects us but not that much” now I realize what a scary road
we are heading down! I need to work on spending more time with people in person rather than
over the phone. I need to stop worrying about stupid social media and how many followers I
have or how many likes I have because that is all digital where as relationships in person are
important and lasting. What do followers matter if no one is really there for you when you are
in need of a friend. I definitely have a new outlook on technology and I am going to work on
unplugging myself every once in a while and just going for a walk. Talking with some people
and actually getting to know them because in the end, that's really all that matters.
Work 5: Polemic: “Industrial Tourism and the National Parks” written by Edward Abbey
1. Are National Parks good the way they are or good in general?
2.

1968

3. This is written for tourists, especially the ones who gloss over nature and think they've seen all
a national park has to offer in roughly 2 days.
4. National Parks before they paved the roads and made it civilized used to be abandoned. The
occasional adventurer would come in and explore but not as many as we get today. It talked
about how Abbey was just sitting outside with his feet in the sand looking at his surrounding
like some watch TV. I don't think I have ever done that, and I wish that I had. After the roads
were paved people came rushing in. More the next year than the last. Why is this? Why do we
need to civilize nature to feel like it is worth our time? Why don't we find beauty in raw nature
that has been untouched by man? When a lot of tourists come to one place it sort of ruins the
beauty of it. Some leave trash behind and others deface some of the worlds prettiest natural
creations. Edward Abbey said that he only had 3 requests for the National Parks. 1. To no longer
allow cars in the sight. When was the last time you drove your car into a church and parked it
there? Im guessing never. This is the same idea. It is sacred and should be treated with respect.
Take and animal out there with you like a horse and experience nature accompanied by nature.

2. No more paved roads. By doing this you are taking away part of the experience that comes
with exploring nature. Paved roads distract from the beauty around. 3. Put the rangers to work.
All the rangers do is sit in a booth and collect tickets. They should be out there safely guiding
people through the parks. Being outside to tell the visitors about the history of the park. After
reading this I now look at parks differently. I didn't realize that we were taking away from the
beauty by paving roads, placing hotels everywhere and driving. I never would have thought of it
as a sacred place that should be treated with reverence. Next time I go to a national park I am
going to try to walk more, talk less and just really take it all in.
Work 6: Wildlife in American Culture
1.

How does wildlife effect our culture now and how did it effect our culture in the past.

2.

Somewhere between 1887-1948

3. This is aimed at everyone who hunts for sport not for food that they need to survive.
4.

Nature effects culture. Especially in primitive culture. For example the plains Indians ate
buffalo but buffalo also determined his architecture, dress, language arts and religion. Nature
does something different for us today. We now use dead animals as trophies and kill for fun
rather than for food and clothing. We create gadgets for this very purpose for farming and other
things that we use to do by hand. The tools that we have made kill more than is necessary but
we write it off as okay because it save us time and is more efficient. Where is the line between
a legitimate reason to be using it and an illegitimate reason? I don't know and nor does Aldo.
We take nature for granted and we abuse it. We should treat it with respect like we did
primitively. Wildlife once fed us but now we not only over produce to feed us but we also use it
for sort and overkill. This is a common idea that we should not be as wasteful and that we
should cut down on what we use and how much we use and not be greedy. I feel like for how
common of an idea it is and how often it is used no one is really doing anything big for the
cause. We are all preaching but not practicing what we are preaching. I need to work on

recycling more and keeping the earth clean. I also want to start eating less meat because the
amount that we have accessible to us today isn't necessary and the animals go through terrible
things and live terrible lives. Even though I am just one person I can still make a difference. If
everyone had this mentality we would get a lot more done.
Work 7: “Is Conservation Education an Oxymoron” written by David W. Orr
1. What is the point of education? Does it make us better human beings?
2.

July 2007

3.

I think that this paper is geared towards people with many years of a college education to help
them realize that although education is important it isn't as important as we think it is.

4. We, as Americans highly value education but I think that we are going to school for the wrong
reasons. We aren't going to learn and become a smarter person but we are doing it to get paid
more in our future careers. Beyond the basic education that is necessary to be able to function in
society education does not determine how we as humans behave. What is the point of research?
The reason that we conduct research is to find that answers and be all knowing but we can't
know everything. There will always be ignorance in some things. While we focus on one thing
a different thing is ignored . We are always told that we are “undergoing an explosion of
knowledge” but sadly that is just hype and isn't entirely true. We may be undergoing an
explosion of knowledge in that one field but we are at the same time declining in another. We
often use our schooling to justify the way we act or determine that we are better than someone
else but that isn't true at all. Before reading this article I had no clue that education doesn't really
effect how you behave. I will definitely not think of people who don't have as much education
as I do as a lesser human because like I learned the correlation between the two is basically nonexistent.
Work 8: “Horses” written by Pablo Neruda
1.

Do you see whats around you or are you taking it for granted?

2.

Somewhere between 1904-1973

3.

Everyone who takes the ordinary things in life for granted.

4. This poem talks about how on a bland winter day he looked out of his window he sees a group
of horses coming over the hill. For him this was amazing. It was a breath of fresh air for him
because the sky was all one plain color and so was the ground. He describes the horses as Gods
with manes like dreams of salt. While I read the poem I kept thinking to myself that he was
being a excessive as he was describing these horses. But then I realized maybe he has a greater
appropriation for nature and the animals within than I do. When I look at a horse all I see is a
brown animal with a long face. He sees a god like creature shining with all of its glory, with
power and determination in its eyes. Next time I'm looking outside of my window and I see a
bird I am going to think of this poem and I am going to try to look at it as more than a bird. Try
to see it in its full glory and appreciate its beauty.
Work 9: “Daffodils” written by William Wordsworth
1. What is it like to Meditate?
2.

1804

3.

People who are constantly moving or who are always distracted

4. This poem talks about a man who sees a patch of daffodils by a bay. He describes the way that
they move bringing them to life. Describing them as dancing. Not being solely moved by the
wind but moving somewhat on their own. He then talks about the peace he feels when he is
meditating and he relates that to the way that the daffodils looked dancing in the wind. I think
that this is a really great poem but it took a couple of times for me to get it. It talks about
meditating and what peace it brings him. I don't understand why this isn't a part of our culture.
Everyone has such busy lives I think it is important for everyone to take a moment. Put away
their phones. Turn of the radio and sit there. Not sleep but just sit there. Focus on the air that is
coursing throughout your body. The energy that you feel in your muscles. Just getting to know

yourself without the noise or interference of this busy busy world. I personally think this is
important for everyone to read because they should know that meditating really does work and
they should try it before they just write it off as weird or a religious thing.

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