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According to the books Preserving Wildness by Wendell Berry and The End of Nature by Bill McKibben, nature is depicted as a crucial aspect that supports life. The biosphere is a component that helps living things, thus, playing a great role in providing gases for the life such as oxygen and also carbon (IV) oxide. It supports photosynthesis in plants.
Air pollution arising from burning of gases that are toxic in nature and also fossil fuels infects the environment negatively and seemingly threatens the survival of nature in both human and animal life. According to the statistics, it is estimated that there are about 3.5 million deaths occurring as a result of household pollution. About 3.3 million deaths were caused by pollution from industries.
Arguments pertaining to proper humanity-nature relations are becoming polarized. On one end, there are some people who seem to be entirely supporting nature and making assumptions as following. There is no difference between nature estate and human estate. They further believe that the biosphere is a special system with all creatures equal in all aspects even such as the right to flourish and live. Such people normally tend to stand away from the issues related to proper use of nature by humans. They often apply the word stewardship as a form of defamation. Meanwhile the term actually means the use of nature responsibly.
On the other hand, there is a group of people who do not give due to regard and appreciation to nature. They split reality into two parts: human good and natural resources, which will later be turned into the human good. Berry goes a step further to define human good as comfort, security and profit (517). He simply defines natural resources as raw materials.
According to the University of Illinois, researchers are looking into the future whereby there will be a sufficient food production without farmers or farms. The researchers have such a firm believing that this will be practicable since the ability to work on something is a purpose to do it.
III. Human Predicament
In his book, Berry highlights some assumptions that help to describe the human predicament. Thus, it is spiritual by the virtue that it requires humbleness and gratefulness, patience and practicability. His first assumption was that the wilderness of the world is in a way hospitable to us though it is equally dangerous. We fully depend on it.
His second assumption talks of a problem that we in the wilderness being exposed to. What we depend upon endangers us making the process of problem solving not yield viable results. There are no solutions to some of the nature problems we have. Neither are we going to manufacture our own industrial paradise nor return to the Garden of Aden.
Berry’s third assumption doubts a possibility of the human nature living in harmony with the natural wilderness. He asserts that it can never happen or be made. It is a part of the unfinished lifework. The forth assumption refers to ‘the short term impossibility of human nature to intend their good either in the short run or in the long run without intending the good of our world’, which refers to nature.
His fifth and final assumption talks of the lack of escape from the use of nature by humans. It implies that human good is encompassed within natural good.
IV. Difference between Nature and Humans
In the current world, the biggest mistake that individuals do is to assume as follows. There is no difference between nature and humans. If we understood that such a difference exists, life could be easier and simpler than it is now. The contradiction lays in the fact that nature and humans are indivisible, but very different.
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A good demonstration for this variance is the indivisibility existing between domesticity and wildness. It is important to note that our bodily life is half wild and perhaps more than half. The reason is that it relies upon instincts, appetites and reflexes that we do not possess within ourselves. We only live partly because we are domestic creatures. It means that we participate in the human economy so as to make a living. We do so by varying our success, instincts, and appetites so as to produce and develop human living. Equally, we breathe and survive as a human species because of the wildness in us.
V. Practicality of Wildness
In Wilderness Letter, Wallace, Snow, and Stegner argue that forests which are home to wild creatures need to be saved. He believes that the wholeness of an individual originates from a concept of wildness. In nature, the rationale of this is practical. In soils, the topsoil is fertile because it is the world. No matter how plants and forests are husbanded by forestry officials and farmers, their growth and health is largely dependent on their wildness. It gives them an ability to interact with air, light, water, and the earth, in general. From experience, we tend to raise our domestic demands on plants by forcing them into different forms of a failure being not experienced by wild plants.
It has been proofed scientifically that ‘when breeding programs are completely governed by human intentions, economically or fashionably, uselessness becomes the result.’ Productivity, size, and other elements will be gained at the cost of vigor, a reproductive ability, and health. In simpler terms, the so called domestic creatures must remain more than half wild. They are natural creatures. Human beings are not going to succeed in this transformation of nature. The reason is that the lack of a complete set of standards for production will be required to make these transformations. For example, the rain which is beautiful to have a glance at, while drops tickle down from clouds, has been turned to a spillway for clearing the many wastes. These ones are released to the environment on a daily basis from many of our production plants. Moreover, it has turned out to be the noise as heavy drops hit the roofs let alone being viewed as commerce.
From a human perspective, making of creatures is wild. Globally, an effort to transform humans, plants and animals to more governable creatures is steadily rising. However, it does not guarantee success or nearness to success. It simply implies that the magnitude of violence and expected reactions towards nature is on its rise.
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Divisions against nature and wildness are a disaster to humans because it is actually dividing against us. It is what confines the identity we have as creatures within the boundaries of our understanding. It is a reductive insight that tends to reduce our wholeness and mystery to sickly and petty comprehensibility (520).
To infer that we are not dividable and cannot be divided by nature does not mean that no difference exists between us and other creatures. Human beings depend and participate in nature yet they are different from it. This difference is felt in a form of discomfort, danger or difficulties. It is not easy to live with nature. For instance, it is hard and discomforting to have floods on your crops and rain water on your dried hay. It is equally difficult for nature to respect your intention as being hard for you to respect nature. These are day-to-day problems experienced by human beings either directly or indirectly.
According to McKibben, the sunshine on our shoulders is a direct reminder of how the actions of mankind have gone forth to cracking of an ozone layer by emission of gasses. He further argues that the need for greenhouse gases would not have been there being not for human activities. These ones keep on destroying the natural space. It is because this green space has been erected where once the sweet wild garden has bloomed (McKibben 724). These gases include the CO2, methane, aerosols, and Chlorofluorocarbons. In addition, wastes from food producing industries, use of pesticides and herbicides are the major contributors for nutrients depletion off our soils.
Humans have turned to the belief that there no more exists anything to be regarded as nature anymore. It is only them that matters so even if there happens to be pollution. From a business perspective, there is nothing wrong with that (McKibben 723). There were the times when in a need of time to relax away from other human beings one would run to forests and enjoy a beautiful scenery. However, it has turned out not to be case anymore. The reason is that as McKibben narrates that whenever he sets foot in the forest, the first sight he gazes on it is that of sick trees, which he presumes is as a result of acid rain. It has been fathered by activities of mankind.
Another instance of pollution is in cutting down trees. Tree fall has been greatly criticized by many international bodies such as the United Nations’ Environmental Program (UNEP). However, still on a daily basis, there are more than 80,000 trees brought down in day. To human beings, trees are a source of fuel, buildings materials amongst others, at the same time. Cutting down trees disrupts nature in the sense that trees are a basis for water catchment areas, form a habitat for wild animals, and also a source of beauty (McKibben 718-719).
As McKibben narrates, nature is a source of recreational entertainment. For instance, when during the summer, he and the family have got to the lake side to enjoy a swim. There, they happen to bump onto another couple also having fun. He contemplates that even though people complain about nature pollution, they are the very same ones. They are the owners of big industries being involved in massive water pollution mechanisms (McKibben 720-721).
McKibben goes forth to express the pain in him when he says that there was the time when he would be in the woods. He could be taking a walk nearby and rabbits would cross his path. However, it got to extinction due to human disruptions to the animal life. He asserts that he feels nature conversing with him that he should get home and tell his wife of what is seemingly happening (McKibben 721). Furthermore, there was a mill nearby. Rust pipes were the evidence of some kind of wastes being emptied to the valuable waters. A man cannot survive without them, yet he is at the forefront of pollution (McKibben 722).
Since humans are the ones that contribute to injustices on our environment and nature, in general, there are several measures that can be adhered to. They should be used to save the long run survival of both wild and human life. Firstly, it is controlling the world fires that seem to be wiping the forests at an alarming rate. It is leading even to death of animals there in. Secondly, it is enforcing reforestation efforts to restore the ecological balance being destroyed. Thirdly, it is the use of technology in some ways that seek to control and reduce pollution. For example, industries can install carbon filters to reduce the emission of sulfur fuels. Fourthly, humans can protest against the development programs that are not sustainable in a long run. Another way is by putting in measures that promote re-using and recycling of materials. Lastly, it is the use of renewable energy sources, which form one of major contributors to nature disruption.
Berry concludes the following facts. Understanding the dependence of wilderness and wilderness upon our domestic behavior and economy is the first step towards wildness preservation. Therefore, for wildness preservation to be efficient and effective, the efforts for a change have to start from oneself and from a positive influence to those persons around us. It is by first recognizing that nature is a basic provider of all our most essential needs.
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