Responding to Prompt 1 (Preservation)

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Although it is understood that preservationists are positively impacting the environment by encouraging others to leave nature alone, I believe they are also negatively impacting the environment by excluding humans in the “environmental healing” process. By refusing humans to touch areas of nature without an explanation as to why, preservationists are denying humans their role in nature. Even Aldo Leopold, John Muir’s successor in the preservationist movement, “viewed people as a part of nature, and certainly not as the owners of it.” Therefore, if preservationists believe people as a part of nature, wouldn’t it be hypocritical for them to deny people their part in protecting nature by being involved with nature? Why is it fair then for John Muir to have taken hikes into the woods with President Theodore Roosevelt in order to emphasize the value of nature but deny others physical access to these areas? By denying people access to areas of nature, people will never be able to fully grasp and understand their role in protecting nature.  By denying people access to areas of nature, people won’t understand why protecting nature is so important. For in order to understand this importance, it is my firm belief that people need to feel the soil under their feet, breathe the fresh air blowing through the trees, and feel the sun warming their faces. The satisfaction that comes with being in the natural world will encourage more people to protect the natural world.  Furthermore, I believe that yes, it is illogical to ask for support of a movement that restricts the ability of people to interact with or benefit from what they are advocating for. For how can one expect a person to support anything that they can’t see, touch, or hear? Therefore, the movement that I suggest should be one that involves both preservationists and conservationists together. A movement that involves both leaving plots of nature alone (preservation) and also involves conserving the resources available in those plots of land (conservation) would protect nature from overdevelopment and exploitation while also allowing people to play their vital role of making nature a more sustainable place to live for future generations.

Additional source: http://www.nps.gov/history/history/hisnps/NPSThinking/nps-oah.htm

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One response »

  1. I agree that the preservationist view of human exclusion from the environmental healing process is not necessarily the best route for remediation. In understanding that we are all a part of nature, it does not make sense to convince others to try to protect something they cannot have the opportunity to appreciate. I believe there needs to be a balance between instrumental and intrinsic valuation in order for us to define how to live sustainably and for the benefit of both us and the environment. We can liken our relationship with the earth and its resources now as almost parasitic. However, if there could be a focus on efficiency and only using what we need (rather than mindlessly overconsuming and having resources readily available), we may be able to achieve better social equality and come closer to a commensalistic relationship with the Earth. Many people don’t appreciate the environment because they have not been able to experience it or learned why to appreciate it. Denying accessibility to it would only make matters worse. To conclude, I agree that a movement with both conservation and preservation is the most beneficial. If we want to live with the Earth harmoniously, we first have to fully understand, give value, and interact with it as it does with us.

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