Responding to Prompt 1 (Preservation)


President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir might have been hiking buddies, except Roosevelt was a conservationist. He was sympathetic to Muir’s beliefs, but probably felt as though Muir’s spiritual and idealistic approach to protecting nature from humans as unrealistic and impractical in the ever-prospering nation. The United States successfully thrived by utilizing it’s natural resources, which Muir detested because he did not think nature was something that should be used. However, I think the conservationist ideal of utilizing nature sustainably and responsibly is a more practical approach than Muir’s preservationist vision. Conservation favors humans and nature engaging in a mutual relationship in which nature gives to us and we give back to it by protecting it. Like Roosevelt, I too am sympathetic to Muir’s beliefs because I value the beauty of nature. Nevertheless, I have come to hold this value from the connection I have built with nature throughout my life by experiencing it’s beauty first-hand. I think that if nature is kept out of sight it will eventually be out of mind. In other words, if people do not co-exist with nature and learn to appreciate all it gives to us, they will live in a mindless state apart from it and will not care to protect it. Thus, it is illogical to ask for support of a preservationist movement that restricts the ability of people to interact with or benefit from nature. A conservationist approach is the best way to secure an environmental legacy for future generations because it wants to keep nature a relevant part of human’s lives so it can be utilized, but also appreciated and protected.  


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2 responses »

  1. I agree with your statement about humans being apart from nature can cause them to forget about it and to not care for it. I think that a lot of people live in very urban settings and do not get to experience nature in a deep sense of the word. This causes them to make decisions such as littering or other hurtful things that can destroy nature. However, if everyone experienced nature it may cause the nature areas to become run down from over use. I do believe that humans are connected to the Earth in ways we cannot understand and that it is important for people to experience nature for both their health and the health of the planet.

  2. I completely agree with your statement that if peoples connections are severed from the environment they will eventually not even realize that it exists. We’ve constructed massive walls of steel and concrete to further separate ourselves from the environment. I read a short novel called “The Giver” in which the people of every town were completely separated from the environment to the point that animals, such as elephants, were actually mystical creatures that never existed. This is an extreme example but whats to say it can’t happen? It is vital that we maintain a connection with nature for fear of completely being oblivious to it however I do not feel that conservation is actually the answer. The Hetch Hetchy dam is a prime example of how conservation completely eliminated a unique environment that will now never be admired by our eyes. I’ve seen first hand that acts of conservation in the west coast forests and in the rocky mountains where entire mountain sides have been clear cut and all that remains is soil being carried off in the wind. In the other extreme there is John Muir’s beliefs about preservation which pretty much do not have a place for people in the environment at all. I personally feel that we as a species are an integral part of the worlds ecosystem and therefore have a right to spend time in it and enjoy its wonders that it has to offer us. I am more supportive of finding a middle ground between both ideologies that allows us to sustainably use the resources we require while still leaving unique environments for us to interact with.

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