Week 5, Prompt 2: Native Traditions

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Ed McGaa claims that it’s important for Western society to revisit the principles and beliefs of Native Americans in order to maintain a balanced relationship with the environment. He stresses the importance of having respect for the Great Spirit, Mother Earth, and the rest of its inhabitants while also maintaining a sense of freedom among individuals in the community.  The most important point that he makes in my opinion is how everything around us functions in the form of a circle, specifically when he referenced how one day our present actions will forever affect the living circumstances of our future generations. Although we may or may not ever have to answer for our actions, it’s an important point to introduce because not only would we be placing ourselves above the environment but also above our own progeny.

In my opinion, our environmental ethics are directly related to how our society views nature. Individuals that view nature as a resource for the production of energy and other products will often exploit it, while those who view it as a spiritual extension of themselves will protect it. I believe that our current society is a mixture of both; consisting of individuals at both ends of the spectrum while lacking in individuals that balance the two ideas. I do think that it’s possible for our society to adopt some of the beliefs of the Native American people into our everyday lives and culture. For example, if everyone acknowledged how sacred the environment was they may be more inclined to share their resources with one another rather than over consuming resources and allowing them to perish. Through the incorporation of Western and Native American views, the amount of pollution created could potentially decrease through conservation. However, it is not likely for warfare to decrease for the reason that the United States will always protect its homeland from radical threats no matter what the cost is to the environment. Although, it could potentially make the decision to enter into war more difficult.

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