Does wilderness exist? To many people, this would seem to be a very meaningless question. Of course wilderness exists. But, coming from a student who decided to enroll in a class called Humans and the Natural Environment: Impacts and Moral Obligations, this question has become one that has almost thrown my world upside down. Before we can answer the question, we must first know the definition of wilderness is this, “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man is a visitor who does not remain.” Because of my recent class periods and readings, I believe that the concept of wilderness does not exist, and that it is not useful. Throughout this essay I will explain why I believe that the concept of wilderness does not exist because, ultimately, I believe that humans are a part of nature, but also because Indians marked this land long before we arrived, and also because there is no land that can escape the effects of humans.
The strongest reason that I believe wilderness does not exist is due to the wording of the definition. The fact that man can have no touch on wilderness is to say that man cannot be a part of wilderness. Man must be completely absent, only appearing as a visitor. But why can man not be a part of wilderness? Many people believe that man is separate from nature due to religious beliefs. They believe that God created Adam and Eve and then created the rest of Earth specifically for the use of man. But even after Darwin, some people still do not seem to understand. All humans are a product of evolution, as are every other species that inhabits this planet. Our ability to think, reason, and understand does not somehow overshadow that...
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...orldwide, affecting species, landscapes, and environments everywhere. So, even when we are not physically present, we are inadvertently present through the effects that our actions are having on this environment.
As seen above, this seemingly easy question of “does wilderness exist” becomes much more complex when you look a little deeper. The very definition of wilderness poses one of the largest problems when examining the question. Because man is not separate from wilderness, the definition does not hold any merit. But, even when we look from the perspective of man being separate from wilderness, we see that Indians have played a part in shaping our land into what it is today, and that the effects of humans are happening even where man is not physically present. Because of both of these reasons, there is not anywhere that man is a visitor who does not remain.
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