Nature And Nature Of Wilderness Essay

Nature And Nature Of Wilderness Essay

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Wilderness is a highly idealized concept in today’s society – we simply put it on a pedestal and choose to admire it as we see fit. Nature and wilderness are considered distant and remote concepts, separate from our everyday, civilized lives. By approaching the natural realm in this sense, we simply detach ourselves from our origin, which leaves us to fantasize about the great outdoors as an escape from the artificial creations of our everyday life. This desire to escape our artificial lives has lead to the construction of locations such as national parks, which merely appear to be the natural world, yet in reality they are simply just facets of the modernized world we have created.
Wilderness is not what it used to be. The common idea of what nature is has drastically changed over time as humans have domesticated the wild itself. As Cronon points out, two-hundred and fifty years ago wilderness was described as “deserted, savage, desolate, barren, - in short, a waste” (78). Yet what once caused human beings such fear is now a tourist attraction which falsely encapsulates wilderness. Wilderness is entirely a human creation – it is supposed to be part of nature, yet, as Cronon reiterates in his writing, there is nothing natural about the concept of wilderness. It simply reflects what modern civilization is fleeing from. If I were to go to a national park, I would not feel like I was out in the wild. How could I with winding roads scattered throughout and a multitude of tourists flashing their cameras at the bison passing through? However, true wilderness can be experienced
In, “The Trouble with Wilderness” from Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature, William Cronon encapsulates the idea of finding a middle ground between civ...


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...is wild is a key factor in both Cronon’s argument and my own belief. We as humans look at ourselves as being separate from nature, yet this could not be any more wrong. An extreme point in Cronon’s argument claimed that “if nature dies because we enter it, then the only way to save nature is to kill ourselves” (83). We have categorized humans and nature as opposing forces without room for cohabitation, yet if we were to change this view, we would effectively alter our perception of nature and eventually change our actions towards it. My personal relationship of nature strongly reflects that of Cronon’s – he reiterates that our view of nature is skewed and this is the root of many environmental issues. By changing our perception of wilderness, perhaps we will delocalize from the false reality that national parks create, and centralize on the natural world as a whole.

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