Do you think identifying nature as a resource separates us from it?
Is there another way to frame our role in nature that might be possible?
I do think identifying nature as a resource separates us from it. We begin to look at it as
something that we can use but then consider ourselves wasteful if we don’t utilize its full potential. But when nature is used without thought as to its value, such as when forests are cleared to make room for parking lots, it is considered a shameful act. Throughout history, we have been unable to find a balance between the two, leading to endless debates between the two sides.
The potential drilling of ANWR is a much debated topic that is directly caught in the middle of these two ideas. Some see its potential resources as the entirety of its value, others believe the view and the untouched asthetic it provides is more important than resources it may possess. This is a common debate throughout the majority of Alaska. As one of the few places left with undiscovered resources, the efforts to preserve its natural state have intensified.
In Frank Dufresne’s “My Way Was North”, the narrator has trouble focusing on anything but the scenery while the narrator’s Uncle Charley can hardly think of anything but gold and the riches that the Alaskan wilderness provides.
“Uncle Charley kept pointing with his free hand at old gravel piles overgrown with weeds where some early day prospector had hit it rich … But I had a hard time paying proper attention to all those success stories. What took my eye were the chattering “sic-sic” spotted squirrels scooting tail-up ahead of the racing dogs and scuttling into their burrows just in time.” (110).
The narrator makes it rather obvious that Uncle Charley is consumed with greed, causing him to completely overlook what is happening in the natural world around him. I think this is a very dangerous point of view. Neglecting nature and only concerning oneself with what it can give you is the type of attitude that causes deforestation and extinction. The narrator approaches the Alaskan wilderness with a more moderate view. He appreciates what the land can give him but does not consider its value to lie in its profit. This is a more realistic and balanced approach than the greedy perspective of Uncle Charley.