Blog #1: Landscapes 1 comment

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.

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One thought on “Blog #1: Landscapes

  • Madara

    Your photo looks a little like a Bill Brody painting! I think you make a good point that the narrator doesn’t see “value” as something that’s solely related to profit.