Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Guy Knows What He's Talking About

Cronon's point of view is a unique one. Proposing that the idea of Wilderness is an American invention and is in fact existing not to preserve nature but to serve the elite is interesting. He argues "The removal of Indians to create an “uninhabited wilderness”—uninhabited as never before in the human history of the place—reminds us just how invented, just how constructed, the American wilderness really is." When you think about it Cronon brings up a valid point. I personally feel that I am not in Nature unless I am on a mountain top, in a national forest, or secluded from the industrial world. This reinforces his arguement of Wilderness being an American construct.
Cronon brings up another point, "By imagining that our true home is in the wilderness, we forgive ourselves the homes we actually inhabit." This is a great example of how we as a culture look negatively on our industrialized ways of living, and romanticize rural lifestyles. The American population looks over the Nature we have in our own backyard and focuses too much on the over-commercialized "Wilderness" we know today as our national parks and protected areas.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Civil Disobedience and Land Ethics

Earth First! a radical environmental group was originally founded with the intent of protecting the environment from destruction of wildlife habititats. The group participated in public stunts of protest like organizing a tree sitting. Many of the early protests were peaceful and did not cause harm or damage to anyone or anything. The group attracted members with an anarchist political background and soon evolved into the Earth First! group many are familiar with today. Some who were uncomfortable being associated with having this political view left the Earth First! group and started different organizations. Soon after, Earth First! began participating in sabatoge.

Personally, I can see myself being a founder of this organization. When I say that I refer to the group who had the original intent of protecting wildlife through peaceful means. While I am aware that it is civil disobedience the way the group was going about it was harmless to the environment and humans. Now that Earth First! is involved with sabatoge and eco-terrorism I would not identify with the group. I feel that participating in a peaceful demonstration is acceptable. Causing damage to private property, whether it be a piece of equipment or an actual business location, is inappropriate. Our country was founded on freedom and I feel that everyone has the right to express their feelings, however you lose that right when you can only express it in violent, harmful ways.

In high school I was always the first one to stand up for what I believed in no matter how menial the matter seemed. Now that I am older and more mature I understand that I cannot be an advocate for everything so I must dedicate my time and energy to what I feel is most important. As long as demonstrations or protests for the cause were peaceful and did not harm or damage people or property I would have no problem participating in them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Favorite Places Downtown

Growing up in Phoenix and attending high school downtown, I already had a few favorite places in the area. In high school I loved going to the Burton Barr Central Library and taking the elevator to the fifth floor. Right smack in the middle between the bookshelves are study tables. I loved to sit at one and stare out the life sized glass windows at the Downtown cityscape. Part of the Phoenix skyline is visible and it is absolutely breath taking. On days I felt like journaling or thinking, one could find me there.

Attending ASU's Downtown campus has changed that a bit. The farther I get into my major the more appreciation I have for nature and being outside in general. This is absolutely wonderful for me, since it happens to be cooling off. Increasingly I am finding myself wanting to be outside. I cannot wait for the new civic space to be finished. The area will provide students with shade structures, open areas to recreate in, and ultimately link ASU with the surrounding community.

Check out more about the space at:

This seems to be the ideal place for students and working professionals. A sanctuary in the middle of the city. Getting away without going away.

Until then you can find me in the library...
Preservation and Conservation both work towards a common goal, but approach it very differently. For instance, preservation opposes utilitarian uses or preserved nature. This biocentric view is heavily influenced by transcendentalism. John Muir is often associated as the figure head of the Preservation Movement. Conservation was guided mostly by the politically powerful Gifford Pinchot. With the anthropocentric views of the Conservationists, many natural resource industries such as ranching, mining, timber, and water companies were aligning themselves with this group.

Both preservation and progressive conservation views are demonstrated when it comes to the Pantanal Wetlands in South America. These wetlands have been drained and used for agriculture in the past, but now experts believe that this has caused heavy floods in the rainy seasons, and a lack of water during the dry ones. Currently the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology is conducting research to confirm the importance of these wetlands.

I believe that the remaining wetlands should be preserved. The land should not be used for additional agriculture, especially if heavy flooding and droughts are linked to the lack of wetlands in the area. Ultimately, I feel some of the land will be preserved, but only after extensive research and heavy backing from private or nonprofit preservation groups.

For more information and the whole story check out:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fallin Out Into Nothing

It is amazing to me that despite my midterm exam a mere nine hours away I am still awake after reviewing my study guide listening to music via youtube since I can't quite figure out itunes. (yes, it is a miracle I can even post this blog) I am finding that I have quite the thing for John Mayer. Currently his cover of "Free Fallin" plays through my ipod headphones, since my roommate is long asleep. For the first time I can identify with this song. I feel as if I'm falling away from the world. Only time will tell if I'm letting go of my past and moving into my fated future, or just spiraling rapidly out of control.

I'm a bad boy cause I don't even miss her, I'm a bad boy for breaking her heart.

And I'm free, free fallin, fallin...

He is at home with a broken heart and I am free. Only time will tell if this is for the best or absolute worst. God help us both. It seems that my newfound freedom has shot me into a disorganized, time altered state. The lines between school, sorority, family, and my other extra curriculars are hazing together creating a never ending to-do list with boundless committments. Could it be that I am not cut out for the life of a multi-tasker? I must not let my broken heart whisper to my confused mind. Instead I will wonder out into the open, out into nothing.

Won't somebody catch me?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

John Muir and Transcendentalism

"We all flow from one fountain— Soul. All are expressions of one love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided currents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, saturating all and fountainizing all."

This quote relates heavily to transcendentalism in the respect of nature being one with God. I appreciate that he brings out his love for all nature, not just the eye pleasing scenes that others may find spiritual. It is interesting to me that he goes so far as to say that we can find God in all places, people, and beasts. This to me goes beyond nature, but touches on even the civilized areas. John Muir obviously was way ahead of his time in thought, as he found God in all people. Not only was he standing up for all environments, but equality for all.
I was surprised to learn how free spirited John Muir was. When reading his writings I would never place him for one to hang off of trees during storms. His oneness with nature is astounding. Muir's obvious passion for the subject is inspiring. I hope to be half as passionate about anything as he is about nature. His beliefs are unique and thought provoking. I agree with Muir's philosophy on transcendentalism. I believe God can be found and appreciated in all nature.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nature and Art

Growing up, I had every Disney movie you could think of. I know it sounds silly, but I believe I got most of my ideas from those films. I watched The Little Mermaid countless times, and today my favorite place to be is the beach. Another favorite was Robin Hood. The movie romances the forest depicting valiant rescue and love scenes. I guess this had always led me to believe forested areas are somewhat magical.
I feel that popular culture has so much impact on the way society thinks and behaves. For instance, t-shirts with clever sayings urging the population to "recycle" or "go green" are more a fashion statement than a cause piece. More and more television shows directed at the elemenatry audience are incorporating lessons such as not littering and recycling. America is now feeling the affects of purchasing large SUV's through pollution problems and gas prices. However when owning larger vehicles was popular no one thought twice about the environment.
Art is also influencial, but not as much as popular culture. Art pieces are directed at a certain groups of Americans, while popular culture infleunces and reaches every citizen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I love Damien Rice

Aimee is awesome.

She loves sundresses.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Personal View On Nature

Like many Americans, I have many Judeo-Christian beliefs. I know this must affect my view on nature in a round-about way, but I have yet to feel negatively toward the subject. When I think of nature I simply think of the outdoors. Fields, more specifically. Growing up my family was not one to camp or hike. The most nature intensive activity we took part in was skiing. I believe this has had the most impact on my opinion of nature thus far.
During skiing trips our family would stay in a log cabin near the rim with another family. All of the children would be allowed to play and explore outside for hours at a time. I remember cutting through the neighborhood and crawling under a fence to take our first of many exploratory hikes into the rim. We stumbled upon trees with colored ribbons in them. At the time we did not know they were markers for trees to be removed, rather we thought they were fun to collect. The competition started. The goal was to be the one with the most ribbons. After fourty-five minutes of running through thick pine trees we found ourselves out of breath and lost. After realizing not one of us knew where we were the ribbon count was no longer important. We were four kids surrounded by trees on all sides, jagged rocks sticking out of the earth, and a quickly sinking sun. After a slight panic attack and wondering around for what seemed like hours we finally made it out to the road.
As a child I was one to freak out quite unprovoked needless to say I was breathless until we reached the cabin. Once the fear dissapated I found myself annoyed. How could we enjoy the forest so much only to be swallowed into it's belly? After that trip my attitude towards nature changed. I was no longer one to initiate exploration, but settled on tagging along. I was no longer in awe of it's serene beauty, but aggravated with it's vasteness and complexity.
Knowing this many wonder why I am majoring in Parks and Recreation Management. I feel I have done an injustice to our environment. I have never purposefully disrespected my surroundings, but lacked appreciation for it. I hope to come to terms with and gain respect for nature and the wilderness.