Take-Home Essay The world we live in today is always changing, whether it be technology or the land. As these changes take place, society must adapt to them. Many things begin to change as a result of this and society beings to turn into something completely different. One of the most overlooked changes that takes place is that of the environment and landscape. The landscape is one of the most important parts of our society’s culture and has a great effect on how we live.
It seems that nowadays, many individuals are taking advantage of the land and nothing appreciating it for every thing that it is worth. Its true that not everyone is going to look at the environment and landscape in the same way, however that is no excuse to disrespect it. Then again, a whole new argument can start from that, as different individuals are going to have different views on what disrespecting the land. Many positive things have come from taking advantage of the land, and also, there have been many negative things to come as a result of this. It all depends on how you look at it. One thing is for sure though, no matter what the case is, the land and environment we live in plays a huge part in each of our everyday lives.
Our landscape is constantly changing, since the Big Bang Theory to present day. There are many different factors which can a huge impact on the shaping of the land. There are many natural disasters such as floods, typhoons, earthquakes, hurricanes, and even wildfires. They can change the face of the landscape and they can change the shape of the landscape. Then there is also the human factor.
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Many huge companies and businesses are always taking advantage, or as Denis Wood refers to as in “The Spell of the Land,” the raping of the land. It is a very rare sight to being driving nowadays and not see some type of building being built or a future sight of some type of business. There is nothing that can be done when looking at the natural disaster factor, but as for the human factor, there are steps that people can do to prevent the “raping” of the land. Again, like I touched upon in the introduction, not all usage of the land by companies is a negative thing. It all depends on your opinion, and the piece of land that is being used. Things such as highways and interstates have made many individuals everyday lives much more easier.
On the other hand, precious land has been destroyed and torn apart in order to create these two things. Many restaurants and department stores are also guilty of this too. Now these are things that we could live without, but many would argue that they make live much easier. A quote from earlier in the semester from John B.
Jackson states that “landscape is a concrete, three-dimensional shared reality” can be used a good base argument to support the usage of the land in these situations. Some will argue that the land is there to be used, and we as a society need to take full advantage of that, wether its building a park, or building a shopping mall. Then there are those who look at the landscape in a whole different light, and place much more value on it than those fortune 500 companies. They believe that the land is a sacred thing, and therefore should not be tampered with. There is no right or wrong view, its all a matter of what you believe in and value. Also in the film, “Taken For a Ride,” it shows power as being a major force in shaping the landscape.
The film focuses on the effects the large companies in the world and the products they produce can have. It shows how cities all across the United States have changed because of the developments in transportation, such as how street cars were a main fixture found within a lot of cities, and now have pretty much flourished except for in a few select cities. In “The Book of Yaak,” the author Rick Bass touches on many reasons why the land he lives in should be protected. Here is a man who cares deeply for the land, and goes to great lengths to get Congress to take notice of the importance of the Yaak. He values the land for more than simply just the land. His views are like that of many people in society today.
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You don’t have to be an environmentalist, park ranger, or something along those lines to value the land. The landscape is necessary for humans to understand the true meaning of the world. Things such as lakes, rivers, mountains, trees, rocks, hills, and animals each play a specific and valuable role in the environment. Each serves its own purpose, and without each, the environment and landscape would not be what it is. For example, I use paper in my everyday life, and eat meat just about everyday, and these products are from trees and animals, which both come from the landscape.
I am very appreciative of these things, and am very thankful to the landscape for them. I don’t consider a situation such as this, as “raping” the land or using the land in a negative way. Then again, some people may. If the animal was close to becoming extinct or on a protection list, then I would definitely consider it “raping” the land, or if the trees which were being used for paper products are coming from a protected area, or an area scarce with trees, then that would also definitely be considered “raping” or destroying the landscape. In “The Land Ethic” by Aldo Leopold, he says, “It is inconceivable to me that an ethical relation to land can exist without love, respect, and admiration for land, and a high regard for its value. By value, I of course mean something far broader than mere economic value; I mean value in the philosophical sense.” Leopold makes a valid point with that quote, as it is true that a relationship with the land can’t exist without love, respect and value for it.
There are many individuals who simply value the land for its economic value, like Leopold touched upon. These are the big businesses and companies who are only concerned with making money, and could careless about what they are doing to the environment and landscape. They have no value or respect for the land, as in this case, the all mighty dollar is the only thing that matters. Power is always a nice thing to have, and when dealing with landscape and the protection of landscape, power is a great thing to have. The more power you have, and the higher up on the social scale you are, the level of influence on decisions regarding the landscape are going to be high. However, the more people make their voices heard, and the more they do to protect the land they love and value more than money, the greater chance they have of increasing the possibility of making a difference.
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It may be all about power, but I feel that, that power can be overcome with love and dedication, and that is exactly what those who care about the land have. The shaping of landscape today can also be attributed to Native Americans, as they have done many things to shape the landscape. They were known to use fire to clear land so they could plant different types of crops, make travel easier, reduce insect pests, reduce potential cover for enemies, enhance conditions for berries, drive game, and several other purposes, as fire was one of their only tools. These frequent burnings changed dark shaded forests to a sun filled area with, large thick trees. Some may consider this a positive thing, and others may view it as a negative thing.
However, the Native Americans have been known to with in peace and harmony with the land, neither taking more than they needed, nor altering the land. Many areas which were burned by the Native Americans can now been seen as grasslands and prairies found in Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and western New York… “Yet poking around is a guaranteed way to learn. Ideas, after all, start with sense impressions; and all learning comes from making connections among observations and ideas.
Insight is born of analogy. Everything interesting is complicated. Since truth is in the details, seekers of the truth should look for it there.” This quote is from “Winter Creek,” by Kathleen Moore, and is a good example on how an individual can become one with the land. Throughout “Winter Creek,” Moore talks about how going out in the landscape and just “poking” around is a great way to discover the land. When one goes out into nature, the best thing to do is keep an open mind about things, and just take in everything for what it is. If one is to analyze everything they encounter in the landscape to the tiniest little detail, it takes away from the true meaning of it.
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Simply go out into whatever landscape it is, and be a kid again, with a great big imagination. Looking under rocks, climbing a tree, picking flowers are all great ways of “poking” around and getting to know the land and environment. Doing such activities is a great way for a person to really appreciate the true beauty of the land on a much deeper scale. In conclusion, landscape and the environment play a great part on our lives whether we realize it or not. It is impossible to get everyone to see this, and to get everyone to value and respect this great land we live on at the same level some individuals do. Many factors throughout time have changed and shaped the landscape, and as the years go by, the land is going to continue to change.
This may be a good thing, or it may be a bad thing, only time will tell. However one things is for sure, and that is no matter what the circumstance is, no one can ever take away the true beauty of the landscape. Buildings maybe being built, or stores being constructed, but for a person who values the landscape for simply more than what it is, all the splendid ness of the land and environment will never fade away. That is something that an individual will always have, and nothing can take that away.