running head: Apart or A part of nature
title of paper: Apart or A part of nature that is the question author name: Tyler J. Shepard
institutional affiliation: University of Washington Tacoma
May 21, 2017 The first question that must be asked today is are we a part from nature or are we apart of nature? The way it is written matters greatly for the argument. If we say we are a part of nature then we are saying we are a piece of nature. Whereas if we say we are apart of nature what we are saying is that we are in a different sphere, not a member of nature.
If we use a dictionary as a respectable source we find a middle finger to the concept of apart of nature. Why is this? This hopefully will be answered below.
“the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations”(google dictionary, 2017.) I have an issue with this idea. I personally feel that we aren’t above nature. We are a part of nature. However, in order to be objective I must show both sides of the story. It should be declared that I will use the term native people in order to explain the abstract because it would be hard to define how all tribes would think about the world. While it is much smarter as a writer to be clear it is hard to do so in this essay.
How can we say that our actions don’t impact nature? This is the most mind boggling question that I have ever taken on. No chapter can declare critically why this is the case. So, with no chapter coming out with the answer I guess it is up to me.
I feel that America and the rest of the world brought this idea of being apart from nature into creation by combining two issues. The first is this idea that you can just take land. This idea became popular because the Church chose to invite people to the new world.
“In 1493 Pope Alexander VI issued his Inter Caetera bull, which laid down the basic Christian attitude toward the New World: “Among other works well pleasing to the Divine Majesty and cherished of our heart, this assuredly ranks highest, that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and everywhere increased and spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself” (Deloria, 1994.)
What this sounds like to me is the Pope is saying it is God’s will that you move to the new world and save others. Also, it is ok to cut down trees because you are following God’s will. God is the all powerful master of the universe Killing and destroying nature is ok.
The second issue I see is from the Bible. A phrase from the bible causes me to think – The idea that God made man into his image. Why is it just man to be made in the image of God. If we explore the question using the Hebrew Bible also known as the Old testament we find this passage from the Book of Genesis: “And God said: ‘Let us make man in our image/b’tsalmeinu, after our likenesss/kid’muteinu; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female created He them. And God blessed them; and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.'” (Gen 1:26-28.)
So, are you saying that God is all powerful and because humans are made in his image they are all powerful and better than other creatures? If that is the case it isn’t shocking to see people of the earth forming an idea that they are God in human form eg they are beyond all other creatures. The pope told them to go and conger the new world because God told you so; the word of God told them that you are the kings and queens of everything that isn’t human. Do with it as you please. This idea is one such idea that I cannot get behind. The reason is because I am living in an area of the world where I can see real issues within the real world. It is not abstract. Theory has no place in my corner of the world: fact rules. My state is combating a major issue that humans are causing. We have not yet fixed our atomic program.
Yes at the time of this writing I understand that we are not going toward atomic war. However, we once were. And if that day should ever come to pass mother nature is going to have a bad day. Our most powerful weapons can kill all birds, all dogs, all trees all persons, because of this fact we shouldn’t use it. The bomb doesn’t give a shit what falls under its touch. It kills without any care.
We made that weapon. If we use it then we are risking nature. Even if we never drop the bomb, and I hope we never drop the bomb, the process to make it is destroying our land.
Look at the Hanford Site in Washington State, and the environmental impact it has caused during the 26 years I have been on this earth.
What we see is toxic sludge spewing out of tanks that are old and thusly cannot contain the yuckyness that is inside them. What is this yuckyness? I cannot say. When I think about it in my head I am thinking about water that is brown. I am also thinking of those who must handle the yuckyness. They must ware protective suits and breathing masks when they deal with this stuff. But what of the animals and trees and the soil? Do they get a breathing mask and suit? I would say nay not today. They must defend for themselves and may die because of it.
The government acts like it cares but money is the main issue. They declare that it costs much to fix the leaking tanks quickly. I have an issue with this idea – if I gave you a dollar and said here you go friend this dollar is yours. What did I just give you really? I gave you a green peace of paper that in all honesty means nothing. We just call it money and we give it value.
So, mr. Government official your argument that you don’t have enough money to fix this issue is a moot point because we have enough because money isn’t real. Money is either a flat, typically round piece of metal with an official stamp, or a piece of paper that has some old long dead white dude’s face on it with an inc number declaring its value. Money is only what we make it. So, if you really cared about nature then you would fix the leaking issue post haste.
Sadly, the pulls of doctron and greed play a role in this conversation. I would contend that Doctrine and greed are vices. What good can come from blindly following a book that was written 3500 years ago? After all, we were not alive to ask the author his views on a topic, or perhaps the topics of which we debate about today were not even in the realm of understanding when the book was composed. I have found that translation leads to confusion. The Bible has been translated many many many times by many many many men.
As I have shown blind faith impacts a person’s ability to think with their brain critically. However, money is always an issue. As I stated above, the government controls the purse of the nation. Thusly, they determine what the nation’s money will be used for. When you ask them why they would not use the money to help their fellow man they may argue that they have the freedom to do so. After all, we are man and have the freedom to make choice. Freedom of choice raises another fun conversation.
The issue we face is that freedom, while awesome, doesn’t make us better than our animal family members. Yes we have the freedom to choose to not spend money on fixing a leaky tank however, “It is the misuse of freedom, the employment of it as a weapon for overcoming the world of feeling, that makes man so infinitely more terrible than the lower animals; for they do only what momentary instinct bids them; while man acts by ideas, and his ideas may entail universal ruin before they are satisfied” (Schopenhauer, 2012.)
If we don’t do anything man may not be able to use some water. I fear that the yuckyness will land in our water source. That can lead to an issue. You will have damned us because you chose to do nothing.
Thankfully I join a long line of supporters. Why are native people so against the idea of us being beyond nature? I can answer this question with a clear statement. Native people care about climate change because they understand what the planet is going through.
I am not the only one who could say such a thing. Two elders have spoken on this topic extensively. One did it on a Ted Talk type event while the other wrote of it in his book. Both of these elders are wise and thusly it is wise for us to learn from them.
The first elder is named Robin Kimmerer. In her youtube video Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass, she spoke of her grandmother being forced to leave her home.
“and I imagine my grandmother trailing her hand along her medison plants, saying a silent goodbye” (Bioneers, 2014.)
What amazes me the most is the writings of Doctor Wildcat and how close his diction matches with Ms. Kimmerer’s.
In his book red alert Dr. Wildcat talks about the forced migration of thousands of native people. The most current forced migration is being caused by governments and their way of life.
“So when nearly a decade ago I began hearing the reports of what was beginning to manifest itself on the landscapes and seascapes of the circumpolar arctic and banks of the Yukon River in Alaska, I got angry. Angry because I thought, Here we go again-another removal of indigenous peoples. Three Removals, Now a Fourth (wildcat, 2012.)
This concept is important for him because dr. Wildcat views the world in terms of space. If your water source is changing and the temperature is also changing then you could lose your space. According to native people space is linked to identity.
Native people from the Great Plains honor the bison while people from the northwest honor the salmon. You cannot ask a person from the northwest to honor the bison because it means nothing to them. If we destroy nature spaces then we could find cultures and identity being destroyed.
Let us consider this story. If the people of the polar areas of the world are forced to move from the space which forms their culture identity to the Northwest of the United States, what value do they have left? Space is important for native people, people from the arctic have no connection to the culture in the Northwest. They are just like you dear reader if you were an immigrant to a odd land and an odd culture. It would be pure culture shock. Dr. Wildcat wrote this about what I have been saying in this section.
“The fact that today the mainstream American culture is increasingly homogenized is indicative of the degree to which the way most Americans, in this modern, or, if you choose, postmodern, society, live with diminished and shallow connections to the places where they live.
Indigenous realism encourages humankind to reexam-ine ancient knowledges that were emergent from our ancestors’ interaction with a place and, more importantly, to carefully examine useful knowledges that lay dormant but ready to emerge in the diverse ecosystems and landscapes surrounding us” (Wildcat, 2012.)
Knowledge has much to do with place. Just as place has much to do with knowledge.
I hope this essay causes you to think about man’s impact on nature. While it is true that I am no professor of philosophy, what also is true is that I am not worried to speak my truth. That is the best tool that I have. My truth is my truth not yours or even the president’s. I choose to use it because it is important. Works Cited
[Bioneers] (2014, November 14.) Robin Kimmerer – Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass . Retrieved from https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cumEQcRMY3c
Deloria, V. (1994.) God Is Red: A Native View of Religion (updated edition). Golden Colo: FULCRUM PUBLISHING.
Nature. Google search using the Oxford College English Dictionary. https://www.google.com/search?q=nature+define+&btnG=Search
Schopenhauer, A. (2012.) Human Nature. Start Publishing LLC.
Wildcat, D. (2009). Red alert!: saving the planet with indigenous knowledge.