10 thoughts on “nature and civilization”

  1. Yes!
    And so nice to see it expressed as extremes of civilisation and nature. How many people would recognise that those two are even different from each other?

    1. I wonder… If someone lived out in a remote and undeveloped area without electricity or plumbing and never went to a city she might be unaware of what civilization is. And vice versa, there are inner city kids who have never seen a cow, let alone understand that their meat and milk come from cows. A balance between these extremes would definitely be worth trying to achieve!

  2. I agree this quote seeks a balance, but what is a balance? In todays modern world people seem to be trampling over nature and forests like the rainforest in order to obtain cities and more land for homes and industry. But if human completely suffocate the natural world we won’t be able to live either. With out the great rainforests in the world we would suffocate because these forest produce around a third of the worlds oxygen. If humans keep taking away forest for grass plots the heterotrophes (animals) will prodce more carbon dioxide than the autotrophes (plants) can convert back to oxygen and then well either the heterotrophes will begin to die, or well, I don’t know what will happen. So how do you marry civilization and nature in a manner that both can survive?

    1. Thank you, Michelle, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. As you describe so well the current situation on earth is way off balance. There is no perfect answer, but I don’t think we need to revert to hunting and gathering and living in caves to find a balance. Organic and local farming; solar, wind and hydro power; and a sustainable economy (as opposed to one of endless cancerous growth) seem to be taking steps towards balance.

  3. I don’t think that it is possible for us to meet halfway between nature and civilization. If you look around you, everything you see, use, eat, is because of technology, and there is no going back from here. Humans keep developing more and more, and to do so are cutting down forests and becoming more industrial. Everyone needs this, and it is just going become more developed, plus everyone needs all of this technology. The only issues are pollution, loss of resources and so on.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Sorenda. I don’t think nature and technology need to be mutually exclusive. After all, a bow and arrow are technology – Native Americans used them to live in harmony with nature by respectfully taking from her only what was needed, and by thinking and planning ahead with future generations in mind. Any tool or technology can be used to wreak havoc or for a sustainable purpose.

  4. Barry Lopez remains one of the great voices of dignity and illumination. As some of the comments above have attested to, this particular quote can be read a number of ways. What fascinates me about it is his use of the word ‘regret’ in the midst of a statement that appears to be about balance and sustainability. We are generally so detached from what our industrial societies do in order to meet our ‘needs’ that I believe regret would quickly enter the equation if we were to become truly aware of the costs.

    1. Very true. Thanks for weighing in, Julian!

      Focusing on the costs, for example, sometimes I regret having to pay an extra dollar or two for a dozen eggs laid by organically fed, hormone-free and cage-free chickens. But if I didn’t pay for it that way I would regret having to pay with the hormone-induced migraine I would surely get eating ‘regular’ eggs, not to mention living with the knowledge of the great suffering of the chickens who are forced to produce their eggs so unnaturally. It is definitely a dream of mine to live without either regret! I’m sure others can think of many more examples!

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