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Nature vs. Man

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English 122

Nature vs. Man
In the world now there are views of what can or should be done with the environment, use what is available to save any animal/plant/bug for the future. Then there are the options that go between those two extremes. Looking at some of the views from our readings as well as other sources, we’ll see what is looked at as right and wrong ways to use and preserve nature. There are many views on how the Earth should be used or preserved, but the how to do it with the world’s increasing population makes the answer so important to those that will come after us.
While not about nature, Aldous Huxley’s “Time and the Machine” talks about time and how man has made himself a slave to time. Knowing that we have a limited amount of time in our lives, many want to do as much to fill that time as can be done. Most in the western world view time as something that needs to be taken advantage of, that there’s always a deadline for creating or making something. In some eastern cultures, there isn’t the hurry seen like we have. They aren’t as concerned for man-made time as they have “not been made conscious of the existence of minutes.” (Huxley, 366) He goes on to say that people living in large cities can live “without being aware of the daily march of the sun across the sky; without ever seeing the moon and stars.” (Huxley, 366) This goes to show that people are too into the passing of time and don’t look at taking time to relax and exist with nature.
Another view is that the environment is there so you can reflect on life. In Annie Dillard’s “The Present”, that is the view taken. The water from the creek is seen as something that rejuvenates the spirit and fills the soul with joy. She says that “Trees stir memories, live waters heal them.” (Dillard, 356) Thinking of nature like that would make people want to do more to save the environment. Having a place to go off to where you can see natural beauty can help someone see the world in another light and give them the strength to go on and face the troubles in front of them.
Some believe that the environment should be protected no matter the cost or lives that could be endangered. In Edward Abbey’s “Eco-Defense”, he shows the more militant side of environmental protection. He speaks about the earth as something that needs to be protected, as if it were self-defense. He talks about the “industrial mega-machine which is now attacking the American wilderness…our ancestral home” (Abbey, 349), and how he believes we have the right to defend that home “by whatever means are necessary” (Abbey, 349). He goes on to tell how his aunt in West Virginia spikes trees to keep them from being cut down, but doesn’t say anything about the lives that are threatened by doing something like that. Lucky for his aunt this was written in 1985. In 1988 tree spiking was declared a federal felony (Tree Spiking). In fact even the co-founder of the group Earth First!, Judi Bari, renounced the use of spiking as a tactic as it could injure loggers and mill workers.
Eco-terrorism is defined by as terrorism or sabotage committed in the name of environmental causes ( There are numerous groups that commit eco-terrorism in the United States. Two of the worst are the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). There were believed to be responsible for over 600 criminal actions and $43 million in damages (Leader). Some of the actions they take are meant to cause property damage, such as arson, sabotage and vandalism. Others, like the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who had a show on the Discovery Channel, work to get in the way of whaling boats to save whales from overfishing. Their tactics however are controversial. The only whalers that fish the Antarctic waters are Japanese, and their methods and reasoning for taking whales is controversial as well. Paul Watson, the leader of the Sea Shepherd, has even been called a violent extremist by Greenpeace (Paul). While his cause would seem to be just, his way of going about it leaves something to be desired. Sinking ships in port, making threats to whalers and ramming ships on the open seas is generally not safe or a way to change minds.
There are many ways to see and want to work with nature. In the instance of “Time and the Machine”, we see how we’ve taken nature out of our lives to the point that we don’t see the days or nights, and some don’t see the sky for days at a time because of where they live and work. In “The Present” we can see how nature can be lived in and with, used as something to give peace to a person’s soul. “Eco-Defense” tells of doing whatever necessary to protect the environment. Even with the ability to do anything for the environment, it’s not always the best thing to do. While we need to do what we can for the Earth, we shouldn’t take the chance of hurting others when there are laws that are available to keep people from harming the Earth.

Citations Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
Abbey, Edward. “Eco-Defense.” Missy James and Alan Merickel. Reading Literature and Writing Argument. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2013. 348-349. Print.
Dillard, Annie. “The Present.” Missy James and Alan Merickel. Reading Literature and Writing Argument. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2013. 356-357. Print.
Huxley, Aldous. “Time and the Machine.” Missy James and Alan Merickel. Reading Literature and Writing Argument. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2013. 365-366. Print.
"Tree Spiking." Green Politics. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
Leader, Stefan, and Peter Probst. "THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT AND ENVIRONMENTAL TERRORISM." Taylor & Francis. 2003. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.
"Paul Watson: Sea Shepherd Eco-warrior Fighting to Stop Whaling and Seal Hunts." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 17 Apr. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

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