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American Natural History - Essay Example

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Improving Nature Introduction Cronon postulates that the concept of ‘changing the environment’ has radically shifted due to the power of culture in changing people’s choices towards the environment (13). As the years fly, the humanity resorts to a particular concept of improving the environment that fits their everyday needs plus their evolution into capitalists, overlooking the nature of our relationship with the environment as something that is needed to be changed instead…
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American Natural History
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"American Natural History"

Download file to see previous pages These eras are characterized in the essay based on the environmental situation of the Americas and its ways of improving the nature. Lastly, a comparison of the previous and past concepts of improving the nature will also be briefly discussed in this essay. The Colonial Period The Columbian Era October (1492-1502) The highlight of the environmental history of the United States started with Columbus’ arrival in San Salvador. Changes in the Land, written by William Cronon, documented how Columbus’ and other colonists’ arrival marked the beginning of people’s different attitude towards the environment. Columbus’ “Columbian Exchange” made possible the exchanges of diseases, plants, animals, and others that strengthened the link between Europe and America (Magoc 6). Loss of lives was a result of the natives’ willingness and active participation in trading. Mercantilism, which entails the extraction of natural resources for trading, existed between the native Indians and the colonists. By saying so, the gradual destruction of the native Indians’ environment was a result of their willingness in forging trading with the colonists which entails extraction of anything that can be exchanged to the Europeans. In other words, the natives were not forced to engage in trading; they simply did what they think could serve their needs. The precolonial and colonial period were marked by an abundance of natural resources, or as Cronon suggests, “limitless and overflowing” resources (168). The natives believe that their resources are endless, but the arrival of the Europeans made their beliefs changed. The colonists instilled in them the idea that nature’s abundance is limited. Nature, by all means, can be altered, diminished, or affected depending on how and to what extent the resources are used. Furthermore, land ownership has also altered the way the natives view possessions. The Europeans made them believe that even lands can be traded. The natives’ relationship with the land is a transient one, something that made them utilized the land based on how much it can provide them in a given period of time. What they believed to be traded with the colonists is not the land itself, but the rights associated with its use, such as the rights to till and hunt. However, that is not how the Europeans viewed mercantilism. This is enough to say that complacency and confidence towards the Europeans eventually started the destruction of the environment. Using land to trade is environmentally devastating because no one knows how it is going to be utilized. Altering them for mercantilism purposes destructs the whole naturality of the land. Worse, when one gets benefits from the land after a commercial venture, he or she is not satisfied and wants even more from changing the land. Humans are innately not contented creatures. The evidence, as documented by Cronon, was the European’s demand for fur bearing animals and beaver. As a result, beaver’s population diminished and affected the ecological balance. In Cronon’s words, “Beaver dams provided a natural alteration of the ecosystem. Eliminating the dam makers meant recreating the environment” (107). When there were acres of arable land, colonists also flocked the area, and this created a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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