Blog 1

Blog 1

Cox prompt: Is wilderness merely a symbolic construction? Does this matter to whether or not you want to protect it?

In 1964, congress designated “wilderness” areas to be defined under the following definition through the 1964 Wilderness Act:

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man [sic] and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

Based on this definition and my own inherent connotation to the word “wilderness,” in my opinion wilderness is not merely a symbolic construction – when taking account the distinction that with humans there are clearly areas that man has completely touched and made its own over the course of humankind, these non-touched areas inherently feel like “wilderness.” I also feel that wilderness areas are declining over the years due to humans touching more and more each day – and possibly even having touched every part of the earth, stretching to the bottom depths of the ocean.

Furthermore, because I do not feel that wilderness is simply a symbolic construct, I feel it has incredibly significance in defining the natural state of the world without human intervention. When I am given the chance to freely enter nature, and specifically an “untouched” area of “wilderness” define using the above definition, I feel connected in a way that cannot be embodied in words. Everything just seems right during these moments – without the hustle and bustle of modern cities, life goes on in these natural areas and feels tranquil and like an equilibrium in comparison. This internal affection for wilderness areas does make me want to protect them and preserve them for further generations to feel connected with.

One quote that resonates with my opinion on protecting wilderness and the importance of leaving cities was referenced by Cox while discussing the European colonists initial lack of value toward nature in North America. Cox referenced Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder: “he argues in an age of increased technology that we must remember how direct exposure to nature is essential for emotionally and physically healthy human development and our ability to respond to current environmental crises.”

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