Paul Wapner: Living Through the End of Nature

W both the dreams of nature and mastery can be mistaken is our current approach to conservationism The standard approach is to draw a fence around an area of wilderness and declare that on one side ies nature and on the other man But this does not work out uite as we imagine There are always humans Chore Whore living on the border of wilderness spaces typically people who either make theirivelihoods from the creatures and plants within even something as simple as gathering firewood from a forest or who find the creatures and plants within pests that disturb their The Forgotten Man Graphic Edition lives such as predators in a wildlife preserve preying on their domesticated animalsAnd these spaces are often not the pure wildness we imagine them to be The Grand Canyon for example had tribes of Native Americansiving in them for ten thousand years at the time it was declared a national park The people who had The Female of the Species lived there were kicked out all the evidence of their former presence removed and then the Grand Canyon was declared pristine wilderness Stewards of the EarthIn the end the book argues that modern environmentalism can and in fact is already rapidly becoming an active stewardship by mankind of nature s wildness Everything from growing coral reefs to measuring entire ecosystems with thousands of tiny devices known as motes While at first glance this may seemike the dream of mastery the important difference is that it is not domination not bending nature s resources to man s needs Instead it is cultivationEnvironmentalism s primary message today use fewer resources by changing our personal habits is the author says a fool s errand Partially this is because global climate change as one example is already set in motion and cannot be undone even if we drop our consumption to zero today But importantly it attempts to fight against that part of us that wants to grow consume and materially experience the many facets of Witch Week (Chrestomanci, life This is the part of us that thrives on human ingenuity and the breaking of various kinds of barriers Cutting back calls on us to curtail this dimension of ourselves It asks us to turn off the urge for material things greater convenience and ease In this sense the message of sacrifice has an almost misanthropic ring to it It suggests a dislike of humans since our numbers are so high and our material acuisitiveness and its accompanying energy use is so significant Misanthropy is a difficult politics to advice and sustainInstead he argues for seeking ways to use technology to help heal the earth for example investing in an array of orbital space optics to filter out some uantity of the sun s rays buying time while we attempt to convert away from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy This reuires both acknowledgment of global warming as a massive problem worth investing huge amounts of capital into at theevel of national or world government a difficult admission for dream of mastery people But it also reuires acknowledgment that humanity is not going to drastically reduce its population or energy use habits through sheer finger wagging a difficult admission for dream of nature peopleOne criticism one could Memory Boot Camp level against this stewardship of the earth argument is that man has often attempted this in the past and in doing so made the mess much worse Ecosystems are hugely complex and our knowledge of how they work is still sparse A famous example would be the way that the US forestry department put out all forest fires in national forests for many years thereby blocking a critical part of the nature process ofife old dead growth periodically being cleared out to make way for new growth History is London Calling littered with incidentsike this But to counter my own counterargument perhaps there is no other choice we Orchard Valley Grooms ll make some mistakes but eventuallyearn how to effectively cultivate ecosystems of all sorts Wrap upIn a rare personal moment the author gives a telling take on the Croma Venture: The Spiral Wars, Book 5 life of an environmentalist Many of us as environmentalists are a pretty sorryot to hang out with We walk around angry at our fellow citizens for the way they suander resources and fail to appreciate the preciousness of the earth and voice a constant complaint about global and regional ineuities when it comes the distribution of the earth s bounty We Rancher Daddy (Saddlers Prairie, look around at our societies and findittle to admireThe book s wording is something a bit The Tycoons Very Personal Assistant lofty and I suspect simpleranguage would have made it a smoother read At the same time the poetic One Girl One Dream language it uses to capture the deep passions the author has for wilderness its wonder its beauty its danger made its message poignant The author s passion for nature and the environment shone through in an inspirational way And yet the author s approach to thinking about these problems is pragmatic and analytical He acknowledges that environmentalism is fundamentally a religious or perhaps we should say spiritual issue So is the dream of mastery see Ayn Rand Feelings of this nature can and should drive our purposes as individuals and as a society and yet they must be tempered by and managed with critical thinking and pragmatic analysis In that Living Through the End of Nature is a powerful and inspiring example Well thought out and thoroughly explainedThis is a great volume for those who areooking for a way to see passed the political binary that is environmental politics today It is honest well reasoned and hopeful A nice change from the absolute doom and gloom of environmental The Amazing SAS literature Advocates a middle path between reifying a concept of pure nature and asserting that the world is so fallen that there s nothing conceivably wildeft I ve been trying to figure out who the target audience was for this book it certainly wasn t me I felt as if I was reading a psychology text The discussion of the historical schism between the ideas of naturalism and mastery was clear and fairly well written as was the explanation of the end of nature I was pretty familiar with these ideas before reading this book so I read these sections pretty uickly I was disappointed in the how do we respond discussion I guess I was hoping for some concrete discussion of how to use the end of nature thinking to actually make decisions regarding humanity s place on the planet Instead I felt as if the author s objective was to reduce cognitive dissonance without any real solutions to the many challenges we fac. Technological utopia He proposes a third way that takes seriously the breached boundary between humans and nature and charts a co evolutionary path in which environmentalists exploit the tension between naturalism and mastery to build a sustainable ecologically vibrant and socially just worldBeautifully written and thoughtfully argued Living Through the End of Nature provides a powerful vision for environmentalism's futur.

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This slim book was surprisingly refreshing in presenting opposing ends of the debate on environmental preservation with one end valuing unblemished nature as the highest good and the other espousing the innate right of mankind to subdue and use his environment for his own benefit Thinking out of the box and trying to understand both perspectives made for interesting reading Too many books on the environment are doom and gloom as the writer puts it without trying to explain the reasons we continue to devastate nature with seemingly no restraint However Wapner falls short of elucidating any convincing practical solution which I guess is expected given the sheer complexity and scale of the problems The proposed middle path between naturalism and human mastery ends up frustratingly vague and difficult to envision It was sad and The Conquerors Lady / The Mercenarys Bride / His Enemys Daughter lovely to read the words of people my own age wrestling with the same joy and despair I feel Iove this world and am so angry and sad about the ravages of man made climate change Reading this was Broken Prophecy like going to a grief group Wapner makes a good helpful argument Stop trying to keep nature and humanity in separate but competing compartments because we already co exist in every compartment Instead figure out how to co exist in a mutually beneficial way The argument could be made briefly and simply but Wapner must deal with the complexities of passionate positions among environmentalists past and present He must show that he understands their arguments so he briefly recaps the discourses of nature protectionists He even shows real understanding for advocates of technological mastery over nature The aim is to harmonize all insights into a greater subtleess ideological uest for a better shared future In Living Through the End of Nature Paul Wapner informs us of the progression of American environmentalism The novel takes the reader through the history of interaction between man and nature and addresses his theory of a post nature age Wapner points out what modern environmentalists have to do in order to ive in peace with nature without completely stopping human technological advances Within the novel Wapner makes sure to structure the book to emphasize the most important points with future environmentalism He makes sure to include different opinions about the subject from many naturalists with varying views Although I found the structure and writing of the book intriguing as I continued reading the sections seemed to drag on with the same repeated topics The initial debate on whether humans and nature could coexist in harmony was fascinating but the tangled concepts about the one subject made the book difficult to understand at times Overall I give this book a 45 on GoodReads I oved reading a book where the author explains both sides of the spectrum when discussing modern environmentalism and still had the courage to address the intimidating future I would recommend this to book to an older audience because of the complexity of the writing but if you truly enjoy debates on this topic Surrender My Heart (Harts in Love, like myself this would be the perfect book The book that environmentalism has been waiting for Logically argued and emotionally appealed this book reuests for the systemic changes within the ideologies governing the notion of development andife The environmental thought is haunted by the end of nature or rather ends of nature as Wapner properly names it for some time now and it seems that few have tried to sketch the possible way forth and fewer yet if any succeeded in finding a strong ground a new paradigm for environmentalism Paul Wapner in this uite nicely written and easily readable book tried to do this Did he succeed I m not very convincedIn the first half of the book Wapner skillfully but with not enough philosophical precision in my opinion analyses the presumptions or paradigms underlying the environmental debate for decades His distinction between dream of naturalism and dream of mastery is a good analytical conceptualization and enables him to pinpoint some of the important beliefs and reveal metaphysical bases of both environmentalists and eco skeptics Though this dichotomy is not entirely novel basically it s very akin to the distinction between ecobiocentric approach on one hand and anthropocentric on the other the analysis is fairly thorough and allows the reader to fully realize the hiatus between the two worldviews and understand that there cannot possibly be any meaningful debate between themAs Wapner shows both these dreams build upon fundamental even metaphysical distinction between nature and humans The dream of naturalism takes nature as the standard against which the true good right and beautiful is measured On the other hand the dream of mastery does the opposite proclaiming humanity as the measure of truth goodness rightness and beauty In both cases he nicely shows how the opposite groups environmentalists and eco skeptics employ these beliefs and assumptions in their agenda and argumentation He then argues that neither of them is philosophically nor practically tenable in a post nature age The second half is dedicated to charting a possible way forward I agree with the author that maintaining the aforementioned dichotomy and even holding to the notion of nature as something fundamentally other than human and with no human intervention is a no go or at The Wedding Challenge (The Matchmaker least a dead end However his proposition about choosing a middle path in form of realizing that we cannoteave nature alone and thus it s upon us to decide what ie how much destroyed world we want to Quadruplets On The Doorstep live in appears to me as a road to relativistic hellThere are two things I see as the most problematic1 It s nice and probably also good to get rid of the dream of naturalism and some untenable metaphysical assumptions that go with it But if the skeptics do not abandon the dream of mastery as well won t the environmentalism justoose its ground and accepting some parts of the mastery discourse as Wapner advises give the skeptics a warm feeling that they have been right all along And it s very Luke likely that they won t abandon it Why should they The dream is here ateast 300 years when Francis Bacon called to scholars for nature to be bound into service hounded in her wanderings and put on the rack and tortured for her secrets and since then it brought us here in the North prosper. How environmentalism can reinvent itself in a postnature age a proposal for navigating between naive naturalism and technological arroganceEnvironmentalists have always worked to protect the wildness of nature but now must find a new direction We have so tamed colonized and contaminated the natural world that safeguarding it from humans is no onger an option Humanity's imprint is now everywhere and all efforts to preserv.

Ity and well being never seen before Does Wapner think that by doing this environmentalism can attract people from the other side To me it seems ike telling them OK go on with what you re doing just try to do a A Bride For A Blue-Ribbon Cowboy littleess of it From the economic perspective it apppears as a sort of chimera similar to environmental economy compared to ecological or green economy In some parts Wapner even openly admits his sympathy for further development just replacing fossil fuels with renewables and the The Witnesses (Lancaster Burning like This to me is of a death trap than way forward not only for environmentalism but for the humanity as a whole Wapner sees this danger pp 211 212 and claims that For without the god of humanity behind the dream of mastery environmentalists can gesture toward such a dream without worrying about abandoning established and cherished principles And that s precisely where he is plainly wrong did the skeptics revoke the god of humanity or are they about to do so I m not saying that we should also hold to the dream of naturalism and its untenable principles and assumptions uite the contrary as I said before Holding to them can be and often already is also very undermining for the environmental movement I just don t see Wapner s way as the right way forward That is related to the second problematic point of his work as I see it2 Reading the book published in 2010 I had a strong feeling that environmentalism is somehow missing the train The critiue thateads Wapner and others eg Steven Vogel whose new book Thinking Like a Mall Environmental Philosophy After the End of Nature I m about to read next to trying to find new ways for environmental discourse and movement is than 20 years old Bill McKibben published The End of Nature at the end of 80 s and the eco criticism that deconstructed the idea of nature flourished mainly in the 90 s A than a decade ater the only answer Wapner can offer is what a surprise embracing the ambiguity of the current postmodern situation and earn to ive with paradoxes Where is the invention here It just reveals that the environmentalism may still be confined in its own bubble One can rather read a plethora of postmodern philosophers sociologists political theorists and others that reflected this general situation years ago and proposed similar way of dealing with it but with philosophical precision and probably even with invention Unfortunately I didn t read them yet so I m unable to compare it betterI m probably doing environmentalism an injustice generalizing from Wapner s book There are surely many environmental theorists that deal with the situation in better and inventive ways My reaction is probably exaggerated a bit and that is mainly because the book tries to sell the ideas as the only viable way for the movement or at east the most viable and because the book actually hit the nail on the head in revealing what I take to be the biggest problem and challenge of environmentalism today that it is unable to deal with the postmodern situation and all the critiue it brought whether stemming from the biophysical situation of the world concepts deconstruction or some strains of the evolution biology and come up with a strong and fruitful philosophical and practical stance that would offer a genuine way forward and a real alternative to the mainstream thought economics and politics Wapner s book highlighted this and not by criticizing the dream of naturalism but by the chimeric alternative it offersThere is however one aspect of the alternative the author proposes that is definitely worth consideration and that is the shift in the meaning of wilderness or rather wildness pp 162 163 from the notion of nature untamed by humans which is as many authors rightly show a very ethnocentric or even racist concept based on colonialist view of the Americas in 15th century to a notion of otherness that can be found both outside and inside us here to my great pleasure Wapner cites David Abram This kind of wildness is for me precisely what we should try to protect and maybe even cultivate as George Monbiot elouently describes in his recent book Feral A book called The End of Nature published in 1997 presented the idea that nature as we know it is gone Pure wilderness untouched by humans no The Best Revenge (Redstone, Incorporated longer exists Every drop of seawater every cubic meter of air in the atmosphere even the global temperature have been affected by the byproducts of human civilizationThis book Living Through the End of Nature takes the end of nature as a premise and asks what environmentalists those who cherish the non human parts of the earth wilderness and worry about the Earth s capacity to sustain humanife should do now The Dual Dreams of Nature and MasteryThe book argues that public debates on the subject of nature and the environment are rarely fruitful because of the divergent philosophies brought to the table by the participants The book identifies two key philosophies on this frontThe first is what the author calls the dream of nature This philosophy values alignment with the natural world This is everything from taking pleasure in the beauty of forests and mountains to taking cues from the natural world about how we should Ranchers Perfect Baby Rescue live ourives what food we should eat how we should build our homes what clothes we should wear Even the word nature implies this value what is natural is what is true and right what is unnatural is that which should be avoidedThe second is what the author calls the dream of mastery This philosophy believes that what is true and right can be found inside human nature Our reason our morality our compassion Nature is savage cruel and without ethics humans can rise above our primal animal origins to become something greater Our mastery of the planet we Silent Confessions live on is a profound triumph of the things that make humans different from the rest of natureThe author argues that both worldviews are outdated Wildness untouched by humanity noonger exists and man as a create separate from nature is social constructivism He argues that we should instead seek a third philosophy one that draws from both We find aspects of both naturalism and mastery alive within us Most of us A Texas Holiday Miracle like the idea ofetting nature take its course when it is convenient to do so and altering nature s trajectory when it becomes appealing or necessary Indeed we 74 Seaside Avenue live ourives doing bothOne example of ho. E nature reuire extensive human intervention At the same time we are repeatedly told that there is no such thing as nature itself only our own conceptions of it One person's endangered species is another's dinner or source of income In Living Through the End of Nature Paul Wapner probes the meaning of environmentalism in a postnature ageWapner argues that we can neither go back to a preindustrial Elysium nor forward to