Nature. So powerful and so important to survival, is being quickly diminished. So why destroy it? Oh that’s right, we need to build more shopping malls, grocery stores, and parking lots. Before civilization, nature was most abundant. Lets remind ourselves that wilderness came first. Then humans.
In the early era of civilization there were hunters and gatherers. Settlers occupied small areas of land. As time went on, they developed better use of their land and expanded their civilization. Burning down trees and discovering new ways to fish was key to survival.
Throughout our reading in class, I have come to associate closely to Wendell Berry’s ideas on wilderness. Berry mentions in his writing “wilderness is the element in which we live encased in civilization, as a mollusk lives in his shell in the sea.” The first settlers were encompassed by the environment. Within the wilderness a civilization was built. The mollusks’ somatic growth is closely related to the evolution of human civilization. When they grow out of their shell, they are on the hunt for a larger one to fill into. This is directly related to human progression. When settlers wanted to expand their civilization, they gathered their belongings to embark on a new destination. They developed superior agricultural techniques and expanded their population size. As Indians progressed from living a sedentary lifestyle to a nomadic life style, they became stronger.
Looking back on the lifestyle Indians experienced versus what we are experiencing today, is completely different. We are surrounded by technology and modern civilization. We work 9-5 hour jobs five days a week. It is for this reason Berry tries to escape the social norm and pack his bag to go camping in the wilderness. Berry mentions in his writing “It is wilderness that for most of us is kept out of sight, camouflaged, by the busyness and the bothers of human society.” It is a fact that we continue to build more cities, grocery stores, parking lots and gas stations. While doing this, we are getting rid of primeval forest. What would our fellow Indians think? Would they be ashamed, frustrated, or in complete bewilderment? We continue to destroy land. Not thinking about the environmental consequences. People are invading environments and slowly destroying what the first settlers thrived on.
Looking into the future, we need to make better decisions. The camping sites some of us look forward to on the weekends will become nonexistent. The travel destinations we all hope to see one day, will no longer be there. It is up to us, and future generations, to put a stop to unnecessary degradation of the environment. Lets try and save what we have left, before we can’t go back.
Citation: Berry, W. (1934). An Entrance to the Woods.