Nature is Key

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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.

My initial Chesapeake Ethic

I have lived in San Diego, California my entire life. How did I end up going across the country and away from the big blue Pacific Ocean? I have done my fair share of traveling. I would consider an airport my second home at this point. Early mornings and late nights spent at different destinations. I guess I should mention my mom is a flight attendant. I have had the opportunity most people will never get to experience. I get to travel to Europe every summer, take day trips to Hawaii, New York, Florida or any place really. Every winter, spring or summer break growing up; we were in a new destination. Throughout my travels, I have experienced different cultures and livelihoods. When I got the opportunity to move all the way to the east coast, it really was not a big deal.

Traveling and living somewhere is completely different. As a San Diegan, we are worried about ways to conserve water, limit ocean pollution, and which Mexican restaurant to choose for dinner. You think I’m kidding. I was raised in a very populated area. Houses are squished together with very little room to breathe. When I graduated from high school I couldn’t wait to experience something completely different. When I toured Washington College, I felt like I could breathe again. Being surrounded by cornfields, agriculture and acres of land was something I wasn’t used to seeing on a daily basis. Moncrief mentions in his article that it is hard to find an area of piece and quiet. I had experienced just that living in San Diego. It was time for me to spread my wings and embark on a new adventure.

When I moved into Washington College, I didn’t know very much. I knew it was about 45 minutes away from Annapolis and that it was right on the Chester River. I did not know the history and historic culture that surrounded Chestertown. This is what interested me. I knew all about California and what it had to offer. I was ready to learn a new area.

I have now learned the importance of the bay and the impacts we, as human have on it. Men are up at the crack of dawn crabbing and dredging for oysters every day. So many farmers and fishermen rely so heavily on the bay as a source of income. There is still so much knowledge that I need to absorb. I have only touched the surface of intellect that I will gain from this semester. Being a part of the Chesapeake Semester will give me insight on the many conservation and restoration efforts needed to keep the bay healthy and alive. I am exited to learn more about the Chesapeake Bay and what it has to offer.

Being so close to the Bay, Washington College has opened my eyes to a new level of beauty. I get to experience a new side of the country and develop my own ideas to help preserve the Bay and its natural aesthetic.