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Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World

Over the course of the reading “Nature and the Idea of a Man-Made World,? Norman Crowe takes the listener through what he believes to be the differences between the natural world and the man-made world. When is the line drawn as to what is purely nature and what is man-made? Below are five key points that he brings up about the natural world:


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1) When explaining the point of the book, Crowe says describes the difference between the man-made world and the world of nature as that of their interaction with each other and the fact that what we create make up our world but not the natural world. But doesn’t saying this basically mean that every last thing that we do or action that we take will have a consequent that exists not in the natural but the man-made? This confused me very much as there are examples of things humans do that I still consider part of nature. For example, isn’t planting trees, fruit, vegetables, etc. part of our natural world. What are being planted is actual seeds produced by natural plants yet it takes a human action to plant them. Maybe this wasn’t exactly what he was talking about as most of the things that humans do are very much part of the human world and not natural, but there are still things such as this that are done to the natural world as positive things.


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2) Crowe determines that “our understanding of nature configures the way we approach both the environment that we create and the environment in which our creation resides in? (7). He concludes that beauty in the built environment becomes a question of the idea of nature as well. I most definitely agree with what he is trying to tell us in this paragraph. I believe that a person that is grown up in the woods or even in the country is not going to have nearly the same view of what the difference is between the human and natural world as a person that grows up in the inner city. Someone that lives in the country is probably going to cherish everything in their surroundings as most times they live off of the land and are supported by it. On the other hand, people living in bigger cities may not necessarily realize where they get their food, and what nature really does do for us.


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3) He then explains that the balance between the human and natural world is not the same for everyone. It depends on everyone’s “world view? which is determined by individual beliefs of their surroundings. I thought that this was a perfect explanation to my question of where the difference between the natural and human world is drawn. An example that I’ve always questioned is that of a log cabin in the thick woods. To me even if this log cabin is not furnished and is simply made out of the logs that were taken from the forest, I’m not sure that I could call this nature. In my opinion that is taking away from nature to create space for man which would then be part of the human world. To others this may however be nature, and the reading tells us that that is only because of our difference in world views.


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4) After reading on from the last point, I realized that he explained exactly what I was inquiring. Crowe said that the balance between the worlds is always changing due to many external forces that many can’t even control. He points to religion, culture, science, and simply personal experiences as the things that truly influence ones view on the human vs. natural world. This is totally true, as for some people even a simple trip to a “natural? place on the earth can change the way they feel about nature, or the way somebody finds religion may lead them to believe what is natural, or finally simply reading research can influence what one believes. These things are special to each person only on that personal level, and may only power them to change their views.


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5) Finally, Norman addresses the problem that humans don’t realize how much they are connected to nature, and how much the public as a whole is hurting not only the environment but also themselves. This is quite possibly the biggest problem, I believe, that results from people having different views of what is and is not natural or man-made. The rise in global warming is not natural. It is the result of humans not taking care of the environment by emitting large amounts of pollution into the air. The effects that humans have on the environment are incredibly serious and in the long-run will begin to hurt the environment much, much more.