Cronon Blog

Very often when one thinks of nature and wildlife, one thinks of serenity and peace. They think of an unbound freedom that exists apart from humans as a whole. In a way, I wish nature could be more like the dreams of suburban people. But nature in itself, is a harsh and barren place, one not fit for idle enjoyment and watching. The boundaries having been set to the parks and preserves, by all means goes against what nature itself entails. Nature has been marketed to us as a free and beautiful land, one that distracts us from our pathetic and enclosed lives. It is to that extent, as to why humans have always been drawn to the perceived freedom of wildlife. The concept of a retreat from the terror of everyday life and escaping to a utopia, close to what many view as a land with god, is a tantalizing ideal. But the natural world does not exist within the boundaries of camping retreats and national parks. By marketing nature in our capitalistic system, we have destroyed what the true essence of nature is, that being the harsh lands which live outside and isolated from us. As we live in society, we have no place to intrude into the working of the natural world, and in doing so are destroying some of what made nature beautiful in the first place.

The question we have to ask ourselves instead is: “Does the very preservation of the wild lands defy all laws of the true and utterly beautiful magic of wild nature? Or is it good that we have set aside some of the lands to be semi-controlled, and therefore not truly wild as nature entails, as we move into a future age where wild lands might not have a place?”


Yulemi Martinez says:

I too agree that setting boundaries which we have done by creating national parks is exactly what is ruining nature, I said this in my post as well so I definitely got that same idea from the reading. I think that because we are containing our “wilderness” and not seeing it as a whole, this will cause there to be no place in the future.

But is containing wilderness really ruining nature? I disagree. Even though only certain areas of nature are currently available to humanity, that doesn’t really make the protected areas of nature inferior to areas that would be otherwise unprotected and unexplored. I also disagree with Cronon’s opinion that exploring / preserving an area of wilderness makes it unnatural and un-wild. Why does nature need to be wild? Why does nature need to be unconquered? Can’t nature just be a place to Walk?

Abby Lasky says:

Braden, I love how you interpreted Cronon’s work. I agree that nature is harsh and containing it in boundaries is against the true principle. We really have destroyed what nature really is by profiting off of it and putting ownership on all parts. I love the questions you came up with so that we keep ourselves thinking about nature and our role.

Ivy Sanders says:

Do you really think that “wild lands” will not have a place in our near/far future? I know that big businesses tend to exploit the wilderness for its resources, but don’t you think there are enough proponents of preserving the environment to stop them? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this statement.

Braden Roberts says:

I think that while there are stipulations to treating the environment well, there also are many reasons why many businesses will probably drive it to dire lengths and near destruction. The main reason being, as one could expect, greed. Businesses have no profit benefit to keeping alive the wilds, and several incentives to get rid of, and exploit it. Perhaps soon, with the rise of Eco-friendly alternatives to combat some of the awful pollutants, there will be more reason for businesses to stop destroying nature. As it sadly stands however, with our economic system being the way it is, the profit motive is enough for businesses to want to utilize anything to drive up profit, and the environment is the one forcibly taking the hit.

I disagree with the idea that the artificial preservation of an area of nature makes that area of nature un-wild or inauthentic. Why does nature need to be wild or dangerous to be real nature? I don’t think that nature should be defined by its’ ability to be unconquered by humanity. Also, I think that the taming of nature makes it inauthentic. The taming of nature makes it accessible to many people who would otherwise not be able to experience nature- such as small children, the elderly, or the handicapped. I believe that rather than question whether nature is authentic, and glorify the frontier, Cronon should consider enjoying nature for what it does offer, like solitude, and peace. The ability of nature to hurt the visitor should not change the visitor’s ability to Walk.

Haven Walker says:


That is an incredibly depressing view of nature. Unfortunately, it is also realistic. By setting aside “nature” within boundaries, we are, in a way, taming it. I feel as though a lot of your views are mirroring Cronon’s, though. Suspicious, young Braden.

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