Nature society and technology


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Nature society and technology

  1. 1. GEOG 1: “NATURE, SOCIETY & TECHNOLOGY”CULTURE-NATURE (Sarah Whatmore) nature. Post modern social forms accompanied by a• The assumption that everything we encounter in the third nature of computer stimulated and televisual world already belongs either to ‘culture’ or to ‘nature’ landscapes and creatures st nd rd has become entrenched in the division between • Transition from 1 , 2 and 3 nature has significant ‘human’ and ‘physical’ geography and reinforced by geographical dimensions (illustration of the the faltering conversation between them potatoes)• Culture-nature binary• The geographical tradition of exploration and SUMMARY expedition played an important role in extending and • Nature is socially constructed in the sense that it is mapping these networks and has left us with a transformed through the labor process and fashioned thoroughly modern sense of nature as the world that by the technologies and values of human production lies beyond their reach (livingstone, 1992) • From this perspective, nature-society relations are• From European vantage point, nature comes to be seen to have changed progressively over time from associated from where ‘we’ are – jungles and first (original) nature, to second nature (industrial) to th wilderness. But by the end of the 20 century, we today’s third (virtual) nature. seem to be everywhere Representing NatureSocial Construction of Nature • The natural world is understood to be shaped as • Marxist Tradition: concerned with the material powerfully by the human imagination as by any transformation of nature as it is put to a variety of physical manipulation. This is because ‘nature’ does human uses under different conditions of production not come with handy labels naming its part or making • Cultural geography: focused on the idea of nature, sense of itself – which is the attribute of culture what it means to different societies and how they go • Importance is that it focuses us to recognize that our about representing it in words and images relationship with those aspects of the world we call nature is unavoidably filtered through the categories,Producing Nature technologies, and conventions of human th• Mid-19 century, karl marx, observed ways in which representation in particular times and places plants and animals were physically being transformed • For cultural geographers, nature itself is first and by farmers using careful selection and breeding foremost a category of the human imagination and methods to commercially more valuable crops and therefore best treated as part of culture livestock • At whatever form, these ways of seeing the natural• Rise of industrial capitalism – the things we are world share 3 common principles: accustomed to think of as natural were increasingly o Representation of nature is not a neutral process being refashioned as the products of human labor that simply produces a mirror image of a fixed• 3 importance of the production of nature (Noel external reality – rather, it is instrumental in Castree, 1995) constituting our sense of what the natural world is o To acknowledge that nature is produced like nd undermines the familiar but misleading idea that it is o 2 principle of landscape is not to take something fixed and unchanging. We are forced to representations of the natural world at face value, see how society has utilized it in different times and however much they seem or claim to be true to life rd places o 3 principle is that there are many incompatible o It captures the double-edged sense in which the ways of seeing the same natural phenomenon, process of producing goods for human use and event or environment exchange simultaneously transforms the physical fabric of the physical world and people’s relationship SUMMARY to it • Nature is socially constructed in the sense that it is o It alerts us to the way in which capitalist production shaped as powerfully by the human imagination as by seems to stop at nothing in its quest for profitability, any physical manipulation. Our relationships with turning landscapes, water bodies and molecular nature are unavoidably filtered through the categories structure into some marketable commodities and conventions of human representation• Neil smith, Uneven Development • From this perspective, the landscapes of nature are • Capitalism for the first time in history puts human understood as “ways of seeing” the world in which the society in the driving seat, replacing God as the real and the imagined are intricately woven creative force fashioning the natural world • Social capacity to produce nature is the second nature according to smith to distinguish it from its ‘god-given’ or ‘original state’ which is called the first------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Page 1 of 5
  2. 2. GEOG 1: “NATURE, SOCIETY & TECHNOLOGY”ENLIVENING GEOGRAPHICAL LANDSCAPE 1. Spirit Religion (Animism) = Nature over ManThree of the most important currents in the rethinking of • Spirits are invisible forces who exert power overhuman in human geography: weather, illness, & other natural phenomena1. Concerned with showing that the idea of nature as significant to man. pristine space outside society is an historical fallacy • Before the development of modern science, people nd2. 2 current extends this historical repudiation of the explained nature through the presence of spirits. separation of human society and natural world by • They believe that spirits live in the bodies of plants, paying close attention to the mixed-up mobile lives of animals, rocks, hills, mountains or lakes. Any place a people, plants, and animals in our everyday life spirit dwells is sacred and worthy of great awe and rd3. 3 current works against the grain of the nature- respect. culture binary is trying to come to terms with the ways • Spirits are the Lords who have the power to help in which the seemingly hard and fast categories of people, but if displeased, they can also harm them. human, animal, and machine are being blurred. For believers, it is to respect spirits & keep them happy.NATURE – refers to the entire bio-physical environment 2. Eastern Religion = Nature is equal with Manon earth. Also known as the environment, ecosystem, • Hinduism- The universe is a cosmic person withecology, mother nature. consciousness; every part of the universe has consciousness, everything is connected. Deities,Truth on Man’s Perception of Nature Karma, Dharma, Reincarnation. • How man interacts with the environment is largely • Buddhism – People and nature are one. Negative based on his perception of nature. thoughts lead to negative actions and negative • Perceptions of nature are based on stories, ideas & consequences. Implies that the use of natural images that society feeds him. These perceptions are resources should be limited to satisfying basic needs shared from one generation to another. such as food and clothing. Animals should not be • Different societies have different perceptions of killed and plants should be harvested only to meet nature, therefore different persons has different essential food needs. Views that nothing exists in and perceptions of nature. of itself and everything is part of a natural complex • Recognizing different perceptions can help to and dynamic totality of mutuality and understand why different people & different societies interdependence. interact with the environment in different ways. • Taoism – Nature is mysterious beyond comprehension. People do best by changing naturePerceptions of Nature as little as possible, fitting with nature’s rhythms and • Everyone has his own image or stories about himself, flows and tapping into nature’s energy instead of society or the environment. This make up one’s trying to dominate or control it. worldview • Confucianism – emphasizes social relationship – the • Perceptions shape the interpretation of information need for people to develop and refine their mutual when it enters a social system from an ecosystem & responsibilities. Humans are children of nature, the perceptions shape the decision-making processes proper attitude for nature is filial piety (respect for that leads to affecting the ecosystem. elders) • Different people have different perceptions of how the environment works due to culture. 3. Western Religion = Man over Nature • Judaism – God chose humans as representatives toDifferent perceptions of Nature: maintain God’s wisdom on earth while using anda. Nature perceptions by different religions managing the earth to meet their needs. The earth isb. Nature perceptions by different societies sacred but their idea of managing the earth for Godc. Common Perceptions of nature was not to leave everything completely natural.d. Environmental Philosophies & Political Views on nature • Christianity – Similar to Judaism. Monotheistic belief that holds that only man has soul. Man is the steward of nature.A. Religious Attitudes Toward Nature • Islam – Heaven and earth were created to serve human purposes – that humans are sovereign overReligion: offers moral codes- guidelines about right and the rest of the creation but authority over nature is notwrong and rules of behavior- that are particularly effective an absolute right but as a test of loyalty, obediencebecause they are reinforced by emotionally compelling and gratitude to Allah. People should not use morebeliefs, symbols and rituals. than they need and they should not be wasteful of what they use.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Page 2 of 5
  3. 3. GEOG 1: “NATURE, SOCIETY & TECHNOLOGY”B. Attitudes of Different Societies Toward Nature • Science emerges as the new & important institution.1. Hunting & Gathering (Foraging) • Lead to all-out extraction of other areas for natural • A technique in extracting livelihood from the resources to keep up with the accelerating population environment by almost exclusive reliance on muscular growth. energy (gathering food, hunting with bows & spears, etc.) C. Common Perceptions of Nature: • They are nomadic and usually live in small bands of 1. Everything in nature is connected: families. • many events are, directly or indirectly, a consequence • Requires wide knowledge on the environment, e.g. of human actions. seasonality, plant types, migration patterns of animals • people should therefore treat nature with respect to etc. avoid adverse consequences • human actions generate chains of effect that2. Pastoralism (Grazing) reverberate through ecosystems & social systems • Based on domestication of herds of animals, assures society with steady food supply. Societies can grow 2. Nature is benign/perverse much larger because of surplus of livestock & food. • Benign – nature provides us with all that we need. For • Also nomadic because they must constantly take their as long as we do not radically change ecosystems herds to new grazing grounds. from their natural conditions, we will continuously • They also believe in god or many gods who take an benefit from it. active role in human affairs. Pastoral society’s are • Perverse – if people change the environment to an said to be the roots of toady’s major religions. extent that they are unable to function properly (illegal logging), we will suffer from nature’s fury (catastrophe,3. Horticulture natural disaster) • They tend, sow & harvest edible vegetation. They are relatively settled because they still have to move their 3. Nature is Fragile (delicate, frail, weak) gardens at a short distance. • nature has a delicate balance that will fall apart if • Their subsistence is based on the slash-and-burn people change ecosystems from their natural technology conditions. Departure from natural conditions can lead • Although they are highly spiritual, some of the to disastrous & irreversible consequences for man & grimmest human actions came form these societies nature alike. (warfare, cannibalism, sacrifice, theft) • Bigger Population permits complex social structure & 4. Nature is Durable (stable, permanent, enduring) culture. • as opposed to being fragile, this view holds that people can use & reshape nature anyway they want.4. Agriculture No matter what people do to the ecosystem, there are • The invention of the plow paved the way for the natural & social forces that will prevent the ecosystem agricultural revolution. The plow greatly improved the from being damaged severely & completely. productivity of the land. The same land can be cultivated continuously & fully permanent settlements 5. Nature is Capricious (unpredictable, fickle) are possible. • Nature acts randomly & everything is determined by • Population size are greater than pastoral & fate. horticulture societies. Cities appear for the 1st time. • People can not control or maintain the ecosystem in • Culture, social organizations & political institutions any particular way. • become more elaborate. Agriculture societies are • constantly at war engaging in a systematic empire building, military organizations are therefore needed. D. Environmental Philosophies & Political Views on Nature5. Industrialization 1. ROMANTICISM • Based on the application of scientific knowledge to • By Henry David Thoreau, an American Naturalist and production, permitting machines to do the work activist and a primary force behind romanticism which previously done by man and animals was a movement that originated in Europe. • Very large population, highly urbanized, rapidly • It is a philosophy that emphasizes interdependence changing economic, social & political systems. and relatedness between humankind and nature. • Kinship ties are weakened, family becomes less • Romantics believe that all creatures were infused with important. Religion loses hold as the source of moral a divine presence that commanded respect and that authority. humans were not exceptional in this scheme------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Page 3 of 5
  4. 4. GEOG 1: “NATURE, SOCIETY & TECHNOLOGY”2. TRANSCENDENTALISM enable society to treat the nonhuman world with • By Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson respect and not simply as a source of raw materials • Branch of American romanticism, it had an influence for human use. over contemporary understandings of nature • It is a philosophy in which a person attempts to rise Two Key Concepts: above nature and the limitations of the body to the 1. Self Realization: view that humans must learn to point where the spirit dominates the flesh, where a recognize that they are part of the nonhuman world. mystical and spiritual life replaces a primitive and 2. Biospherical egalitarianism: insists that the earth or savage one. the biosphere is the central focus of all life and that all members of nature, human or nonhuman,3. CONSERVATION deserve the same respect and treatment. • A view that natural resources should be used wisely, and that society’s effects on the natural world represent stewardship and not exploitation. • It further implies responsibility to future generations as THINK: Natural Disasters, although they are a powerful well as the natural world itself in the utilization of natural force, their impacts are very much shaped by the resources. society in which they occur and the level and type of technology that the society employs example, Cherry4. PRESERVATION Hills. • An approach to nature advocating that certain habitats, species and resources should remain off- Risk = Vulnerability X Hazard limits to human use regardless of whether the use maintains or depletes the resource in question Hazard – component of risk, either natural or man-made. • More extreme position that conservation It becomes a risk if population or property is exposed to that particular hazard.New Approaches to understanding human • Renewed interest in the society-nature relationship isinteractions: the result of the persistence and large number of environmental crises.1. Environmental Ethics • In the past, technology is seen as the apparent solution • a philosophical perspective on nature that prescribes to environmental problems, but, is technology the only moral principle as guidance for our treatment of it. solution? • Society has a moral obligation to treat nature • These thoughts lead to a heightened awareness on according to the rules of moral behavior that exists for current issues, including climate change, hence we th our treatment of each other. have Al Gore’s Inconvenient truth, 11 hour, 3R, etc. • CONTROVERSY: perspective that insects, animals, trees, and other elements of nature have rights in the Earth Summit: same way that humans do. If the moral system of our • First held in Stockholm in 1972 society insists that humans are to have the right to a • Second is in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 safe and happy life, then it is argued that the same • Agreed on sustainable development rights should be extended to nonhuman nature. Sustainable Development: development that meets the2. Ecofeminism need of the present without compromising the ability of the • The view that patriarchal ideology is at the center of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland our present environmental problems. Because Commission). patriarchy has equated women with nature, it has enabled the subordination and exploitation of both Agenda 21: For Sustainable Development • The unifying objective is to dismantle the patriarchal Philippine Agenda 21: Adopted during the Ramos biases in western culture and replace them with a Presidency perspective that values both cultural and biological diversity. • Nature, Society and Technology constitute a complex relationship: we see nature both as a physical realm3. Deep Ecology and a social construct. • A belief that there is no absolute divide between • Because we regard nature as a social creation, it is humanity and everything else, that a complex and important to understand the many social ideas of nature diverse set of relations constitute the universe. The present in different societies. The Judeo-Christian belief that all things are internally related would------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Page 4 of 5
  5. 5. GEOG 1: “NATURE, SOCIETY & TECHNOLOGY” tradition dominates the present-day perception of nature human life & brought about far-reaching ecological in which man has the right to dominate changes. • 2 Central Issues: energy-use & land-use changeNature and Society is mediated by technology.Technology can be: a. physical objects or artifacts (plow) Impact on Energy needs on the environment: b. activities or processes (steel-making) • Resource as a curse/blessing c. knowledge or know-how (engineering) • A steady increase in power production and demandThis is often measured in terms of the level of since the beginning of Industrial Revolution has beenindustrialization achieved & energy per capita paralleled by an increase in resource extraction andconsumption. conversion. • Renewable (solar, hydro-electric, wind, geothermal)• A recent attempt to conceptualize the relationship vs Non-Renewable (fossil fuel, natural gas) between social and environmental changes has • The production and consumption of these available emerged from concern with global environment change. rd st resources is geographically uneven (3 vs 1 WC)• A formula to distinguish the sources of social impacts on • Important to realize that in every stage of energy the environment has been advanced. This relates conversion process (from discovery to extraction, human population pressures on environmental processing, & utilization) has an impact on the resources to the level of affluence and access to physical landscape (mining,dams,oil spills, nuclear) technology in a given society. I = PATWhere: I – impact on Earth’s resources P – population A – Affluence, as measured by per capita income T – Technology factorEcological Footprint: A measure of human demand onthe earth’s ecosystems, basically comparing impact ofhuman actions on the environment with the planet’secological capacity to regenerate. ( Capacity: the number of individuals who can besupported in a given area within natural resource limits,and without degrading the natural social, cultural andeconomic environment for present and future generations.EARLY HUMAN IMPACTSPaleolithic • Early stone age • Chipped stone, fire, clovis point • Natural landscape to kill animals – mega faunal extinctionNeolithic • late stone age • agriculture, irrigation, surplusEuropean Exploration • colonization • columbian exchange • ecological imperialismHuman Action & Recent Environmental Change• Industrialization has great impact on the natural world. This, coupled with urbanization has revolutionized------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Page 5 of 5