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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

Stop continental drift

Stop continental drift

Is it a cynical gesture to glue a ‘Stop Continental Drift’ bumper sticker on your gasoline addicted car? Absolutely. Yet indirectly it also criticizes the romantic environmentalist longing to perceive nature as static: something that must not change – although environmentalist typically perceive themselves as progressives, such a static concept of nature is undoubtedly a conservative longing.

Perhaps the bumper sticker teaches us that, rather than merely trying to stop all changes that are taking place, we should spend more time on developing a more flexible attitude towards the changes in our environment. After all, continents drift, climates alter and change happens.

Via Stardove. Related post: Doggerland – Mapping a lost world, Country looking for new land, If the implications of Global Warming were fair, Diesels global warming ready campaign, Humans to blame for global warming.

Discussion

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  1. chris

    What is a romantic environmentalists? Is this a Victorian notion and does it even apply today? Doesn’t it make sense that preserving green nature also means that we allow it to continue as it will?

    Roads through the wilderness divide the land, in essence sectioning off areas from one another and disrupting the flow of complex organic systems ( erosion, life cycles, and weather, etc). Championing nature, imo, means letting nature do as it has for millions of years. Green nature is as big a process as humankind’s experiment, are we to dense a species to respect to our roots? I worry Next Nature is more of an excuse for human culture than a synergy of both.

  2. systmh

    @chris:

    we are indeed letting nature do as it has for millions of years. humans and their technology were created by nature and are thus a part of it.

    this paradigm that nature and mankind are separate entities is as arrogant and absurd as the assumption that the earth is the center of the universe or that we were created by god in seven days.

    nature will adapt to the effects of our fledgling species. there have been mere bacteria in the past that have had a much higher impact on our atmosphere and environment. and if a road dividing the wilderness is such an ill effect, then what is a river?

    trees drop their leaves, wasps build their paper nests and men mold plastic shopping bags out of the petrol remains of ancient plants. it IS nature.

  3. noone

    @ systmh

    Well said.

  4. Michael

    @ systmh

    It may be more appropriate to say that “trees drop leaves, wasps build nests” and leave the “their” out of it. The manufacturing of plastic bags is a consciously driven (although there is plenty of room for discussion on this point, no doubt), and contingent on a cultural apparatus that is seemingly unique.

    AS much as I try to critically evaluate the old and new mythologies of nature, I still hold the basic paradox that humans as conscious beings are both in and above the “nature” that underlies these myths.

    Of course all this points to the basis of this discourse: we can’t imaging nature the same way we have done so in the past, ancient or even recent.

  5. Marco

    Perhaps you should learn English: “Perhaps the bumper sticker learns us that ….” – teaches is the correct word