Is there really anything other than nature?

In this image we see what can only be described as a very natural staircase; an interesting path of large limestone stairs that are so questionably "natural" it begs the question: "What is natural". In our modern world we spent so much time discussion the human impact on nature and it always makes me wonder where that line is drawn. At what point does man's endeavors become unnatural? Is it simply our manipulation of nature that renders it's very structure different in some way? If man is an animal, and all that is around us is the Earth which is made from what we deem "nature" than how is it even possible that anything we make is unnatural? The assumption that what we make is "unnatural" is presupposing we understand what would have happened through natural process in our absence. If a chimp were to come around and move a stone, is it then "unnatural"? Suppose then that we spend a summer's afternoon watching a robin build a nest. Surely we wouldn't look before the woven strands of straw and hay and think to ourselves, "What an abominable structure! How could such a creature make such an unnatural structure in this tree!"
So then when we adapt our surroundings to satisfy our needs, at what point does it become unnatural? I realize that this question is asked much in the same manor that Sorites asked how many grains of sand make up a heap. The simple fact is that there really isn't a line in the sand that defines what is and what isn't natural. We need to accept the world and our modifications of it as part of a greater image. We are nature, and what we do does not exist outside the realm of nature. The world is a wonderfully grey area, we need to preserve and to create to preserve what is here already for us. We need to be productive and adaptive and continue to grow and to prosper while conserving the idealistic Victorian beauty in the nature we hold so dear. 

What then is trash at all?

This image pulls my mind in a few different directions; it evokes a slew of strange notions about litter and about it's effects on the world around us. Now I'm not going to argue that litter isn't a bad thing, because it is, it's a terrible thing, but this image also shows us that it's not a new thing either. This car was likely discarded from a vehicle along this country road some 20-30 years ago. The idea that litter is an awful thing dates back many decades before this, but doesn't this just prove that it's not such a big deal? It's not like it's impossible to take a hike in this world today without crawling through heaps and mounds of trash. It's not as if the world is coming to a standstill after decades and decades of littering. So is it really a big deal?

The other side to this image is the face that the litter remains here, in its resting spot, even after a couple or so decades. So this is evidence that litter is indeed a terrible thing that is much more permanent than we sometimes think. So this image then gives me a lot to think about. Part of me even wonders why I left the can there... it's almost an antique. Part from it's slightly faded print, it's still in really good shape. So what then constitutes litter at all? Is this just an antique waiting to be discovered and cherished, or is it just trash? Does the value of a discarded item determine it's position in the hierarchy of trash?

A penny tossed on the ground in rarely called litter, but then would an equal amount of copper wire carelessly strewn about the soil be any more or less of an offence? Just how do we classify litter then, and is it entirely a big deal at all?


    Niagara raised blogger, amateur photographer, vlogger and all-round insane person.


    January 2011
    December 2010