Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A nice clean environment

So I was doing this Lab report for microbiology about hygiene and in the title I included the word cleanliness I misspelled it (as I am prone to do) and had to think about it for a second and then in jumped out at me clean lines the word cleanliness is a word which highlights our desire for control of nature perfectly. In nature clean ie straight, lines simply don’t exist. The place they exist is in our agricultural fields. Visit any farm and chances are you will see long straight clean lines of crops as far as the eye can see. In fact with today’s laser guided tractors (no shit) I have been to farms where lettuce stretch in ruler straight lines as far as the eye can see.

As environmentalists we often talk about cleaning up the environment, but if we are approaching the environment from the view of the dominant culture then we will ‘be bringing our own conditioned desire for cleanliness into areas where it shouldn’t be. This kind of conflict between our societys view of what the environment should look like is typified in the debate between permaculturalists and environmentalists. Permaculturalists look at nature from a systems perspective and see the vital role that weeds play, roles such as slowing erosion, providing shelter and shade and adding organic matter to the soil. Environmentalists however often want to go in and rip out every non native in the area, causing erosion loss of biodiversity and often removing nurse species for their own beloved natives.

If we are to ever build a sustainable earth based culture then we must rid ourselves of our conditioned view of cleanliness. We must approach nature with an attitude of respectful curiosity knowing that nature is far more complex and intelligent than we can ever know. Before interfering with natural processes we must look at the web of interrelations and the role that every organism even the ones we view as pests play. We have introduced to many species to ever get ecosystems back to a prehuman state, instead we must find how we can live in a way that enriches our surroundings no matter where we are.


Anonymous said...

Clean lines form all throughout nature, in mineral deposits, in crystals, diamonds, etc... they form from below out of substance itself. Also, it's a very artificial line to make that assumes that we are somehow *outside* nature: we are nature made self-conscious, and when we make lines, it is nature making lines just as it is when crystals form.

John said...

Online on a tiny scale though, I was semi humoursly pointing out that a vast amount of energy is needed to maintain what we percieve as a nice clean landscape with lots of straight lines in it.

George said...

You forgot to mention the tractors driven by computers, guided by satellite navigation.

CreditSpecilist said...

Your post seems to be a challenge to clean our environment. You earn a praise. I agree, cleanliness depends mostly on us. If there were more people like you and me who understand it, we would live on cleaner planet. Thanks a lot