Terminology note: this book is nonfiction, it is NOT a
Thoreau no longer saw many: bear, moose, deer, porcupines,
wolf, beaver, martins, heath cocks
(a subspecies of the greater prairie chicken) and turkeys
how do we interpret how the land has changed as a result of
- loss of wilderness and virility
- progress to make the land a garden
- different writers have different views of what
should be the mix between preserving the environment and
advancing human civilization
- there is no golden age of nature before humans messed it
How do we know what happened?
- biases of observers
- are legal changes reactive or anticipatory
- confusing names: the Eastern red cedar is a juniper, not
- fossil pollen
- changed in relation to what?
- there is no such thing as stable ecological balance!
- Cronon talks about the old ecological theory of climax
communities, which is a way of saying ecosystems tend to
move towards a stable condition
- but scientists have since abandoned that view
- if there is no good data is it possible to do a study
It is a two way relationship
- p. 12: "The land was less virgin than it was widowed."
- native Americans had modified the ecosystem
- "a dynamic and changing relationship between environment
and culture." p. 13
"Human communities that are inside rather than outside
nature." p. 15
post hoc ergo propter hoc: a logical mistake,
assuming that the event that came first must have caused the
event that came second. Sometimes they are unrelated