Well, I do not know if Dr. Findling is going to keep this blog open or close it and then open it later for future students but I thought it would be interesting if you guys could share what you have learned and experienced in this summer class. The first weeks of this course I was like what is this? I hope this course does not make my summer boring. But in my opinion, I have learned and improved lots of things. The way I interpret information about nature and the relationship between the environment and man is more broad now. I judge things with a wiser perspective. Besides this, I also learned things that I did not know about global warming and climate change. I did not actually believe in climate change (like most people) before this course, but after all the things that I have read from the books infinite nature, emerson’s “nature” and thoureau’s “walking,” what we know about the climate change and all the articles online, I can say that this has totally changed the way I think. Another thing that I have learned is how to critic a film, which is something that it is more important than we think. I used to post online about movies without caring about what I was saying, but it is nice to learn things from the book “a short guide to writing about film” and know how to organize and think about what you are going to post. Screening the Anthropocene has been a really good experience to me. A pleasure to share opinions and information with you guys and Dr. Findling. Take care all of you and have a good rest of the summer. Good luck for this semester.
I was finishing up Hull’s book Infinite Nature tonight since I’ve been working on my paper this week and I definitely see a lot of similarities between Hull’s chapter 12 and Thoreau and Emerson’s essays. Hull speaks about people using nature in a relaxing way – in order to get away from the stresses of everyday life. This reminded me a lot of the things Thoreau spoke about in his essay. Hull writes about modern times, whereas Thoreau was writing about simpler times back when he was around, but both are making the same statements: Nature is soothing. Hull also gives many descriptions of nature that remind me of Emerson’s essay. Hull writes about being able to “smell the soil…, feel the cool breeze against your skin, hear the leaves rustle in the air, and watch puffy clouds float above a swaying canopy” (page 183). The description of this scene in nature reminds me of exactly the kind of scene one would read in Emerson’s essay. I just thought it was kind of cool how we were reading the last couple chapters of Hull’s book at the same time as reading the two essays by Emerson and Thoreau and how much all three tied in together.
While I was working on my paper and researching about new alternative energies, I found offshore wind farms. Offshore wind farms are situated on the sea, where the winds are generally stronger than the land-based wind farms. In places like UK or Denmark you can see that there are offshore wind farms and they work perfectly. The US has recently accepted to invest in those and they are working on building them. One of the good things about this renewable energy is that it does not hurt the environment nor the species that they live on the sea. The process of making electricity is completely clean and safe and it does not emit pollution. In this video you can see how the build a windmill on the sea. I think is pretty interesting. You should check it out!
Well, I know this has nothing to do with nature but I thought that human relationships are interesting and I always wondered why people are so much nicer in the Midwest that in places like the coast, anywhere you go. So, I come from Spain, Europe, long ways from here. Some people that I have talked to say that generally people in Europe are rude, and honestly, it is true. I have been to Portugal, France, Monaco, Italy, Spain, and England and usually people do not wave or smile at you. When I first came to the States, to Florida and Illinois, I was a little impressed because people were nice, but there were some similarities and common things with people from the coast from where I live and other coasts that I have been in Europe. However, when I transferred to Newman University, and I started visiting places (Wichita, Derby, Kansas city, Oklahoma city, Denver, Winter Park…etc.) And I saw that most people just wave and smile at you and they are very nice. They helped me so much when I used to have language difficulties and problems with things. I am very happy with this, it makes life so much easier and joyful. I learned that human relationships and morals are so important, and I am glad you guys have kept it that way. Although, I have a question, why do you think that in places like in the coast (wherever) people tend to be more rude than people in the inside like the Midwest?
Emerson’s chapter about beauty was my favorite part of Nature. Some of his descriptions of his experiences in nature in this section really stuck out to me. One passage that I liked was when he described a January sunset. He writes that the “western clouds divided and subdivided themselves into pink flakes modulated with tints of unspeakable softness, and the air had so much life and sweetness…” (page 15). Does this not remind you of a sunset from here in Kansas? Kansas may not have the best scenery to look at compared to, say, the mountains in Colorado, but we do have spectacular sunsets. To watch the sky turn into shades of reds, oranges, and pinks is truly beautiful. The sunsets never quite look the same either, which is pretty amazing as well. I also liked how he mentioned that many city residents think that nature is only pretty during half of the year (summer). He says that he finds just as much beauty in winter, too. I must agree with this. To look out over a snow-filled field that has not been touched by the feet of animals or humans is quite a scene. It’s peaceful and has a sense of tranquility. Although I do not like the cold and do not like to go out into the cold, looking out at it is always breathtaking.
After watching Penn’s film Into the Wild and reading a (mini) biography on Henry David Thoreau in Hull’s Infinite Nature (chapter 12), I am convinced that Chris McCandless was a modern-day Thoreau! Alright, get this: Thoreau abandoned everything to live a simple and frugal life in the forest. Chris (or Alexander Supertramp), abandoned his life as well to live in nature. Hull describes Thoreau as being a loner, and although I don’t know much on the REAL Chris, from the movie and from his notes he described his journey as being lonely; his only companionship being the people he encountered on his journey. In his books Walden and Walking, Thoreau explains the beauties and wonders that can be found from living a simple life and experiencing life in nature. Penn’s depiction of Chris’ life in the wild (ha!) is sort of Chris’ memoir of the same ideals that Thoreau had. Although I could go into more detail on this, if you want to see the comparisons yourself, you will have to read Thoreau and watch Into the Wild, take some notes, and see for yourself the reincarnation of one of the most influential naturalists!