The main point of these three readings is the interpretation of nature and the effects that men have upon nature’s development and nature’s destruction. In the piece written by Bass, he describes the way that Yellowstone’s natural balance had been offset to where elk were eating the grass bare, and there was not a stable balance of predator and prey. Man intervened and relocated wolves into Yellowstone, and because of man’s intervention, Yellowstone is returning to its ecological basis. In the piece written by Edward abbey, he and his brother are trying to discover who they are while playing in their natural surroundings. When Abbey returns as an adult, he discovers that these places have become cancerous industrializations. In Abbey’s writing men have harmed nature. In the last selection, written by Terry Tempest Williams, mother nature has been destroyed by nuclear testing in Nevada and Utah. All three stories show that nature can be drastically affected by the action of man.
A quote that captures the point of nature’s vulnerability, whether to positive or negative cultural influence, would be from Bass’s writing. Bass argues that we can try to calculate what our impact is on nature, but that it cannot be calculated. Man’s effects in nature are unpredictable and each consequence contributes to another consequence: “It’s all more tangled and wonderful than we may ever know, and the best part is, we can’t predict, or manage or fully measure it…unknown relationships and immeasurable consequences…” The unifying point between all these works is the idea that nature and culture interact and that the outcome is not one that can be fully comprehended. The consequence of the wolves being introduced was a positive impact that man has had, however, in the other two pieces, man has had a negative lasting effect on nature.
The way that these pieces relate to each other and the other works in this chapter of place and politics, is that all of them are commentaries on how man’s culture has a relationship with nature. Man has actions that can positively or negatively affect the natural balance of things. Therefore, a unifying theme is that man has a responsibility to behave environmentally responsibly. The after effects of man’s responsibility are positive in Bass’ writing, and the effects of man on nature are destructive in Abbey and Williams’ pieces. The overriding theme of the chapter is upheld in all three of these pieces. Bass’ piece proves that man has a responsibility to intervene in order to help nature maintain its balance, but this is because man has already upset the balance.
I very much liked these pieces, all of them had a different tone. Bass’ writing was very colorful and descriptive, and I felt like I could see the wolves mixing themselves in with the population of Yellowstone. In Abbey’s piece, he did a good job of showing the differences between the nature in his memories and the industrialization that happened to those places in his memory. I found the piece by Williams to be the most realistic and entertaining, because the idea that she had a revelation that she had been living in a deceived childhood, possibly drinking contaminated milk, even from her own mother. The title of her essay becomes to have a new meaning when one considers that the mastectomies might be the result of the testing that was done in Utah and Nevada in the fifties. The manner that man’s culture of the cold war influenced the decision to bac-burner citizen’s health was not the manner that it is held up now. The effects of the testing could not fully be calculated because there were unintended consequences.