As humans become more advanced, we continue to lose touch with the natural world; this is exhibited in our loss of instincts, our inability to maintain the environment, and our need to conquer and alter nature, not coexist with it. In our great quest for knowledge, power, and recognition, certain concepts are often left at the wayside. Being in touch with nature, spending time simply absorbing the surroundings, and living in the moment are examples of this. People have somehow developed this idea that “civilized” people aren’t free and wild; they are prim and proper, they’re impeccably clean, and their days are well planned out and organized. Schedules are key.
Once ...view middle of the document...
“The dog did not know anything about thermometers…but the brute had its instinct. It experienced a vague but menacing apprehension that subdued it and made it slink along at the man’s heels…the dog had learned fire, and it wanted fire, or else to burrow under the snow and cuddle its warmth away from the air” (London, 28). The story paints this difference over and over. The dog simply knows this isn’t weather to be out in, and is not worried about the whys of this knowledge.
The man continues to reason within himself as to why he should be safe:
He remembered the advice of the old-timer on Sulphur Creek, and smiled. The old-timer had been very serious in laying down the law that no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below. Well, here he was; he had had the accident; he was alone; he had saved himself. Those old-timers were rather womanish, some of them, he thought. All a man had to do was to keep his head, and he was all right. Any man who was a man could travel alone. (London, 32)
It is this continual reasoning and rationalizing that is ultimately the demise of this man, whereas the dog survives, able to continue on without guidance from the man.
Throughout history, humans have proved our inability to maintain the environment and do what is truly best for it. Rick Bass’s “Wolf Palette” centers on the correction of a human-created problem. “The wolves, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, had been extinguished from Yellowstone for only seven decades: shot, trapped, poisoned, eradicated” (Bass, 247). The wolves had been removed, partly out of fear and animosity towards these beautiful creatures. It was only after they were gone that humans were able to look at the relationship that existed between the wolves and the ecosystem and realize the gravity of the mistake. The correction of this mistake, of course, was the reintroduction of the same creature that had been previously eliminated.
Not only are humans continually making decisions that affect other species, we tend to take actions that affect the environment in ways that are detrimental to ourselves. Sandra Steingraber’s “Tune of the Tuna Fish” illustrates this quite well. She enumerates some of the hazards to be found in our world in this way, “A recent study of umbilical cord blood, collected by the Red Cross from ten newborns and analyzed in two different laboratories, revealed the presence of pesticides, stain removers, wood preservatives, heavy metals, and industrial lubricants, as well as the wastes from burning coal, garbage, and gasoline”...