Reply To: 2. Wed 12 Feb: Donald Worster on Environmental History

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Meghan Buurmans # Posted on February 17, 2015 at 21:50

Reflection on Lauri’s reflection:
You use the topic of agriculture for this reflection, like I think many of us did. Since environmental history discusses many topics, to have someone focus so strongly on agriculture has made an impact and I can see that you agree quite a bit with what he said. If you do question some of his statements, it would have been nice to see a more critical opposition to parts of his statements, but perhaps you do agree mostly with them! When I first read the reflection, it seemed to me that you focus too much on the meanings and almost spirituality connected to food and agriculture, while Worster to me seemed a lot more practical on the issue. Continuing to read however, I can understand more of where you are coming from and it offered me a different view on what Worster said. I’m not sure I completely agree with you, but I like having the different interpretation even though we heard the same talk and it did give me the option to reevaluate some of the ways I interpreted his statements. I agree with you that Worster said one of the major issues with agriculture is the use of species not suited to the environment, which he really seemed to focus on, in addition to using monoculture. I also agree with you that it is unlikely that people will easily adjust their agricultural practices, although I’m not sure that is because we have lost the ability. I simply think that people don’t want to give up many of our different food sources and live a simpler lifestyle.

You spend the whole reflection on agriculture, which was indeed an important part of Worster’s lecture, however he seemed to me to continue on to more broad paradigm changes in parts of the discussion. You incorporate that through the thoughts on agriculture, but to me it seemed like Worster was moving beyond agriculture to provide a broader message on environmental thinking and uses agriculture as an example or starting point instead. Perhaps you were able to link this more than I noticed during the discussion.