Cronon Commentary and Opinion

Cronon’s writing “The Trouble with Wilderness: Getting Back to the Wrong Nature” puts forth some topics and criticism that are very interesting for discussion. In his piece, Cronon talks about how the wilderness that we know is not the same as it was in the past. He claims that nature has taken a turn for the worst due to the effects that human settlement and tourism has had on it within the past few decades. He starts off with boldy stating how the wilderness is no longer pristine as it used to be, afterwards backtracking in order to state that the wilderness is beautiful, but only as beautiful as humans have made it through their actions and perceptions. That is why I have mixed feelings on his piece, but I am able to agree with him on many topics that he mentions, such as nature’s beginnings. The fear of the unknown has always been something innate in our people throughout history; thus, when exploration first began, the wilderness was viewed as something to be afraid of; it was “where Christ had struggled with the devil” (Cronon 71). In my opinion, it is to this day still very frightening because no one knows what bugs or animals can be lurking around if they have not done proper research beforehand. I also agree with the statement that humans have made the wilderness “a product of civilization” (Cronon 69) overtime, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot try to preserve it as it is and even better it by doing so. That leads me to my next agreement: We tend to put nature on a pedestal because of its beauty, sanctity, and sense of foreignness. Since people are so willing to help the environment due to this, the wilderness tends to help be an umbrella for other natural issues that are worth fighting for. This is where I start to disagree with Cronon. Nature isn’t necessarily stealing the spotlight from other environmental issues, it is actually facilitating the issues by helping its proponents to be more aware that those issues exist. Also, I firmly believe that the environment can become much more preserved with human help. This is exactly how I see it: Over the years, people can grow and change. They are able to take on new hobbies, adapt a difference sense of humor, and become a more kind being. Why can’t the wilderness do that as well? If people keep an open mind, the wilderness can become anything we want it to be, including the sanctuary that it once was.