Remember Your Roots: Yosemite HD and the Pale Blue Dot

In an increasingly marketized, built, and technological world, it is easy to think of ‘nature’ as being something ‘out there’; something we build society away from, constructing large structures and technologies that will shelter us from natural elements that ‘threaten’ comfortable human lives.  In fact, we can’t talk about environmental change that is not socio-environmental change, and vice versa.  Natural processes both limit and enable what is possible for human societies, and human actions both limit (or damage) and enable or produce new kinds of environments.  Imagining nature as a concrete thing set apart from human existence allows us to use and to value nature in particular ways, which increasingly means reducing all of ‘nature’ to the sacrificial logic of the market.  If a price-tag value can be placed on a certain natural service, then we will protect it, but all of the unseen and therefore invaluable services and processes that ‘nature’ carries out daily (millions of different species working together in different ways to secure the health of the whole ecosystem) are erased from our consciousness since they don’t figure into our market model of what ‘value’ nature has for us.  (Trying to discover all of these hidden services and give them a price-tag is not a solution either, because this would a) be nearly impossible, and b) still sees nature as separate and in money-centered terms.)


This beautiful footage of Yosemite National Park, however, should remind us of the wonder, value, and perfect interconnectedness of the natural world — a world in which we are only one small part of the whole, not separate from or ‘conquerors’ of nature.  To reconstruct a value system that doesn’t see nature as separate, useable, and sellable, we must remember ourselves as a species inextricably connected to our environments.  We must respect and care for all people and non-human creatures in this system, pushing aside the ego and self-importance that it is all too easy to succumb to when we imagine ourselves to be the only ‘intelligent’ beings.

If that didn’t convince you, then surely Carl Sagan will:


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3 Comments on “Remember Your Roots: Yosemite HD and the Pale Blue Dot”

  1. daveclark955 January 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    Carl Sagan is the absolute best, absolutely.

    • andhastings January 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

      The only thing better is that Yosemite video, and it’s close. My jaw just hit the ground.

      • daveclark955 January 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

        Yeah you’re right, it is pretty incredible. That song is perfect

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