Boots, Birds, and Binocs... Peru 2011
 
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Today we began to delve into the issue of indigenous rights, and what an issue that is indeed. We read an excerpt from Terborgh's Requiem for Nature, and contrasted with an excerpt from Dowie's  Conservation Refugees. I must say, Terborgh had had few pretensions to the realization of his solution, but rather mused about what he thought the best way to ensure the biodiversity of Manu against the growing threat of increasing human populations within the park.  He views the issue as a zero-sum game, perhaps correctly if much of history has anything to tell us, and he ultimately places the well being of multiple species about that of a few individuals of a particular one.


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 Dowie fiercely retorts, to the point of stretching Terborgh's words, and implying things that Terbourgh quite clearly had disclaimed in the framing of his solution. To be honest, I think Dowie's response'was incredibley heavy handed, especially in contrast to Terborgh's circumlocutions of exculpability. For Dowie to jump to the conclusion that Terborgh had very explicitly cautioned against reeked of poor journalism. I suppose such things are to be expected in such ideological debates. 
~Mateo

 
Is wilderness a cultural value? Whose?
I think our social conception of wilderness is rooted in the belief that humans are distinctly separate from nature.  There are often cultural beliefs that suggest people are superior to their environment, which has allowed many societies to exploit resources without consideration.  I would argue that groups of people who accept humanity as an integral part of nature do not share a Western common interpretation of wilderness.  I think properly understanding humanity's role in nature could led to a more sustainable relationship with wilderness and the environment.
The idea of wilderness separates people from the environment which in reality affects daily lives.  If people feel wilderness is not connected to their lives, they lack incentives to participate in a green movement.  Understanding humans coexist with nature, even in large cities, is central to the success of an environmental movement.
In my opinion, the further society pushes wilderness away, even to protect, the more problems we are going to encounter.  Instead cultures need to confront the problems within society that threaten nature and wilderness and make it impossible for societies and the ecosystems to coexist.  Hopefully the solution will be an ethical understanding of sustainability.  

Living in Wilderness:
I have been camping in Western North Carolina and several of the US National Parks.  However, I have never felt as removed from society as I do now.  It has almost been a week since we left Cuzco.  I was amazed to wake up this morning to the sound of macaws.  Although Villa Carmen and San Pedro do not fit a perfect definition of wilderness, I feel removed from society, consumerism, technology, etc.  However, these places have clearly been influenced by people.  I am excited to experience Cocha Cashu.  The stars are beautiful here, what will it be like so far removed?
-Audrey Hite