The slow growth of redwood forests . . . the annual migration of Canada geese . . . winter's first snowfall . . . things such as these persuade us that nature carries on its cycles regardless of human activities--and always will. Yet, a closer look reveals that all around us nature is becoming an illusion created by human ingenuity. As we control our rivers and shores, manage the forests, and develop habitats for endangered species, it becomes increasingly hard to think of nature as something out there that exists independently of us. Humanature asks us to intelligently consider the far-reaching ways in which we are reshaping nature on a planet-wide scale. In his eloquent essay, Peter Goin writes about land usage, pesticides and pollution, genetic engineering, resource consumption, and other indicators to show the dramatic range of human impact in the natural world. His photographs, the vital core of the book, provide convincing confirmation of the extent to which people and nature have become a continuum--humanature. Having influenced, altered, and designed nature, it behooves us to try to understand the cultural construction of wildness and of the role of nature as a cultural paradigm. Humanature will be an important and challenging contribution to this process of learning about our relationship to the environment in which we live.
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