Traditional Euro-American Attitudes Toward the Natural World.

Essay by jake1deeCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2003

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Traditional Euro-American Attitudes Toward the Natural World

In today's modern world America is seen as an example of progress and perfection to many other nations. Most of the success can be attributed to our European founders, who developed this great land. However, the same people responsible for making this land so great exploited it for all it was worth. Thomas Berry believes, "The moment when the Europeans arrived on this continent, could be considered as one of the most fateful in history, not only for this continent but for the entire planet" (p.465). The reason Thomas Berry and many others feel this way is because, this continent was once a cornucopia of wildlife, natural resources, and fascinating indigenous people. When the Europeans arrived to this continent they took it into their own hands to plunder and destroy everything natural and sacred for its monetary value without considering the future consequences of unfertile soil, extinct animal and plant species, and most importantly the near wiping out the lands original inhabitants.

Traditional Euro-American values stress a strong monotheistic personal deity. People who uphold these values believe themselves and their God to be superior and above all other. This is the reason for their exploitation of the American continent; they see the natural world as theirs, something they have the right to tamper with. Nowhere in Euro-American tradition is there a belief in respecting the natural world. Their attitude is that their God created this world for them, to use in any way possible for their improvement. What is not realized is that tampering with the dynamics of the natural world will eventually lead to its destruction. In Berry's article this travesty was seen by William Strickland during his journey up the Hudson River, he wrote of its people:

The backwoodsman has got...