A Response to Martin Krieger's What's Wrong with Plastic Trees

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A Response to Martin Krieger's What's Wrong with Plastic Trees

"Technologies, which may involve physical processes or social organization and processes, determine how reproducible an object is, for we may make a copy of the original, or we may transfer to another object the significance attached to the original. (Copying natural environments may be easier than copying artistic objects because the qualities of replicas and forgeries are not as well characterized in the case of the natural environment.) Insofar as we are incapable of doing either of these, we may desire to preserve the original environment." (220:A:2) This excerpt provides a good idea of the types of issues Martin
Krieger raises in his paper entitled
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By the time of Preservationists such as Muir
(influenced, of course by the Romantics), the "natural world" was being increasingly gobbled up by "civilization, and thus they focused our attention on the need to preserve nature as "places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike." On the other hand, the Conservationists, such as Pinchot, borrowed from the Utilitarians and Modernists and thus focused on the wise management of nature so as to extract the most benefit from it. Krieger slices cleanly through this messy interrelated history of America's concept of nature by declaring that in the same way that Muir focused on the wilderness and its untouched rarity, we could shift our societal attention to another aspect of nature. In that way it would not really matter if wilderness would destroyed, because we could "transfer to another object the significance attached to the original."
Maybe he is correct that *if* through "social action"(220:A:2) we could "make whole"(243) some component of the loss of nature, but only if we were to forget what is meant by the term in its strongest form. I refer here to the component of nature which might also be termed
"wilderness." As Robert Elliot describes, this has "causal continuity with the past," (230:A:1), "a specific genesis and history"(229:A:3) "outside our domain" or "independent of us"
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