According to Springer (38), wildness is a very wide concept that has no clear definition. The literal meaning of wildness is that state of being untamed or wild. With the effort to define Wildness, some scholars argue that wildness refer to the quality that is produced by nature.
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This slightly differ from wilderness in that, wilderness is the place that harbors wildness. Forest is a place where several species of both plants and animals live. In this context, the forest in this context is the wilderness while the animals and plant species found in this forest referred to as the wildness.
For a long time, the two terms have been misinterpreted. To different communities and from one place to another, these two terms are confusingly used. This misinterpretation has adversely led to mismanagement of environmental resources in most communities leading to the degradation of the environment.
Minnich (72) clearly points out in his argument that, for proper environmental resource use and management, there is a need to understand the environment in totality. The concept of wildness as said earlier is broad; this essay paper seeks to bring out the concept of wildness using the following five themes.
Triumph of science
The world is changing rapidly due to the scientific innovations taking place. The technological advancements in the world have brought out the world as a small village. This technological advancement has affected positively and negatively many aspects of life. The field of science has grown tremendously and Scientists is advancing each day in the current world.
Science majorly deals with researches. Science as a discipline as attracted many especially in defining the concept of wildness. According to Springer (38), this theme of wildness has been highly politicized, arguing that the role played by the wildness science should be differentiated from the role that the wildness scientists play.
From the scientific view, good wildness can be viewed from a wilderness where the ecosystem is naturally left on its own without either human or animal interferences. For this to happen, the ecosystem must be stable enough to support a healthy genetic diversity.
The politicized science on the other hand define a good wildness as one that has recreation values attached to it rather than other manipulative activities like mining, farming, lumbering and other human activities. This includes the place preserved for valuable appreciation rather than rendering them to other humanitarian manipulation.
Modern environmentalism is an ideological movement that seeks to conserve the environment and improve on its nature to avoid pollution and degradation. Modern environmentalism refers to wildness as wild animal and plant species that constitute to a natural ecosystem. This movement aims at ensuring a balanced relationship between the humans and natural systems on which they depend on, for sustainability.
The modern environmentalism refers to wildness as ‘nature’ that should be restricted or limited to human interference for the wellbeing of life and planet that is beneficial to humans. Wildness is highly valued for its economic and social benefits. This wildness theme portrays the co-existence nature of humans and the wildness.
According to Springer (38), there is a need for the public to know that wildness supports life largely and without which there is no life. Wildness offers resources like water, fuel wood, air and many agricultural and clothing products, which means for continuous supply of all these resources, people should conserve the environment. This theme brings out humans as stewards of nature unlike the anti-environmentalists who think that nature is there to be used in whichever way by man to meet and satisfy their needs.
Buddhism is an Indian religion that is growing and spreading at a very high rate in the world. The religion is full of traditions, teachings, and beliefs. Buddhism views wildness as animals and plants in a natural environment, freely given for the benefit of man. According to this religion, nature provides food, shelter, clothing, and other benefits.
The teachings in Buddhist religion highly encourage a harmonized existence among fellow humans and between humans and wildness; for example, the religion states that no one should cut a tree that is giving animals, birds or a fellow person some shelter. The religion discourages greed that may force humans to manipulate others or wildness.
Buddhism encourages a gentle and kind attitude towards both plants and animals, failure to which punishments, like poverty may result. According to Minnich (82), “A householder should accumulate wealth as a bee collects pollen from a flower.
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The bee harms neither the fragrance nor the beauty of the flower, but gathers pollen to turn it into sweet honey.” Same case, a man should legitimately make use of nature. The spiritual teachings on nature and the fear to face the consequences of interfering with nature make the Buddhist community to respect and conserve nature.
The world is experiencing changes in several areas including nature, with many researches and books written on issues related to human- wildlife relations. According to human- wildlife relations, studies show that there is an increased human wildlife conflicts in today’s world.
The human-wildlife relations outlines that humans have no dominion over the wildness or nature. Though considered as the stewards of nature, this does not give them the authority to manipulate nature. Nature is very resourceful to man and calls for conservation under all cost for the benefit of both the present and future generations. Human-wildlife relations vary from one place to another depending on the type of animals and plant species.
In most communities, a friendly relationship exist between man and animals that are harmless to him, while there is a hostile relationship with those that are harmful or interfere with man’s way of life. Several factors have been put a cross to explain why there is increased human-wildlife conflict, one being the increase in population in the current world. This factor leads to high demand for food leading to nature encroachment. Humans have a duty to conserve animals and plants in their natural environment.
According to Springer (38), we are in the era of change. The friendly relationship that used to exist between human and wildlife in the past years is gone. There are increased anthropogenic activities that are affecting wildness at a high rate. People encroaches the forests, which is the habitation for various plants and animals to practice agriculture. Others have specialized in poaching leading to the extinction of some animal species.
This provoked most nations to enact the wild laws to govern and regulate the participation of humans in the wildness community. The wild laws aims at striking a balance between the human responsibilities and rights versus those of wildness in a natural ecosystem, which include forests, rivers, animals and all plant species.
Wild law helps the public to realize that just like humans, wild life community has its rights as well. The set wild laws guide the actions of humans towards the environment. These laws have greatly helped to protect wildness in various countries around the world.
Nature is a source of livelihood for humankind. It provides the necessities for life, which include food shelter for both humans and animals among others. The notion by the anti-environmentalists that nature is there to be exploited by man is not true. As explained above, wildness concept is a broad area that has been summarized by discussions on the above five themes.
In all the above-discussed themes, there are points that are very clear about wildness as a concept. The five themes revolve around nature referring to the undisturbed ecosystem. There is need for people to recognize the importance of nature conservation and appreciate its ecological importance.
Buddhism and wild laws as outlined above play a very important role in wildlife conservation. Buddhism reminds people that there should be a gentle relationship towards nature. The spiritual teachings are very important because they instill fear to those that are likely to do what is unacceptable by the religion.
Humankind entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of nature and using it responsibly to avoid pollution, degradation, and extinction of plant and animal species. Even though the many governments recognize the right of wildlife like that of human beings, there is need for enforcement of these rights if any fruits are to be realized, because the only recognized laws are those that can be enforced by a court of law.
The above themes have clearly demonstrated that the though man has power over nature, this power comes with responsibilities. Man has the responsibility to protect wildness. The five themes demonstrate how people should take the responsibility of protecting the nature. Of the above five themes, there are two of them which are considered to be the best way through which man can be made to respect nature. Buddhism and wild law form the best alternatives that can be best used to protect wildness.
Buddhism helps in protecting nature because people respect religion. If their religion forbids something, it becomes a command that they cannot go against. Similarly, wild law is the best approach through which the rest of the world can use to protect nature. Going against the law would come with consequences that human beings would try to avoid. These two alternatives are discussed below.
Albert (47) once said that religion is a prison of the mind. This scholar held that religion would always bind the mind and limit its independence within its principles. It will give the believer some form of independence to reason, but this independence will always be limited to the principles of the religion.
This would mean that such believers would act within these principles. Religion has drawn the attention of many worldwide. Researches have been done to show that close to 80% of citizens in any nation are attached to a given religion. Both the followers and the non-followers heavily adore religion. In most nations, in case of any unjust ruling or leadership, views, opinions, and judgments by the religious leaders are respected and followed, and in some, it acts as the high court where decisions are finalized.
Buddhism is recorded as one of the rapidly growing religion in the world. It is a very conservative religion and where teachings are strictly followed by the followers. Most of its teachings relate well with how people should relate amongst themselves and with nature.
Based on the authority and power given to the religion, Buddhism is one of the themes of wildness that can be best used to explain the concept of wildness.
In dealing with the wildness, the religion has specific teachings that outline the benefits of plants and animals and the reasons why it needs conservation. According to Arbour (56), Buddhism encourages the followers to respect nature not only because of the benefits they derive from it, but also to avoid punishment that come along with disrespect of wildness.
Many countries around the world have enacted laws that are meant to guide the relationship between man and wildness. It is a fact that humankind is superior to wildness. This puts humankind to a position where he can do anything to nature. Given the selfish nature of humankind, chances are always high that wildness will be at threat. For this matter, there should be clear laws and regulations that to regulate the way human being should relate to wildness.
Various nations around the world have developed commissions under various ministries to help protect nature. To help these commissions work properly; there are laws that have been enacted giving them power to ensure that wildness is protected. Most of these laws clearly define the role that should be played by every member of the society to ensure that they protect nature.
Other international laws regulate the entire world on issues regarding protection of the wildness. For instance, the Kyoto protocol was meant to regulate the amount of emissions of greenhouse gases into the environment. This is because this emission has direct negative impact on wildness. The emissions destroys wilderness, the only home to the wildness.
Wildness is part of nature and plays a very important role in balancing forces of nature. As explained above, wildness should be protected to ensure that all forces of nature could be protected from any form of interference. Various themes have been put forth to ensure that the wildness is protected.
These themes are meant to protect nature in different fronts. These themes are meant to help define the relationship between human and wildness. Of the five themes, the two themes that are most relevant in the contemporary world are the Buddhism and wild law. Buddhism is important given its religious context.
Religion will always instill beliefs and practices into its followers and it is rare for the believers to go against the doctrines of their religion. Buddhism is one of the religions that respect nature. This religion has principles, which stipulate that the followers should respect wildness, from plants to animals, unless used as food. Given that most of their food is domesticated, wildness will be very safe if the society is to embrace wildness.
Albert, Susan. What Wildness Is This: Women Write About the Southwest. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007. Print.
Arbour, Claude. Choosing Wildness: My Life Among the Ospreys. New York: Greystone Books, 2008. Print.
Minnich, Randy. Wildness in a Small Place. Wexford: Lulu Press, 2004. Print.
Springer, Tom. Looking for Hickories: The Forgotten Wildness of the Rural Midwest. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008. Print.