At first, the idea of removing all human-made objects from the wilderness sounds like the charitable thing to do. It's the way things should be, right? In actuality, this plan doesn't hold as much merit as originally thought. Although it may be healthy for the environment to some extent, there is something else that needs to be considered. It is hard to decipher whether or not something should be deemed "unnatural." The American Indians, as well as their structures, were able to co-exist serenely with their wilderness surroundings. Society should be more worried about something's effects on its surroundings as opposed to assuming because it is man-made, it must be given the name "unnatural." If there is a negative result on the environment from something a human made, only then should it be termed as "unnatural." Before there were cities and cars, factories and pollution, mass production and waste, there were people and nature. The Native Americans roamed the continent living peacefully and in sync with it.
Some even looked at their surroundings as a greater power. In Louis Owens' essay, "The American Indian Wilderness," he recalls the Salishan people who consider the Glacier Peak Mountain to be, "Dakobed, or the Great Mother, the place of emergence." Considering Native Americans have homes and structures within wilderness areas, is it fair to say they must be removed simply because they are man-made? It can be argued that because these people have lived so serenely with nature that they, as well as their creations, are nature in themselves. However, man has damaged many areas of the natural world. As a result of our pollution, there is a hole in the ozone layer.
The rainforests have been significantly de pleated, as well as many other areas, simply because we wanted what they supplied. Many animals have become endangered and even extinct because of our destructive behaviors. What is left of our great world should be savored and protected. Whatever we can do to keep what we have left, we should, as well as encourage regrowth in all that's been lost. That means taking anything out of the wild that is human-made, if it caused significant damage to the area, and replacing it with what was once lost or destroyed. In Owens' essay, he discovers he's been narrow minded in believing man and nature should be separate.
After his experience with the two old women, Owens begins to realize a new philosophy about the issue. "I began to understand that what I called 'wilderness' was an absurdity, nothing more than a figment of the European imagination." He goes on to say, " Before the European invasion, there was no wilderness in North America; there was only the fertile continent where people lived in a hard-learned balance with the natural world." So how do we know where to draw the line? Is it fair for us to say that the children's jungle gym in the middle of a park is less "natural" than the hovering firs surrounding it? Society needs to begin looking to the past and the ancient people of our land as guidance in these questions. As Owens said in his essay, " unless all human beings can learn to imagine themselves as intimately and inextricably related to every aspect of the world they inhibit, with the extraordinary responsibilities such relationship entails-unless they can learn what the indigenous peoples of the Americas knew and often still know-the earth simply will not survive.".