Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's natural for us to name nature, but we're losing contact with it

Last week we posted an item about the loss of contact with nature by Americans, particularly young people. Again drawing from The New York Times, we direct your attention to a related article by Carol Kaesuk Yoon, adapting her new book, Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science.

Yoon offers some eye-opening accounts of the fundamental human nature of naming the natural world, the talent for taxonomy that even occupies a specific part of our brains. (Some of the 53 commenters noted she doesn't mention God's command to Adam in Genesis to name all living creatures.) She urges us to use that gray matter, to get back in touch with the natural world.

"Even when scads of insistent wildlife appear with a flourish right in front of us, and there is such life always — hawks migrating over the parking lot, great colorful moths banging up against the window at night — we barely seem to notice," Yoon writes. "We are so disconnected from the living world that we can live in the midst of a mass extinction, of the rapid invasion everywhere of new and noxious species, entirely unaware that anything is happening." (Read more)

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