What is a pristine environment?

  1. vanteezy profile image39
    vanteezyposted 15 years ago

    What is a pristine environment?

  2. Serjibond profile image61
    Serjibondposted 15 years ago

    Pristine environment is an environment undisturbed and not changed by people, environment as is. It is also a belief that the nature of North and Latin Americas was intact until Europeans came and destroyed it by developing their agriculture, mining, urbanism and industry.

  3. paul_gibsons profile image60
    paul_gibsonsposted 15 years ago

    the idea of a pristine environment relies on the underlying but usually unspoken idea that humans are not part of the natural environment and that any change caused by them causes an environment not to be "pristine" anymore. In other words "untouched by human hands" or, as we say in science not subjected to "anthropogenic influences" which means much the same thing.

    But then we also have to include "change" induced by humans hundreds or thousands of years ago, including the Maya's and Aztecs or the extinction of certain of the larger animal species through hunting in North America well before pre-European times which doesn't sit well with our romantic notions of "indigenous people's stewardship" and guilt complexes associated with colonialism...

    When we think of a pristine environment we "dream" of a type of garden of Eden, full of flowers, lush green vegetation, cuddly fuzzy warm animals etc etc. However if we apply the standard of "untouched by human hands" to the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean, it is also largely pristine following the eruptions of the Soufriere which destroyed much if not most of the previously lush and rich flora and fauna there and covered it with a thick layer of ash and lava, which doesn't quite feel the same now, does it... So that definition or description doesn't quite cut it in that sense either...

    Nor does the idea sometimes proposed of "unchanged over thousands of years": change is always taking place - even if we call it "evolution"..

    The main problem is that we see ourselves as  "aliens", "outside the natural environment", as if we don't belong.. as if we are not part of the ecosystem and have a rightful place and therefore function in it. This idea isn't new but actually hundreds of years old. To get a really good feel or understanding of that (and the nonsense it stems from as well as that it creates) Timothy Morton's book Ecology without Nature is an excellent start (and comes out in paperback in september 2009 so we can all afford and read it at last..)

    so the idea of "pristine environment" is hopelessly vague, ill defined and best left for dreaming of the Garden of Eden or whatever equivalent in other cultures and belief systems. It really has no place in science...


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