Academic journal article Journal of Literary Studies

Engaging with Nature (1)

Academic journal article Journal of Literary Studies

Engaging with Nature (1)

Article excerpt

Summary

The environmental disasters we experience today necessitate drastic measures to ensure sustainable development of our natural resources. Changing people's attitudes towards the environment is often seen as one such strategy to effect positive changes. Designing effective strategies to do so requires, however, basic insight into the myriad variables that motivate people's positive and negative behaviours towards nature--an area in which very little basic theory-driven empirical research has been forthcoming.

This article explores some of the variables that effect people's attitudes towards nature, more specifically the way in which an aesthetic engagement with nature motivates positive attitudes, which in turn could lead to positive behaviours towards nature. The reductionist character of the psychopathological model of the variables that affect humans' interactions with nature is discussed in Section 2.1. In contrast to this psychopathological model, Sections 2.2 to 2.4 focus on the variables, from the rational to the totally irrational, which could foster positive attitudes and behaviours towards nature. Section 3 presents a case study from the sixteenth century, that remarkable period between the Middle Ages and the Scientific Revolution, when the learned and lay engagement with nature was characterised by curiosity, wonders and amazement. The case study of Adriaen Coenen and his engagement with nature underscores the complexity, diversity, often incongruity, but also "pathology" which can characterise the engagement of individuals with their environments, and which has to be accounted for in a theory of human-environment interaction.

Opsomming

Die natuurrampe wat ons in ons hedendaagse wereld ervaar noodsaak ingrypende maatreels om volhoubare ontwikkeling van ons natuurlike hulpbronne te verseker. Om mense se houdings teenoor die omgewing te verander word dikwels gesien as een van die strategiee wat aangewend kan word om positiewe veranderings teweeg te bring. Die ontwerp van effektiewe strategiee vir hierdie doel verg egter basiese insig in die menigte veranderlikes wat mense se positiewe en negatiewe gedrag teenoor die natuur motiveer--'n gebied waar min basiese teoriegedrewe empiriese navorsing al onderneem is. Hierdie artikel stel ondersoek in na sommige van die veranderlikes wat mense se houdings teenoor die natuur beinvloed, en in die besonder hoe positiewe houdings aangekweek kan word deur mense te motiveer om esteties met die natuur om te gaan, wat dan weer kan lei tot positiewe gedrag teenoor die natuur. Die reduksionistiese aard van die psigopatologiese model van die veranderlikes wat die mens se omgang met die natuur beinvloed word in Afdeling 2.1 bespreek. In teestelling met hierdie psigopatologiese model, fokus Afdelings 2.2 tot 2.4 op die talle veranderlikes--van die rasionele tot die geheel en al irrasionele--wat positiewe houdings en gedrag teenoor die natuur kan bevorder. Afdeling 3 bied 'n gevallestudie aan uit die sestiende eeu, daardie merkwaardige tydperk tussen die Middeleeue en die Wetenskaplike Rewolusie, toe die betrokkenheid van geleerdes en leke by die natuur deur nuuskierigheid, wonderwerke en verwondering gekenmerk is. Die geval van Adriaen Coenen en sy betrokkenheid by en omgang met die natuur onderskryf die kompleksiteit, diversiteit, dikwels ongerymdheid, maar ook die "patologie", wat die mens se betrokkenheid by sy of haar omgewing kan kenmerk, en waarvan rekenskap gegee moet word in 'n teorie van mens-omgewingwisselwerking.

1 Introduction

The first recorded sighting of an octopus (poilippus, poelomp, cepia) in Western Europe is that of Adriaen Coenen in 1546. Coenen was an autodidact, clerk of the auction of the Scheveningen fish market, wholesaler in dried and fresh fish, official beachcomber, and supplier of marine curiosities. In his unpublished "Visboock"/"Groot Visboock" ("Fish Book"; written between 1577 and 1579;) and "Walvisboock" ("Whale Book", written between 1583-1584)--works with elements of the modern encyclopedia, thesaurus, field guide, and ego document--he describes the morphology of the octopus (cf. …

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