Early naturalists often shot what they were studying. Is this a contradiction for naturalists or a scientific method of the times?
It is such a pity that Swifts suffered such a fate in the hands of those who should have been the campaigners of conservation. Naturalists are, by description, friends of nature. For a naturalist to kill the very organism that he or she is studying is such an irony. But I cannot blame them entirely. Environmental conservation was never taken seriously in the early days; not until nature decided to hit back, and humans started to realize the need to protect and conserve wildlife.
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Restricting timber cutting to maintain the habitat of an endangered species
At times, we have to choose between protecting nature and economic development. Endangered species have to be protected at all costs. We can easily have human-made forests to provide for timber, but we can never restore extinct species. In this regard, restricting timber cutting to maintain the habitat of an endangered species is in order.
Is anthropomorphizing towards animals the “correct” way for a naturalist to think and write?
I would use the same writing style as White. Giving a human face to animals ensures that readers think of animals as equal beings and hence may change how they interact with them. In other words, such a style conveys a naturalistic message to readers and may help them become naturalists as well and eventually contribute to the conservation of nature.
Description of the experience with Northern Lights
How marvelous it was to watch colorful skylights with a range of natural colors, including blue, red, green, white, purple, and pink. For a moment, I marveled at nature as I watched the aurora borealis of Alaska. Imagine a dark sky with bright skylights. It is an experience I would want to repeat over and over. For sure, the northern lights are amazing.
How could humanity have killed 300 – 500 million passenger pigeons until not a single one was left?
Prior to the 20th century, the population of passenger pigeons was terrific. Humanity is the worst enemy of nature. With thousands of them working as professional pigeon hunters, they mercilessly shot passenger pigeons and brought them to extinction in less than a century.
U.S. policies encouraging Euro-American settlement of Indian lands and similar policies in effect today
Traditional land policies in America were the most unsustainable. In a series of policies, the U.S. government encouraged Euro-American settlement on Indian land in a move that rendered Indians landless. These became the colonial policies in most countries globally. Luckily such policies are no longer in effect in any part of the world.
The most affecting authors-naturalists
As I read Gilbert White’s writings, I realized how nature has suffered in the hands of those who should have passionately protected it. Through White’s writings, I learned how to think and act like a true naturalist.
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Catlin’s art telling a story about bison and Indians
George Catlin used his art to campaign for conservation. As I viewed his paintings, I constantly got the message on the need to protect animals from the wrath of humanity. Catlin seems to be passing across a message of conservation in his art. In his 1847 painting of an Osage Indian Lancing a Buffalo, Catlin portrays how man is a threat to nature and indirectly advocates for conservation. In his writings, Catlin constantly expressed his concerns about Indians posing a threat to bison (buffalo) and advocated for national parks as the only solution. His painting clearly illustrated this; hence Catlin is a true naturalist.