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Upuli Meemaduma Geog 3376 - Bruce Braun 12 September 2011

                                                 Understanding Nature

Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago to Great West by William Cronon, Strange natures by Noel Castree, and City of Flows: Modernity, Nature, and the City by Maria Kaika all share one thing in common, that is they all talk about nature in different perspectives. In Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago to Great West, Cronon shares his point of view and his feeling towards two different atmospheres. Cronon is originally from Chicago moves to the “Great West”, which references the country side. The story is written in series of historical journeys between city and country in an effort to understand the city’s place in nature. Cronon describes the Chicago city life and he is not of fan of that city as you read the story. He compares the city life to the rural Madison, Wisconsin. Madison is a rural place to begin with and it is full of landscapes that Chicago lacks. Chicago describes a city that has a dark, busy, crowed, and polluted area. He also stated, “Chicago represented all that was most unnatural about human life” (Cronon 7). This quotation questioned me to ask why he represents Chicago as the unnatural place and Wisconsin as the natural. Later on the story he explains that crowdedness and the artificialness of Chicago is why it is unnatural to life. The artificial is the pollution in the city that building up do to the crowding of the growing population of Chicago. As the story goes on Cronon makes a shift in the story as he ties these differences of rural to urbanization to show the similarities of each other. City and country might be separate places, but they were hardly isolated. He makes these shifts to understand nature in the perspective of environment. In Strange Natures by Noel Castree focuses on a different form of nature that focuses on people. How people affect nature and what kind nature that is. Castree writes Strange Natures in the form of small stories within a story. All these stories represent nature in contemporary life. The boy who took his father to court to find out who is the real father, violence involving sex, and how biology plays a role in nature. Castree question all these topics he covers, is this what biology is or is this something that people have formed in nature. Nature of Castree is a different part of nature in today’s world while Cronon covers nature of two different atmospheres in the environment. In City of Flows by Kaika goes at nature in finding patters of culture, environment, and behavior. She believes that nature is something that’s out there and it is still out there it just needs to be discovered by someone. Nature is some that can be created by people. As people change their surroundings, nature will adjust to the new surroundings. All these authors talk about nature in three different points of views. Cronon tells a story of Chicago from a point view of the socio-natural processes that transformed both city and countryside and which shaped that particular political-ecology that created the alteration of the Midwest as a distinct American urbanized socio-nature. Castree produces a nature that involves biology and how biology and people both affect nature. He views nature in form of contemporary life while Kaika describes how nature is created by people and culture. The surroundings involving nature is can be controlled by people and the culture they grew up in.