The poster presentations were a nice wrap up to the course because they provided even more examples of the multitudes of ways in which the slash between Human/Nature can be interpreted. I was impressed by the variety of ideas and interpretations of the theme that people chose to focus on. Some of the posters echoed ideas brought up in the lectures, while others brought up aspects of the slash that I had not considered before. I thought the posters reflected the interests of the presenters in a way that enabled them to enthusiastically explore a topic of their interest, which in turn made me interested to hear what they had to say.
I liked the poster about how stadiums represent the relationship humans have with nature. Humans try to assert their dominion over nature by building giant structures to house thousands of people and change the landscape. However, nature often reasserts its dominance when these structures fail due to natural occurrences such as snowstorms. Although the stadiums were created as manifestations of human power, many of them were ultimately overpowered by natural forces.
The stadiums poster reminded me of the poster about the remedies humans have instituted in the past to protect their health and the unforeseen consequences that have arisen as a result. For instance, the introduction of penicillin has saved many lives but has also created antibiotic resistant bacteria. Humans often have no way of knowing what consequences our endeavors could create because the nature that surrounds us often reacts in unexpected ways. For this reason, although we have the capability to destroy the mosquito population, wiping out malaria and other diseases, doing so could cause unexpected circumstances worse than malaria so the mosquitoes remain. The manipulation of nature has its rewards, but it can be dangerous.
This question of how much humans should try to manipulate nature was given more context by the poster about the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet is a trend diet in which participants attempt to live a healthier life by eating what the Neanderthals ate years ago. This attempt to be healthy is based on the idea that our bodies are better adapted to eat what early humans ate instead of the processed food that is the staple of many modern diets. Thus, by manipulating the foods that go into his or her body, a person can live more naturally. However, the Paleo diet has many skeptics who think that this lifestyle is not ideal and that humans should adapt to eating cultivated food.
These posters represent the somewhat tenuous relationship between humans and nature. Humans try to manipulate nature, but in many cases nature’s power overrides those efforts. The intersection of humans and nature can produce innovations, or it can produce catastrophe. It can solve some problems while simultaneously creating others. Some posters showed the positive aspects of humans and nature working together, from the creation of naturally inspired art to the growth of local tomatoes. Overall, the posters encompassed the diversity of interactions between humans and nature and the consequences of these interactions.