Anthropocentrism refers to a series of beliefs that hold that mankind is of utmost importance in life over both nature and other animals. Anthropocentrism, as well as ecocentrism, are ethical-based arguments for the importance of mankind and nature, respectively. In this sense, they dictate what opinions or actions are deemed acceptable with regards to interacting with the earth. Proponents of anthropocentrism regard nature as a resource that should be utilized fully for the benefit of humans (Robbins 67)[1. Robbins, Paul, Hintz, John, and Moore, A., Sarah Environment and Society. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2011. Print.].
The concept of ecocentrism is the direct opposite of anthropocentrism. Ecocentrism indicates a series of values that are environmentally based rather than human based. In ecocentrism, the earth and nature are held to a higher regard making it, overall, a nature-centered value. Proponents of ecocentrism argue through ethics that nature is a highly valuable aspect of life that deserves respect from human interaction. Proponents also argue that humans hold no more intrinsic value than nature does and as such, nature should receive equal treatment as humans do (Robbins 72) [2. Robbins, Paul, Hintz, John, and Moore, A., Sarah Environment and Society. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2011. Print.].
Frontier is a part of land that is neither conquered nor inhabited by humans. Experiencing the frontier allows people to go back in time. People go back to this place to live life as they once did before. They experience a primitive lifestyle
[3. Cronon, William. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1995. Print.]. It is the human’s perception of the wilderness that preserves the frontier experience. Essentially, the frontier is now non-existent due to human activity on the planet. Now, it is just the human perception of wilderness that allows people to believe that they are experiencing the frontier even when they are not.
The Great Split
The Great Split refers to the separation between humans and the surrounding natural environment. A potentially controversial topic, the Great Split is a driving force in the belief that society has continually distanced itself from the life that surrounds it constantly. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the Great Split is not accurate since humans share a connection to nature through the characteristic wildness that is a biological part of their being (Neyrat)[4. Neyrat, Frederic. “Wilderness and Wildness.” Environmental Studies: The Humanistic Perspective. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. 11 Sept. 2013. Lecture.].
Humans preserve pieces of land that has intrinsic value, or in other words what has value to them. Humans tend to preserve what they think deserves to be maintained. If it has natural beauty and aesthetic appeal, humans want to preserve it. As Aldo Leopold stated, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, beauty, and stability of the biotic community” (Leopold 224-225)[5. Leopold, Aldo, and Charles Walsh Schwartz. A Sand County Almanac. London, etc.: Oxford University Press, 1949. Print.].When humans focus on preservation they aim for keeping the land how they picture it should be, the status quo.
This term describes the desire to escape civilization and take hold of masculinity in the wilderness. An example is when men would experience the frontier: “a man could be a real man, the rugged individual he was meant to before civilization sapped his energy” (Cronon 78)
[6. Cronon, William. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1995. Print.]. Society once viewed the wilderness as the unknown, so it was considered brave for men to go into the wilderness and explore. Men who lived in the city sought out the wilderness to regain their sense of masculinity. To experience life in the wilderness and conquer it creates a rugged person.
This term refers to wilderness as a place, a sacred temple: “To protect wilderness was in a very real sense to protect the nation’s most sacred myth of origin” (Cronon 77)
[7. Cronon, William. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1995. Print.]. In certain situations, the wilderness was considered sublime. People would feel a deep spiritual connection when in the wilderness, and in some situations they thought it would bring them closer to God. This spiritual connection is what gives the wilderness a positive connotation. Today, this sublime experience has been domesticated by humans. This sublime experience is tamed by those who seek refuge from the city life and wish to experience the untainted wilderness. The sublime is a utopia that is untainted by human development (Cronon 76)
[8. Cronon, William. Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1995. Print.].