Before studying wolves as a hybrid object, I really didn’t know much about them. I was surprised to learn about all the different sides of them, such as being apex predators, pests/threats, symbols of the wild, evil hunters, and management challenges. I especially thought the connection between wolves as evil hunters and as pests and threats was interesting. Because they symbolize masculinity, it almost becomes a competition between the wolves and “real men” to hunt. Their evolutionary history poses them as direct threats to humans; they are apex predators, and they live in packs and learn from the “parents” or leaders of the pack. The similarities are really interesting, because although humans denounce wolves as merciless and wasteful, when we turn the lens back to ourselves, we could be seen the exact same way. There’s such a struggle to suppress wolves to assert human dominance over all.
We also talked about nuclear power. It was interesting to break down such a controversial topic, especially since I’ve been exploring alternatives to nuclear power for my situated project as well as my Environmental Affairs Symposium session. Japan was a major proponent of nuclear energy until the Fukushima meltdown of 2011. Since then, the majority of Japan’s nuclear energy plants have been shut down. It seems as if nuclear energy is encouraged and advocated for until a disaster strikes; although these incidents are rare, nations are beginning to realize the extreme biological and economical cost of this potential risk. Some arguments in favor of nuclear energy state that there just needs to be more research into the use of nuclear energy so it can work towards a safer and more stable future; however I would argue that this money should go towards developing renewable energy sources instead.
I really enjoyed watching If a Tree Falls. It was really thought-provoking and served as somewhat of a reality check. We are learning about so many environmental problems and it’s really easy to get frustrated with society’s lack of progress towards a better future. The film reminded me how hard it is to achieve change these days: it also made me think about how I would want that change to happen. I could definitely see why the Earth Liberation Front felt they needed to take such extreme actions to affect any kind of immediate change in our world of bureaucracy. However upon further thought, I realized that they really didn’t achieve anything by burning down the buildings that they did. They might have stopped that particular business from polluting, but it did nothing for other businesses. They also claim that they are very careful to only destroy property and not lives, but by burning down someone’s life project they are practically destroying a life. Their actions only perpetuate a cycle of violence that isn’t conducive to constructive negotiation or open conversations about what needs to be done in the future.