Blog #4 – Ideologies of Nature in Popular Culture

I had trouble finding a specific example of something regarding nature in pop culture that reinforces the status quo. However, I did find some interesting articles talking about the problem with romanticizing nature. One article in The Guardian addresses the controversy of culling badger populations on milk farms in England. Badgers can carry bovine TB which threaten the health of the cattle. Additionally, England’s badger population has doubled over the past 30 years due to a lack of predators. Despite all the issues badgers are causing, there’s a growing movement by some buyers and shops to stop buying from farms where cuddly badgers are being culled. A factor that participants of this badger preservation movement seem to be unaware of is that badgers are predators that feast on all sorts of cute animals like baby birds and hedgehogs. With their population out of control badgers threaten the balance of other species in the ecosystem.

“instead of seeing and understanding hierarchies in the natural world we see one great cuddly Disneyland of cuteness. The natural world isn’t like that. Watch your cat teasing an injured bird, and remember that man is merely the most damaging of the exploiters of natural power”.

The problem with painting the natural world as this “Disneyland of cuteness” is that it causes us to ignore the important function of nature’s more brutal aspects. It’s not pleasant to see a predator eating a cute and cuddly prey, but it’s part of the process that keeps the natural world in a sort of balance.

The issue of human intervention in the natural order is a complicated one. It could be argued that the badger issue is a human created problem in the first place since the establishment of farms displaces the badger’s natural predators. I’m not sure where I stand on the issue, but it’s interesting to consider how our tendency to want nature to be clean and pretty can lead to damaging interventions.

I picked the National Geographic theme for my audio because the article got me thinking about how they deal with animals in distress. From what I understand, their general policy is to avoid intervening. If I had time I would rewrite my post on this article I found, To Rescue or Not, That is the Question With Distressed Animals, but I already wrote it on the silly badgers article.

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