Week 4 Blog – Ideologies of Nature in Pop. Cuture

There’s this popular song about the environment from the 70s by Joni Mitchell called “Big Yellow Taxi.” Even though this song was written 48 years ago, she still talks about how the natural world around her is changing. The hook of the song talks about how “they paved paradise and they put up a parking lot,” she’s depicting that natural land [paradise] is being changed into parking lots because of the increasing development of the urban world. She then talks about how trees are removed and then put into a “tree museum” and then they charge people to come see them. I’m guessing shes talking about how cities make big gardens for tourists to see, as if seeing trees and plants are rare. She also talks about farmers using pesticides to kill insects, but she wants to save the bees and birds. There’s an ongoing theme about how “That you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone.”

I think this song enforces the idea that people are using the world around them for the benefit of them, without thinking of the consequences. It sounds like in the song that the natural world is forever changing to suit the lives of humans and to serve as a resource for us to use. The song is depicting that the environment and nature should not be treated and used so brutally yet, humans continue to do so. I think about big idea is also that humans are consuming more resources than we have at such a high rate without considering what to do after the resources have run out, and our world is destroyed. When she talks about how trees are removed and then put into a tree museum, where people are charged to look at them, is a great example of capitalism, using the world’s resources to make a profit.

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