Entertainment often shapes our views of nature as we develop and grow. Most people live in a non-rural area in the U.S. and grow up with signs, advertisement, movies, and the idea of Disney leading the roll of expectations in nature whether we believe that to be true or not. I was skeptical at the beginning of the chapter about how its influence really has affected children growing up and their thought son what nature really is. After reading deeper into the subject I found way more than expected and could even relate it to my own experiences.
Often Disney portrays nature in their films and television. On top of these fake sets and animation of nature there are also portrayals at the theme park. There is a completely controlled environment at the Disney park for kids and parents to go through. It is an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” where kids learn about the “land” and go through environments of fake smells, trees, animals, and it is sponsored by Kraft foods where facts about cash crops and corn/wheat/soybeans are given. This gives kids the understanding of land “use value”
This was the craziest thing I had ever heard of. Instead of showing kids nature, we have created a fake representation of it to introduce them to it and it is paid for partially by a processed food company to tell “facts” about farming and crops and the forests. How ludicrous. Parents and the creators may think it is helpful in that it introduces children to nature, but this skews the actuality of nature. This isn’t the only place this is seen.
Television and films do this in many ways. If you think about the films you’ve seen recently with any parts of nature in it you can probably see the theme of nature being a dangerous scary place. Animals attack, natural disasters, the world is ending, and humans caused it and can save it, the west is dangerous, ect. Nature is seen as a crazy unpredictable and harmful place in most cases. On the other hand, tourism states that it is picturesque, and it looks anything and everything like a postcard, disappointing people upon arrival.
So which is it? Dangerous or perfect? It’s confusing and unnecessary. Vacation culture has taken over most peoples mind. Whether it be to Disney or a place on a postcard it most likely isn’t in a local area. Vacations are leaving or finding and taken as far away. This is what media, Disney, advertisement, and most corporations want travelers and people to think for making money. Shopping and traveling has turned into an “artform” as Corbett has stated.
Even as we decide that these corporations are skewing our view of importance and how to see nature, we even see this in “environmental” stores. There is a huge shift towards ecotourism and enjoying our local and public lands. This is good right? Some stores such as REI, NorthFace, and Columbia, have also skewed our views on nature. With things like believing we need the best, newest, and most expensive gear in order to enjoy nature the proper way. They put up fake rock walls and pictures in the store and make people think to have a good experience at our public lands we must buy their products. Of course, I personally don’t believe this is entirely worse than how nature is portrayed in other systems of our culture, it’s not right. This leaves out populations of people with less money and time or vehicles to travel to distant expensive places.
Will we ever change the face of how we grow up viewing nature? As usual I believe education is the key to this. Introducing real and local places to children growing up will give them the perspective of actuality and what to expect to find when going out into nature. Maybe one day this will become reality.