NATURE ON DISPLAY
Florida Fossils/ Marine Life
When I entered this exhibit, I felt like I was immersed into the ocean with the combination of the sound of water playing, the dim blue light, and the life size fish all around me. It gives us a cartoon and highly compacted idea of what the ocean is like, which is nice because the average person has never explored the ocean. This exhibit reminded me of the vast amount of different marine species, including those that are extinct and now living.
This exhibit was laid out well and had good flow between points of interest. It had a combination of the history of the ocean which included things like plate tectonics information and an array of fossils, as well as displays showing interesting types of fish and other marine species.
NATURE AND ETHICS
Against Leopold's hopes, I think the Florida Museum of Natural History makes us feel more like "conquers of the land" than members of the biotic community. The fact that we even have a museum devoted to teaching us about nature proves that we are so disconnected from our natural environment. We have figured out how to live in comfort without any interaction with the natural environment if we so desired, which for all intents and purposes, deems us conquers of the nature. The beneficiaries of the museum knew this, but in their attempt to reconnect us, they made us feel even more like conquers. When we walk through halls of hanging dead animals and fossils, and pathways around a caged in sanctuary for plants and butterflies, we cant help but to think that we have total domination over them. The way to truly reconnect with nature is to spend weeks, months- even years- miles from civilization.
Most people, however, will never do this in their entire lifetimes. It may be too farfetched to imagine a world where humans live in harmony with our natural environment. It is my prediction that as a society in general, we'll keep treating nature as something we're better than, yet interested in; when we get a spark of interest, we'll go to the museum, or go for a walk in the woods. Hell, maybe even go on the Naked and Afraid survival show- but we'll always return to the comfort of civilization.
These were some thoughts going through my head as I was touring the FLMNH, but I don't get the feeling most people understand how bad it is for Earth to carry the mindset of being better than nature. Most people I saw were casually strolling through, pointing at things that they thought were cool then quickly losing interest and moving on to the next interesting thing. My friend Zach and I preferred to take more time and get a better understanding of everything we were looking at.
NATURE AND THE HUMAN SPIRIT
Heschel is definitely right when he says we need to take time to appreciate the world and the universe. Taking a visit to a nature museum is a good first step for those who are attempting to do this because it makes us realize we are just another organism and stimulates our interests in the lives of the rest of the species on this planet.
We are often so caught up in our ordinary lives that we forget that we are beings that came from nature. Even if we no longer live in nature, our long lost ancestors did and I think we all have at least a small desire deep down to know what life must have been like 12,000 years ago. When we step out of our hectic daily schedule and for instance go to a nature museum, it allows us to remember that we are a part of the biosphere on a rock spiraling through an empty void we call space.