Justification of Open Spaces

The Need For Nature


The world is currently facing a sustainability crisis; the continuation of our daily lives is dependent on nonrenewable resources. Being ecologically sustainable means that a society does not undermine the resources on which its future prosperity depends. In other words, the society must live off the interest, and not deplete its capital. Our current situation is the antithesis of sustainability. We are increasing our population, deforesting large tracts of land, creating deserts, eroding tons of soil, eliminating species, and contributing to global warming at an alarming rate.

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In an essay by Valerie Harms, she defines ecopsychology as an emerging field that attempts to integrate psychology and environmentalism, especially focusing on the relationship that the Earth has with the behavior of its inhabitants (Harms, 1997). Ecopsychology, a term made popular by Theodore Roszak's The Voice of Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology, addresses both the suffering of the Earth by the misbehavior of people and the subsequent suffering of the people due to the suffering of the Earth (Harms, 1997). She writes, "Ecopsychology...seeks to understand and heal our relationship with the Earth. It examines the psychological processes that bond us to the natural world or that alienate us from it."

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The Practicality of Nature

Teaching with Nature

  • ENVI101, Man, Woman and the Environment
  • Biol 374/Envi 361, Wetland Ecology
  • GEOL 453/553, Environmental Geophysics
  • GEOL 114, The Earth's Dynamic Interior
  • GEOL113, Dynamic Earth
  • GEOL 465/565, Environmental Measurements
  • ENVI201
  • GEOL111
  • ENVI342, Environmental Hydrology
  • GEOL416 / GEOL516, Hydrogeology
  • BIOL114, Introductory Biology
  • Running and Health Awareness
  • ENG205, Folklore
  • ENG 112, Science and Literature

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Outdoor Endeavors

Compiling a list of all of the uses for the Nature Preserve is a work in progress. It is something that, hopefully, can never be finished as people find new ways to utilize the natural areas on campus without damaging the environment. Already the Nature Preserve is used by countless people for a variety of purposes. This ranges from recreation and exercise to scientific studies and inspiration for fine arts projects. There are also a whole host of ways in which we could use the Preserve given the right planning.

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Research in the Nature Preserve

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Important Aspects of Nature


The Binghamton University natural areas provide a variety of important ecological functions. These include improving water quality, flood prevention, supporting biodiversity, and providing a means for carbon storage. The environment is seriously threatened in many aspects including deforestation, pollution, and rising global temperatures. Even the preservation of regions such as our natural areas helps to contribute to the health of the environment.

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Invasive Species

There are many exotic, or non-native, species in the Nature Preserve and unfortunately, many are invasive. Exotic species are plants or animals that normally don't live in our region and have been introduced either by accident or delibrately planted in the area(non-native). Exotic species can be harmless, but many are harmful. A species is considered invasive when it pushes indigenous species out or does some other harm to an ecosystem.

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Ethics of Land Use

In our distant past we lived within nature. Paleolithic man asked for the forgiveness of the animals he killed because he knew he was connected to them, dependent on them for survival (Disch, 92). However, our ideas about the world around us have changed drastically. Since at least the time of Copernicus, "civilized" man has had the false view that the universe revolves around humans. The domestication of plants and animals has distanced us from the natural world. There has been a false sense that we are not subject to the same laws that govern every living thing, from bacteria to our closest cousins, the chimpanzee.

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