This chapter argues that the reason why our natural environment has taken such a hit over the generations is it has been thought of and dealt with in pieces, chopped up into segments that can easily be labeled and disposed of—like the Titan Cement permits. Even on the university campus where the author has worked for more than twenty years, natural spaces are typically considered either as mere scenery or future building sites—not as parts of a single connected ecosystem of intrinsic value beyond pleasure or use. David Quammen begins his brilliant book Song of the Dodo by asking his reader to imagine a beautiful Persian carpet, say, twelve by eighteen feet square. Now take a sharp knife, he says: “We set about cutting the carpet into thirty-six equal pieces, each one a rectangle two feet by three.” We wind up with the same 216 square feet of carpet-like stuff. “But what does it amount to?” he asks. “Have we got thirty-six nice Persian throw rugs? No. All we're left with is three dozen ragged fragments, each one worthless and commencing to come apart.”
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