The two paradigms that Catton & Dunlap discussed in their article, Paradigms, Theories, and the Primacy of the HEP-NEP Distinction, address contradictory world views of the environment. They argue that the Human Exemptionalism Paradigm theory claims that humans are the most superior beings on the planet, and they are in control of the environment, however it does not take into account that humans are, in fact, dependent on the environment. It wasn’t until the 1970’s, Catton & Dunlap argue, that humans realized that we are inextricably linked to the environment and are impacted by the environment, and actually place constraints on us as inhibitors.
While sitting with Bill this afternoon, and in fact after humanizing him at the beginning of my blog, I could not accept the HEP theory or worldview. Although arborists strategically placed this tree here, the tree limits the economic gains that Dickinson could have. For example, the Peddler Coffee stand could be placed on this triangle of land. Or, Dickinson could build a brand new building designed specifically for the sociology department (not that I’m bitter), thus contributing to the economic rise of the college. However, humans must realize their limits placed by the natural environment, and we can see Bill as not a tree who hinders economic progress, but as a tree who gives us humans shade, beauty, and actually health benefits! Bill helps clean the air that we humans breath, and provides a nice sitting area underneath. It is interesting to see how Dickinson actually uses their beautiful academic quad as a selling point for the college. The nature that is existent across the campus gives the school a picture-esque platform for encouraging students to come here.