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Answer Questions:
1. What is Merchant’s overall thesis in this particular chapter? Is this a thesis that primarily describes material reality or cultural ideas?

2. How, according to Merchant, did the European environment change in the late medieval and early modern periods? What were the causes of environmental change in Europe?

3. What does Merchant mean by “wilderness” and “civilization” in their specific historical contexts? Or, put another way, what things could be “wild” and what could be “civilized” (and how)?

4. How did Europeans view the environments in the New World, and what effects did this have on their understanding of nature (and people)?

5. List the various pieces of evidence Merchant cites when discussing the “Decay of Nature.” What does she mean by “decay”? What was the “Sacred Theory of the Earth”?

6. List the various pieces of evidence Merchant cites when discussing the creation of a “Recovery Narrative” and “Mechanical Worldview.” How do these ideas differ from those discussed in question 5?

7. Merchant suggests that an emerging bourgeois capitalism meshed with a recovery narrative and mechanical worldview, particularly through the ideas of property. What does she mean by this?

8. What efforts or ideas of conservation emerged in the early modern period?

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