The Disappearance of Geographical Knowledge: a Review of Lopez’s Writing

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The Disappearance of Geographical Knowledge: A Review of Lopez’s Writing In Barry Lopez’s The American Geographies it seems that the reader is able to immediately grasp the author’s enthusiasm and passion for letting us know how important he feels that it is for Americans to have a better understanding of their surroundings warning us to capture this knowledge before it is lost. He implies this by saying “Year by year the number of people with firsthand experience in the land dwindles. Rural population continues to shift to the cities”. (“The American Geographies”, Lopez) Lopez further expresses his concern for people’s indifference of the geographical understanding “in day to day affairs, one place serves as well as another to convey one’s point. On reflection, this is an appalling condescension and a terrible imprecision of the very antithesis of knowledge.” (“The American Geographies”, Lopez) He further warns us that if we continue to ignore the details of where we live, the “anyone with the political power or the will to do so”. (“The American Geographies”, Lopez) In addition, Lopez expresses that if the land becomes forgotten,” it will find itself with no defender.” Mr. Lopez points out that that if the persons he feels truly hold the knowledge of geography and its secrets of the land continue to be ignored (i.e.: small farmers, illiterate cowboys, American Indians and Eskimos), that the land will find itself with no defenders.(“The American Geographies”, Lopez) Lopez focuses on the landscape and environment over a few million years in order to illustrate the beauty of America that he feels that many modern day Americans have come to ignore or misunderstand. Early on in Barry Lopez’s writing of The American Geographies, he expresses his concern for how Americans have clearly lost touch with geographical knowledge of their environment and its surrounding

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