Encountering Nature : Toward an Environmental Culture book cover
1st Edition

Encountering Nature
Toward an Environmental Culture

ISBN 9781138275928
Published November 28, 2016 by Routledge
206 Pages

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Book Description

This book argues that an attentive encounter with nature is of key importance for the development of an environmentally appropriate culture. The fundamental idea is that the environmental degradation that we are increasingly experiencing is best conceived as the consequence of a cultural mismatch: our cultures seem not to be appropriate to the natural environment in which we move and on which we depend in thoroughgoing ways. In addressing this problem, Thomas Heyd weaves together a rich tapestry of perspectives on human interactions with the natural world, ranging from traditional modes of managing human communities that include the natural environment, to the consideration of poetic travelogues, ecological restoration and botanic gardens. The volume is divided into three parts, which respectively consider the relation of human beings to nature in terms of ethics, aesthetics and culture. It engages the current literature in each of these areas with the help of inter-disciplinary approaches, as well as on the basis of personal encounters with natural spaces and processes. The ultimate aim of this book is to make a contribution to the development of a cultural fabric that is suitable to the natural spaces and processes in which we may thrive, and on which we all depend as individuals and as a species.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, Eric Katz; Preface; Introduction; Part I Environmental Conscience: The case for environmental morality; Environmental ethics in the workplace: a call to action; Environment and culture in Latin America: community, autonomy and resistance. Part II Appreciating Nature: Aesthetic appreciation and the many stories about nature; Basho and wandering aesthetics: recuperating space, recognizing place, following the ways of the universe; Rock art and the aesthetic appreciation of natural landscapes; After mining: reflections on reclamation through art. Part III Culture and Nature: Nature, culture, and natural heritage: toward a culture of nature; Northern plains boulder structures: art and heterotopias; Nature restoration without dissimulation: learning from Japanese gardens and earthworks; Botanic gardens as collaboration between humans and nature; Afterword: enabling an environmental culture; Index.

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Thomas Heyd is a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Victoria, Canada.


'Thomas Heyd’s Encountering Nature: Toward an Environmental Culture is an impressive and important treatment of our relationship with our environment. Heyd is one of the few philosophers who does not simply make significant contributions to environmental ethics and environmental aesthetics; he also directly addresses the vital links between morality and appreciation, between theory and practice, and above all between nature and culture.' Allen Carlson, University of Alberta, Canada 'In the third decade of environmental ethics and the fourth decade of environmental aesthetics there are a good number who do one of the two disciplines well; precious few excel at both. This collection of essays by Thomas Heyd cements his place among those talented few. More impressive, and enjoyable, is how well grounded Heyd's reflections are in actual environments and environmental conflicts, most of which will be new to the reader. This book is not only a tour de force of environmental philosophy but a wonderful tour of the global environment.' Andrew Light, University of Washington, USA ’Heyd's hugely conscientious attentiveness to the (thoroughly international) literature and his painstaking bibliographical annotations will certainly be appreciated by fellow researchers.’ British Journal of Aesthetics ’Despite the apparent diversity of issues, the book remains focused. Moreover, it covers some topics that are not too often examined in academic environmental philosophy. The treatment of issues is stimulating, as it combines profitably personal experiences and perceptions with sharp analysis.’ Environmental Politics ’... a though-provoking and engaging book that should find and audience with philosophers as well as academics, and indeed with anyone seriously interested in the ways we relate to nature.’ Environmental Ethics