Suffering and Intervention

The topic of interventionism in nature for one reason or another has been a long-standing subject of debate for a very long time in environmental ethics and political discussions. To this day that are those that view intervention as a dichotomy, that one must either be for all intervention or against all intervention on principle. The reality of course is that there are many cases of intervention in nature going very wrong, such as the introduction of cane toads in northern Australian, or the eradication of Wolves in large areas of north America in the late 19th and early 20th century. Both acts that are horrific examples of human hubris when it comes to the management of nature. (kepp reading)

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The “Native” Question

No doubt each of us is familiar with the concept of native plants and animals. Nativism is by no means a new concept, but it is one that is often supported by fallacies and pseudoscience. It is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts in conservation policy. The problem is that the foundational values on which nativism rests is not clearly outlined in everyday thought because it is not a subject that is easily communicated since the value of native animals and plants has become so distorted through scientific understanding of ecology, the political and social perception of the “threat” of exotic species, and finally perhaps the most underappreciated source of value but perhaps mostly important to our appreciation of the concept of nativism which can be found in our rejection of the homogenisation of planetary ecology and the formation of mono-cultures resulting from invasive species. (keep reading)

Turning the Lens on Ourselves

It is clear in natural aesthetics that our senses move us in our world view and our perspectives, but in what direction must be guided in some sense towards the reality of nature. With this understanding and with respect to nature, it is so important for many authors such as Carlson (1891) and Rolston (2002) for this experience to be positioned within a scientific lens and scientific appreciation. But not all experiences are going to be pleasant in nature and therefore aesthetics differs so distinctly from our hedonistic pursuit of pleasure, indeed at times it can induce experiences of terror, disgust and ugliness (Brady 1998). (keep reading)

A Cognitive Approach to Natural Aesthetic Experiences

One might consider however, that such a view must be directed in some way. Left to their own devices there would be no guarantee that those experiencing nature on its own terms, nor that they would see nature as it really is from a scientific perspective. Rolston III (1998) provides some insight here where he says in reference to the aesthetics of forests, though it easily applies to all natural aesthetics, “One must be moved, but one needs to be moved in the right direction, where "right" means with appropriate appreciation of what is actually going on.” –where “right” simply means towards an appropriate appreciation of nature on its own terms. (keep reading)

Why Aesthetics Matters for Environmentalism

Why should we care about making appropriate aesthetic judgements? There are two answers to this question, the first is obvious: Carlson (1981) says “By aesthetically appreciating nature for what it is, we will shape our ethical views such that there is the best opportunity for making sound ethical judgements regarding matters of environment and ecological concern” a very clear and concise point. Aesthetics has in modern times been argued to represent the way humans perceive the world around them – specifically focusing on the relationship between aesthetic object and the human perceiver more so then any focus on the formal properties of the object which consumed a great deal of the conversation about aesthetics. (Keep Reading)