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Environment and Social Values

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This paper suggests three fundamental influences that have led to the development of a socially embedded view of the environment in the United States. While our social relationship to the environment has changed over our history, from one primarily of exploitation to one primarily of stewardship, the natural world continues to be central to the American sense of self. Epistemological evolution also has clearly affected how we understand and relate to the environment, particularly as scientific and other epistemologies have evolved in the context of a country whose people and history are tightly connected to its natural resources. Finally, our society has developed a sense of ethical responsibility to the environment. These three strands have created the intellectual environment within which the scientific tools used to understand the natural world are exercised.

Keywords: conceptual model; environment; risk assessment; social values

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: ecological planning and toxicology, inc., 851 University Blvd. SE, Suite 202, Albuquerque, New Mexico USA 87106 2: ecological planning and toxicology, inc., 5010 S.W. Hout Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97333 9540

Publication date: 1998-08-01

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