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Do Meaningful Relationships with Nature Contribute to a Worthwhile Life?

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This paper argues that a worthwhile life is one in which the meaningful relationships existing in nature are recognised and respected. A meaningful relationship occurs when the interactions between two entities have significance in their past history and its anticipated continuation. The form in which the history of both the human and the non-human is related is narrative. A life is enriched or impoverished by the subject's relationships to other people and nature, and as such is more or less worthwhile. The argument presented here shows how Alan Holland's approach to conservation decision making can be extended to have relevance to individual lives, and that a strong ethical position can be developed from this insight.
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Keywords: conservation; environmental ethics; narrative; relationships; worthwhile life

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-05-01

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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