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Environmental Ethics

Volume 17, Issue 4, Winter 1995

Judith M. Green
Pages 381-396

Retrieving the Human Place in Nature

The present worldwide ecological crisis challenges both some fundamental Western cultural assumptions about human relationships to nature and the efficacy of democratic institutions in transforming these relationships appropriately and in a timely manner. I discuss what kind of ecophilosophy is most feasible and desirable in guiding rapid and effective response to the present crisis in the short term, as well as positive cultural transformation in the West toward sound natural and social ecology in the longer term. I argue that decontextualized liberal ecophilosophies and related deep ecologies are inadequate to these purposes and propose a Green transformative framework that “re-places” humans within nature, “re-positions” our understanding of ourselves in relation to the land, “re-pairs” intrinsic values in nature with human responsibilities, and “re-directs” the effective use of participatory democratic institutions in transforming public policy.