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Environmental Ethics

Volume 31, Issue 2, Summer 2009

Roman Briggs
Pages 155-168
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics200931217

The Greening of Heart and Mind
A Love Story

Some environmentalists have argued that an effective ecological conscience may be rooted in a perspective that is either anthropocentric or sentiocentric. But, neither seems to have had any substantial effect on the ways in which our species treats nature. In looking to successfully awaken the ecological conscience, the focus should be on extending moral consideration to the land (wherein doing so includes all of the soils, waters, plants, animals, and the collectivity of which these things comprise) by means of coming to love the land. Coming to love the land involves coming to view the land’s interests as our own—and, conferring upon the land a kind of moral patient-hood. In order to perceive the land’s “subjectivity,” and so, to come to love the land, we must relearn the way to look at the land by viewing its personality through the lens of he or she who can already do so, i.e., the nature writer.