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Contact! Contact! Nature Preservation as the Preservation of Meaning

Glenn Deliège

Environmental Values 25 (2016): 409–425. doi: 10.3197/096327116X14661540759151

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In this paper, I reinterpret the conflict between rewilders and those who want to preserve traditional agricultural landscapes. By showing that underlying both positions is a common outlook in which nature preservation can be described as a primarily interpretative act geared towards the preservation of meaning by establishing a successful contact with external reality, I hope to refocus the debate away from the current stalemate. Too often, the debate ends in a dispute about what counts as ‘real nature’. By interpreting nature preservation – whether it is directed at rewilding or at preserving old agricultural landscapes – as an act that is a response to nature’s meanings, we will refocus attention on the real issue underlying preservation: articulating the ways nature is meaningful to us.


Rewilding, cultural landscapes, nature preservation, meaning, transcendence

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Letting Nature Take its Course. Simon P. James

Moral-Material Ontologies of Nature Conservation: Exploring the Discord Between Ecological Restoration and Novel Ecosystems.Mick Lennon

The Many Meanings of Rewilding: An Introduction and the Case for a Broad Conceptualisation. Andrea R. Gammon

Rewilding in Layered Landscapes as a Challenge to Place Identity. Martin Drenthen


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