Living Through The End Of Nature: The Future Of American Environmentalism

Paperback | February 8, 2013

byPaul Wapner

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Environmentalists have always worked to protect the wildness of nature but now must find a new direction. We have so tamed, colonized, and contaminated the natural world that safeguarding it from humans is no longer an option. Humanity's imprint is now everywhere and all efforts to "preserve" nature require extensive human intervention. At the same time, we are repeatedly told that there is no such thing as nature itself -- only our own conceptions of it. One person's endangered species is another's dinner or source of income. In Living Through the End of Nature, Paul Wapner probes the meaning of environmentalism in a postnature age.

Wapner argues that we can neither go back to a preindustrial Elysium nor forward to a technological utopia. He proposes a third way that takes seriously the breached boundary between humans and nature and charts a co-evolutionary path in which environmentalists exploit the tension between naturalism and mastery to build a more sustainable, ecologically vibrant, and socially just world.

Beautifully written and thoughtfully argued, Living Through the End of Nature provides a powerful vision for environmentalism's future

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Environmentalists have always worked to protect the wildness of nature but now must find a new direction. We have so tamed, colonized, and contaminated the natural world that safeguarding it from humans is no longer an option. Humanity's imprint is now everywhere and all efforts to "preserve" nature require extensive human intervention...

Paul Wapner is Associate Professor and Director of the Global Environmental Politics Program in the School of International Service at American University. He is the author of Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics, winner of the 1997 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for the best book on international environmental affairs.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8 × 5.38 × 0.62 inPublished:February 8, 2013Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262518791

ISBN - 13:9780262518796

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Wapner's book is the most sophisticated analysis of the theoretical issues underlying contemporary environmentalism yet written. In easily accessible language, Wapner unveils some of the contradictions facing environmentalism. For example, he shows that while environmentalism 'wants to preserve, conserve, and sustain the more-than-human realm, which involves minimizing our presence, reducing our footprint, and otherwise restraining our interventions,' it is also 'realizing that this cannot be done without extreme intrusion using some of the most sophisticated technologies and managerial types of control'...[His] 'middle path' involves a set of principles to inform environmentalist policies and a spiritual consciousness that requires mindfulness, heartfulness, a respect for the wildness both within nature and within ourselves, and a willingness to accept our state of not fully knowing how to maintain our awareness of the deep mysteries that abide both inside and outside ourselves -- mysteries 'whose wildness is crucial to maintaining our own sense of well-being along with that of the world.'