Arne Naess scholarship
Tentative title: Domination or Reconciliation? An Ethical Assessment of Ecological Restoration
My main interest is how ecological restoration may affect the human-nature relationship. The practice of ecological restoration can illuminate many aspects of the relationship between humans and the rest of nature and raises questions about the place of human agency in nature, and the possibility of an ethical and constructive, rather than destructive, relationship.
I will discuss and assess the potential impact of restoration on the human-nature-relationship. Does it encourage damaging by repairing damage, thus representing a promise that destruction can be reversed? Is it a way of quieting our conscience while we continue consuming our environment? Restoration may potentially contribute to the idea that environmental problems can be solved by technological fixes and do not require change in behavior or restrictions on our consumption of nature. However, it encourages active participation in nature and can possibly be a way encouraging closeness to nature on an ethical as well as practical level. It also implies blame for destruction and ascribes humans the responsibility for anthropogenically degraded ecosystems. It may therefore encourage ethical consideration of nature. My overarching question is whether restoration enforces the ethical boundaries between humans and nature by enacting our superiority, or if it loosens these boundaries by allowing practical and ethical engagement with nature.