Harmony in Conservation

Washington, Haydn, Gomez-Baggethun, Erik, Piccolo, John J., Kopnina, Helen and Alberro, Heather (2022) Harmony in Conservation. Conservation, 2 (4). pp. 682-693. ISSN 2673-7159

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/conservation2040044


Many authors have noted the role that anthropocentrism has played in creating humanity’s dysfunctional relationship with the natural world. As human hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence) is an ailment that contributes to the anthropogenic sixth mass extinction of Earth’s biodiversity, we argue instead for ‘harmony with nature’. In recent decades, even the conservation discourse has become increasingly anthropocentric. Indeed, justification for nature conservation has in part shifted from nature’s intrinsic value to ‘ecosystem services’ for the benefit of people. Here we call for a transformation to a more harmonious human-nature relationship that is grounded in mutual respect and principled responsibility, instead of utilitarianism and enlightened self-interest. Far from what Tennyson called ‘red in tooth and claw’, we argue nature is a mixture of cooperation as well as competition. We argue that the UN’s ‘Harmony with Nature’ program is an innovative and refreshing path for change. If we are to achieve harmony with nature, modern industrial society will need to abandon its anthropocentric ‘human supremacy’ mindset and adopt an ecocentric worldview and ecological ethics. We conclude it is thus both appropriate (and essential) for conservationists to champion harmony with nature.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: harmony; hubris; ecocentrism; anthropocentrism; conservation; impact of theory; cooperation; indigenous harmony; ecotopia of harmony
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2022 14:58
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 15:03
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50496

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