That is the point of the article: any environmentalism/ecology that is both logically consistent and effective cannot separate humanity from nature. However, much (not all) of the language of the environmental movement does just that, both explicitly and implicitly. And I agree with you that “wilderness” that hasn’t been “[visibly] touched by man” is “amazing” as well as vital to our emotional/spiritual wellbeing.

You ask I avoid “stereotyping” environmentalists as dualists. I don’t believe I anywhere suggested they all are. I consider myself one, for example, and I most certainly do not consider myself a dualist. For my thoughts on that topic I suggest you read my article Driving Another Nail in Dualism’s Coffin. That said, much of the rhetoric used by the environmental movement is explicitly dualist. In fact, I dare say most of it is. For an example we need look no further than your response. You say that “we [environmentalists] just want to let nature be.” To effectively do that we must first define what nature is. I am curious to hear your definition since implicit in your desire to “let nature be” is the very othering of nature I am critical of and which you argue ecology necessarily rejects. Who is “letting it be”? Who must be absent from the picture for this to occur? You say nature is part of who we are yet you desire for us to “let it be”.

Letting nature be inevitably involves our absence, not the fuller or more holistic ecological view that you claim to hold. It is precisely this inherent contradiction within the rhetoric of so much of the environmental movement I argue must be addressed if we are ever to seriously address problems like climate change. Many indigenous traditions found the “balance” you say you and others desire only by rejecting the very Western notion of being apart from nature that serves as the premise of so many of the arguments offered by both contemporary environmentalism and its capitalist pro-growth opponents. Indeed, this kind of separation rarely if ever even occurred to most indigenous cultures. Of course, that’s not to say they had no impact upon the environment or lived in some sort of mythical “primitive” or romanticized state of perfect bliss and harmony either. Regardless, their worldview offers some powerful and timely lessons for those of us struggling to figure out how to deal with contemporary problems. Unfortunately, dualism often comes so easily to many of us that we’re hardly even conscious of our use of dualistic references to nature when we use them (i.e. “we just want to let nature be”). Until we can truly move past such patterns of thinking I’m not sure how successful our efforts to accomplish goals like major reductions in carbon emissions will ultimately be.

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US citizen residing in British Columbia, Canada. Degrees include anthropology and environmental studies. Activism, politics, science, nature.

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