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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Do Meaningful Relationships with Nature Contribute to a Worthwhile Life?

Dan Firth

Environmental Values 17(2008): 145-164. doi: 10.3197/096327108X303828


This paper argues that a worthwhile life is one in which the meaningful relationships existing in nature are recognised and respected. A meaningful relationship occurs when the interactions between two entities have significance in their past history and its anticipated continuation. The form in which the history of both the human and the non-human is related is narrative. A life is enriched or impoverished by the subject's relationships to other people and nature, and as such is more or less worthwhile. The argument presented here shows how Alan Holland's approach to conservation decision making can be extended to have relevance to individual lives, and that a strong ethical position can be developed from this insight.


Narrative, relationships, worthwhile life, environmental ethics, conservation

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Happiness and the Good Life. John O'Neill

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Happiness and the Good Life. John O'Neill

Ecological Restoration and Place Attachment: Emplacing Non-Places?.Martin Drenthen

Darwin and the Meaning in Life. Alan Holland

Conservation of Adaptive Self-Construction: A Flux-Centred Solution to the Paradox of Nature Preservation. Matthew F. Child

Finding - and Failing to Find - Meaning in Nature. Simon P. James

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