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Environmental Values

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

Matthew F. Child

Environmental Values 20 (2011): 527-548. doi: 10.3197/096327111X13150367351339


There is widespread public misunderstanding of ecology and conservation. A culturally entrenched 'balance of nature' paradigm abets consumerism by encouraging the use of materialism to preserve a static socioeconomic identity. Static self-identities do not foster the depth and breadth of individual self-meaning that is necessary to integrate the existential properties of biodiversity into a popular culture of conservation. The 'flux of nature' paradigm, however, provides dynamic narrative devices for expounding the link between adaptive individuality and functioning social-ecological systems. Shifting from a product-idealised to process-based self-construction will empower individual agency by emancipating self-identity from regulatory social, economic and political institutions. Thus, the flux paradigm has the potential to rescue the practice of conservation from its perceived paradox and to instil lasting ecological morality based on existential freedom.


Balance of nature, flux of nature, self-identity, social-ecological systems, existentialism, conservation

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Do Meaningful Relationships with Nature Contribute to a Worthwhile Life?Dan Firth

Goodwill Toward Nature. Christopher Freiman

Thinking from Within the Calyx of Nature. Freya Mathews

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Building on the Past, Creating a Future Isis Brook
Enriching the Lives of Wild Horses: Designing Opportunities for Them to Flourish. Christine M. Reed

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