[VIDEO] Conservation in the Anthropocene: How Should We Value the World We have Made?

Thursday, May 7, 2015 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM



A Symposium


Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy

George Mason University


May 7, 2015



The goal of environmental conservation has traditionally been understood in terms of the preservation of the natural world from human influence. A group of environmentalists, known as “New Conservationists” or “Eco-modernists,” have recently challenged this orthodoxy.  New Conservationists argue that fencing areas of nature off from human influence has become unworkable because human influence is nearly everywhere, from the intentional and unintentional spread of invasive species, to the influence of climate change. They argue instead for a conception of the natural world that includes worked landscapes, even urban environments. Against this view, mainstream conservationists argue that these revisionists are abandoning the basic ethic of conservationism, which is to see in nature’s spontaneous course spiritual, ethical, and aesthetic values, and that such an approach may threaten the protection of the last remaining natural landscapes. This workshop will discuss this contentious debate among conservationists by analyzing the concepts and values that inform it.



1:00-1:30pm   Ben Hale, University of Colorado at Boulder

“Wildness without Naturalness:

Expanding Environmental Focus in the Anthropocene”


1:30-2:00pm   Marion Hourdequin, Colorado College

“Wilderness, Climate Change, and the Anthropocene”


2:00-2:30pm   Kenneth Shockley, University at Buffalo (State University of New York)

“Nature and Flourishing in the Anthropocene: A Healthy Dependence in an Unhealthy World”


2:30-2:45         Break


2:45-3:15pm   Allen Thompson, Oregon State University

“Novel Ecosystems, Conservation, and Adaptive Ecosystem Management”


3:15-3:45pm   Mark Sagoff, George Mason University

“The Theology of the Anthropocene”


3:45-4:15pm   Round Table Discussion and Summation


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