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RCEH Public Lecture Series - Simon James: Natural Meanings and Cultural Values

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posted on 06.08.2021, 12:28 by Simon James
The Research Centre for the Environmental Humanities (RCEH) at Bath Spa University runs an annual series of public lectures and research seminars, which features a range of speakers from Bath Spa University and other organisations.

This item documents the 14 March 2018 event featuring Simon James. The title of his talk was Natural Meanings and Cultural Values.

Abstract:
In 1972, the Navajo activist Katherine Smith told Senate investigators that she would never quit her home on Big Mountain. I will "never leave the land, this sacred place", she said. "The land is part of me and I will one day be part of the land… All that has meaning is here." It is standard practice to conceive of nature’s value in terms of the "ecosystem services" it provides. However, Smith's statement presents a new concept of the land, as one central to identity. In this talk, Simon will present a theory of environmental value that considers the environment not just a service-provider, but as a vital part of life. His own theoretical model will look to consider how nature's contributions to certain meaningful wholes will provide greater implications for environmental policy, as well as other fundamental issues in environmental ethics.

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