Is connection with nature an oxymoron?

Ideas for Sustainability

Reflections by Chris Ives, Katie Klaniecki, Christian Dorninger and Joern Fischer

In his recent paper, Robert Fletcher criticises the idea of re-connecting people with nature (and with it, the perspective of “connection with nature”). His main argument is that through the very terminology being used, people and nature are treated as separate entities — suggesting that a true unity of them therefore is going to remain elusive. A people-nature dichotomy, or nature-culture divide, thus is entrenched in the terminology being used, rather than dissolved. As an alternative, Fletcher suggests a political ecology framework: According to this, with industrialisation, a “metabolic rift” occurred, and this alienated people from the environment both materially and philosophically. Such a framework would encourage a broader perspective, which perhaps would do a better job at getting at the root causes of un-sustainability.

We agree with Fletcher that there is a great need for critical reflection…

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