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Consuming the Environment

It is commonly asserted by environmentalists that nature is being consumed by a vast array of cultural practices to the point that its very existence is under threat. This entry discusses this proposition in the light of analysis on the changing relationship between nature, consumption, and culture.

One commonplace understanding of the relationship can be seen in the kind of millennial arguments proposed by Bill McKibben and his claims that we have now reached “the end of nature” (1989). McKibben claims that human activity, driven by the technological-industrial complex, has now altered whatever we once thought nature was. Wilderness no longer exists in a pristine state, anywhere; forests and farmland has become thoroughly domesticated; marine and terrestrial environments have become polluted; even the climate appears to ...

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