Demonstrating that all notions of nature are inextricably entangled in different forms of social life, the text elaborates the many ways in which the apparently natural world has been produced from within particular social practices. These are analyzed in terms of different senses, different times and the production of distinct spaces, including the local, the national and the global. The authors emphasize the importance of cultural understandings of the physical world, highlighting the ways in which these have been routinely misunderstood by academic and policy discourses. They show that popular conceptions of, and attitudes to, nature are often contradictory and that there are no simple ways of prevailing upon people to `

Sustaining Nature

Sustaining nature

In this chapter we focus on how nature and the environment are being reconfigured within contemporary policy and politics. Using insights from the previous chapters on the sensed, timed, spatialised and embodied dimensions of nature, we seek to recontextualise policy debates on the role of human agency within environmental change.

In recent years the most significant attempt to reconfigure human/nature relations has been through the discourse of ‘environmental sustainability’ and official pronouncements which advocate more ‘sustainable’ forms of development. In this chapter we examine how states and other official bodies have come to understand environmental issues within the discourse of sustainability. And we examine how such understandings have structured subsequent attempts to encourage people to participate actively in saving the environment.

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