Abstract

The conventional narrative of American environmentalism is no longer very helpful for conservationists and restorationists seeking philosophical justification and guidance for their work. The tradition has often been cropped into a narrower and simplified account of the battle between the philosophies of wise use and preservation, a move bolstered by the turn to historical images of President Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir visiting California's Yosemite National Park in the early years of the twentieth century. This cropped conservation picture needs to be restored and widened to engage the pragmatism that has always been a part of the U.S. environmental tradition, but that became eclipsed by preservationist ideology with the rise of the fields of environmental history and environmental philosophy in the late twentieth century. Restoring this lost pragmatism to the environmental tradition will prove vital to recovering the value of environmental history and philosophy for conservation and restoration practice and to reclaiming a more holistic and useful narrative of people, culture, and environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-11
Number of pages6
JournalRestoration Ecology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

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environmentalism
environmental history
twentieth century
history
ecological value
ideology
national parks
national park

Keywords

  • Conservation history
  • Environmental philosophy
  • Muir and Roosevelt
  • Pragmatism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Restoring the Narrative of American Environmentalism. / Minteer, Ben; Pyne, Stephen.

In: Restoration Ecology, Vol. 21, No. 1, 01.2013, p. 6-11.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Minteer, Ben ; Pyne, Stephen. / Restoring the Narrative of American Environmentalism. In: Restoration Ecology. 2013 ; Vol. 21, No. 1. pp. 6-11.
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