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IPPP hosts workshop on environmental conservation

Conservation in the Anthropocene: How Should We Value the World We have Made?

The goal of environmental conservation has traditionally been understood in terms of the preservation of the natural world from human influence. A group of environmentalists, known as “New Conservationists” or “Eco-modernists,” have recently challenged this orthodoxy.  New Conservationists argue that fencing areas of nature off from human influence has become unworkable because human influence is nearly everywhere, from the intentional and unintentional spread of invasive species, to the influence of climate change. They argue instead for a conception of the natural world that includes worked landscapes, even urban environments. Against this view, mainstream conservationists argue that these revisionists are abandoning the basic ethic of conservationism, which is to see in nature’s spontaneous course spiritual, ethical, and aesthetic values, and that such an approach may threaten the protection of the last remaining natural landscapes. This workshop will discuss this contentious debate among conservationists by analyzing the concepts and values that inform it.


Ben Hale, University of Colorado at Boulder “Wildness without Naturalness:

Expanding Environmental Focus in the Anthropocene”

Marion Hourdequin, Colorado College “Wilderness, Climate Change, and the Anthropocene”

Kenneth Shockley, University at Buffalo “Nature and Flourishing in the Anthropocene: A Healthy Dependence in an Unhealthy World”

Allen Thompson, Oregon State University “Novel Ecosystems, Conservation, and Adaptive Ecosystem Management”

Mark Sagoff, George Mason University “The Theology of the Anthropocene”

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