Another look at restoration: technology and artificial nature

Katz, E., 2000, Another look at restoration: technology and artificial nature, in: Gobster, P.H. & R. B. Hull, ‘Restoring nature’, Island Press, Washington

  • Author : Katz, E.
  • Year : 2000
  • Published in Book : Restoring nature
  • Pages : 37-48
  • Abstract in English : Why is the restoration and management of nature a philosophical issue? Why in deed, should any environmental policy be a matter of concern for philosophers? The obvious reason is that any human activity is subject to ethical analysis and justification; we need to see what values are promoted or retarded by particular policies. But even more basic than the ethical analysis is the philosophical search of meaning. What is the essential character of a given human activity? What does it mean to say that we humans are restoring natural ecosystems? What are we doing when we restore the natural world? In asking these questions, the author is not seeking a detailed description of the science and technology of the restoration process: is seeking the philosophical meaning of the restoration of nature. Arguments against restoration are given. The author argues human benefits may be significant and important, and thus the policies of restoration and management may be justified, but they should not be characterized as the restoration of nature. The danger in misunderstanding the meaning of these environmental polices is an increased humanization of the natural world, the limitless expansion of human power to mold and manipulate the natural world. There is a dualism between human artefacts and natural entities. The importance of origin, historical continuity, and authenticity for a proper evaluation of artefacts and natural processes is discussed. Justifying some types of restoration and management policies will lead to a general weakening of the environmentalist goal of the preservation of nature. The Author emphasizes the artifactuality of all human-induced restorations because of the danger of human hubris. If human thinks that we can restore nature, then we will believe that we are omnipotent in our ability to affect, mold, and heal the natural world. We will have no need for any particular part of the natural world, any particular ecosystem, bioregion, or species. For they all can be restored, replaced, or modified according to human design.
  • Comments/Notes : KEYWORDS: urban forestry, nature restoration, artefact restoration philosophy.