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Why care for Nature?

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Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? 1 George Orwell This book has been written in a time of environmental neglect. A time in which the expansive needs of multinational corporations, western consumer interests and the politically celebrated ideals of economic growth and technological progress appear to override any consideration for preserving natural beauty as well as consideration for those unable to speak and negotiate on their own behalf: third world citizens, future generations, animals, plants and landscapes. This neglect is evident in the withdrawal of national governments from the requirements of international agr- ments on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (Kyoto treaty), it is manifest in the organised inability and unwillingness to establish more equal trade relations between rich and poor countries as well as in the lack of political commitment to p- tect extraordinary sites of natural beauty from economic exploitation (Alaska, the Amazon rainforests, the Dutch Wadden Sea). In times like these, environmental e- cation is a hazardous and primarily ambiguous enterprise, since it easily comes to function as a means to foist present responsibilities onto future generations. Some proponents, for instance, argue that environmental education should ‘create a new generation of citizens who are greener than their parents’(Bell, 2004, p. 43). Thus, new born citizens are burdened with environmental responsibilities that we failed to live up to ourselves.
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Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? 1 George Orwell This book has been written in a time of environmental neglect. A time in which the expansive needs of multinational corporations, western consumer interests and the politically celebrated ideals of economic growth and technological progress appear to override any consideration for preserving natural beauty as well as consideration for those unable to speak and negotiate on their own behalf: third world citizens, future generations, animals, plants and landscapes. This neglect is evident in the withdrawal of national governments from the requirements of international agr- ments on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (Kyoto treaty), it is manifest in the organised inability and unwillingness to establish more equal trade relations between rich and poor countries as well as in the lack of political commitment to p- tect extraordinary sites of natural beauty from economic exploitation (Alaska, the Amazon rainforests, the Dutch Wadden Sea). In times like these, environmental e- cation is a hazardous and primarily ambiguous enterprise, since it easily comes to function as a means to foist present responsibilities onto future generations. Some proponents, for instance, argue that environmental education should ‘create a new generation of citizens who are greener than their parents’(Bell, 2004, p. 43). Thus, new born citizens are burdened with environmental responsibilities that we failed to live up to ourselves.