Examining evidence of how a culture values nature, particularly its spiritual value
chapterposted on 2023-08-30, 15:01 authored by Nigel Cooper
What did nature ever do for us? So much more than the direct economic benefit of food and fuel. The major enterprise of valuing ecosystem services is aiming to provide robust arguments for environmental sustainability. Work in the arts and humanities can contribute to this. One output of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-On was “Shared, plural and cultural values: A handbook for decision-makers” (Kenter et al., 2014b), which included the disciplines of the Humanities in an overview of methods, specifically the interpretive technique of desk-based cultural history study. Few such valuation studies have so far been published. This paper reports preliminary results from inspecting three ‘cultural productions’: English village signs, street names and brief ‘stories’ about trees. Each of these will be examined for evidence of non-economic valuation of nature and, specifically, a spiritual or religious understanding of nature. The paper reports some preliminary findings, and will reflect on the methodological challenges involved. This will be of benefit to others (including students doing projects) wishing to analyse evidence produced by a culture of its approach to nature, evidence which may support arguments for sustainability.
Number of pages618
Place of publicationCham
Title of bookSustainability and the Humanities
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Adriana Consorte McCrea
- Accepted version