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Field Day 2010 - Photo Journal

Page history last edited by LvW 10 years, 2 months ago



The (Non)Sense of Nature Preservation:

A Dutch Case


Does it make sense to talk about preserving nature in the managed and long-trodden Dutch landscape?"  North American ethicist Phil Cafaro brought this question along on his first trip to the Netherlands. Alderwoman Louke van Wensveen invited Cafaro and the NSRPP Environmental Ethics Group to explore the question on a field trip in the municipality of Brummen. They went to the Empese en Tondense heide, a heather marsh protected by European Natura 2000 regulation.


The ethicists were joined by municipal council members, local green party officials, the provincial Natura2000 program manager, sustainability consultants, retired industry executives, volunteer nature guides and active citizens. Forest Ranger Harald van den Akker (Natuurmonumenten) led the excursion.  Afterwards, the group was invited for tea and discussion on the farm of Rita Schoonman in Brummen.





The Empese and Tondese Heide used to be a large, soggy area known locally as 'bad lands'.  The farmers of Empe and Tonden annually removed humus to produce fertilizer for their fields.  


Heather flourished in the impoverished soil left behind.














Today, the Empese en Tondese Heide is a protected landscape maintained by the rangers and volunteers of Natuurmonumenten.


Ranger Harald van den Akker and council member Norbert Lucassen guided the group into the no go area. A former US forest ranger himself, Phil Cafaro cultivated a virtuous balance between listening and teaching. 









Into the wild they went... or was wildness a matter of perception?









Spruce trees are invading the central heather field.  


Cafaro and Van den Akker discussed the ethics of managing exotics.  Is an invasion due to agricultural water extraction less natural than spontaneous species migration?













Practical syllogism:


A static ecosystem is a contradiction in terms.


This ecosystem is changing.  


(Philosopher's conclusion.)



Some carnivores are protected by law (Sundew). Others by love (baby frog).




Senior participants pondered deeply.  In this landscape, nature seems to open a window onto culture.  But then, what is nature?









Some carnivores are protected by law (sundew).


Other carnivores are protected by love (baby frog).


Many protectors are carnivores.







Is there a boundary between nature and culture?


A youthful philosopher from the neighboring municipality of Voorst tackled age-old questions with zest






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