Environmentalism, Environmental Ethics, and Some Linkages with Landscape Architecture

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Pattamon Selanon


Humans have long reflected on their relationship with the environment. In Western culture, environment is the product of a religious tradition (Cronon, 1996). Since the Second World War, concerns over protecting the environment against harm caused by human actions have been raised. Environmentalism first took shape with George Perkins Marsh, whose work, Man and Nature (1864), traced the various implications of forest destruction across the natural landscape. The paper first reviews the terminology of environmentalism and its related terms. It will accordingly examine the historical perspective of environmentalism and the moral values underlining relations between humans and the environment: namely, environmental ethics. In conclusion, the paper will review some linkages between environmentalism and landscape architecture, a discipline dealing directly with the shaping of land and environment, through the works of the two great figures in the disciplines, Frederick Law Olmsted and Ian McHarg. There might not be simple answers for the environmental problems we face today. However, understanding environmental thought and its relation to closely related disciplines such as landscape architecture could provide a more inclusive environmentalism and help create more livable places for all.


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