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Nature matters in conversation

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This free course, Nature matters in conversation, focuses on the substance of environmental responsibility-what matters. The question 'What should constitute our prime focus of attention' can prompt different responses. We consider two points of contrast in differing focuses on what matters: 1 a distinction between nature and the environment 2 a distinction between nature/environment and related human interactions

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • appreciate different connotations and traditions of the terms ‘nature’ and ‘environment’ in the context of environmental responsibility
  • use conversation as a core metaphor for describing ‘what matters’ in environmental responsibility
  • identify and compare formal and less formal expressions of environmental responsibility.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 12 hours
  • Updated Thursday 17th March 2016
  • Advanced level
  • Posted under The Environment
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Nature matters in conversation


Unit image

This unit explores different understandings of nature and environment and the significance these may have for developing responsibility. The problems of connecting human and non-human nature are presented here as being a challenge peculiar to the concerns of environmental responsibility. They provide the impetus for exploring the idea of ‘conversation’ as a metaphor for what matters in environmental responsibility. Using a reading by Stephen Talbott as a foundation, the conversation metaphor is introduced as a way of re-conceiving ongoing human relationships with nature, not only providing insight into environmental responsibility but also delineating issues of communication as what matters in this field, in contrast to other areas of environmental studies.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course TD866 Environmental responsibility: ethics, policy and action [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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