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Do Meaningful Relationships with Nature Contribute to a Worthwhile Life?


  • Dan Firth


This paper argues that a worthwhile life is one in which the meaningful relationships existing in nature are recognised and respected. A meaningful relationship occurs when the interactions between two entities have significance in their past history and its anticipated continuation. The form in which the history of both the human and the non-human is related is narrative. A life is enriched or impoverished by the subject's relationships to other people and nature, and as such is more or less worthwhile. The argument presented here shows how Alan Holland's approach to conservation decision making can be extended to have relevance to individual lives, and that a strong ethical position can be developed from this insight.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Firth, 2008. "Do Meaningful Relationships with Nature Contribute to a Worthwhile Life?," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 17(2), pages 145-164, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev17:ev1708

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    More about this item


    Narrative; relationships; worthwhile life; environmental ethics; conservation;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being


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