Book: Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World

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Birthright:  People and Nature in the Modern World

Stephen R. Kellert, the Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and senior research scholar at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

(Yale University Press)

Weaving scientific findings together with personal experiences and perspectives, Stephen Kellert explores how our humanity in the most fundamental sense — including our physical health, and capacities for affection, aversion, intellect, control, aesthetics, exploitation, spirituality, and communication — are deeply contingent on the quality of our connections to the natural world. Because of this dependency, the human species has developed over the course of its evolution an inherent need to affiliate with nature. But, like much of what it means to be human, this inborn tendency must be learned to become fully functional. In other words, it is a birthright that must be earned. He discusses how we can restore this balance to nature by means of changes in how we raise children, educate ourselves, use land and resources, develop building and community design, practice our ethics, and conduct our everyday lives.

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