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date: 22 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Environmentalism should deal with the environment, meaning that which environs us; instead it too frequently deals with “nature.” If the latter term means that part of the world that humans haven’t transformed, the trouble is that nature doesn’t environ us: in the Anthropocene, we’re surrounded by an environment that humans have built. An environmentalism of the built environment would worry about why we’ve built it so badly, and would focus on the phenomenon of “reification,” whereby the actual practices of humans in constructing their world are hidden and the things and institutions surrounding us come to seem like “facts of nature.” Environmental problems are not problems about nature: they are social and political problems about how human practices ought to be organized and about the norms by which those practices ought to be guided.

Keywords: nature, built environment, environmentalism, reification, Anthropocene

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