E is for Environment

| March 25, 2014

There is a distinct emphasis on the connection between human beings and the earth within Heidegger’s “Building Dwelling Thinking” and Light’s “Elegy for a Garden”. Light, in his essay, notices the divide between old environmental ethics versus today’s. Now, there is the belief that the value of nature is not described by the human attribution. This belief is nonanthropocentrism, which is the opposition between culture and nature. Light advances the notion that environmental thinking is bound to a sense of responsibility. Contrastingly, Rolston believes that the realm of nature can be separated from human culture. Light states that the relation between the city, the environment, and the people cannot be ignored. It is our responsibility to care for the green space of the city, which encompasses the “large urban parks… the sidewalks, the buildings, and the myriad places in between” (294). This relationship is important as the city “is a character in everyday life akin to a member of one’s extended family”, and “it is the foreground of most everyday conversations” (294). Light, in his conclusion, goes on to state several of the garden’s virtues that show the connection between humans and the natural world: the garden was a schoolhouse, the literal ground for intergenerational community, local, not remote, and the community became a site for environmental responsibility through tending for the garden. Similarly, Heidegger, within his essay, states that, “Morals dwell in that they initiate their own nature” (123). It is part of our being as dwellers to build. Through this building, we become more connected to the earth and preserve the nature of things.

Meagher, Sharon M., ed. Philosophy and the City: Classic to Contemporary Writings. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008. Print.