UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Thinking Like a Mountain: Exploring the Potential of Relational Approaches for Transformative Nature Conservation Foggin, J. Marc; Brombal, Daniele; Razmkhah, Ali


Building on a review of current mainstream paradigms of nature conservation, the essence of transformations necessary for effective and lasting change are presented—namely, convivial solutions (or ‘living with others’), in which relationality and an appreciation of our interdependencies are central, in contrast to life-diminishing models of individualism and materialism/secularism. We offer several areas for improvement centred on regenerative solutions, moving beyond conventional environmental protection or biophysical restoration and focusing instead on critical multidimensional relationships—amongst people and between people and the rest of nature. We focus, in particular, on the potential of people’s values and worldviews to inform morality (guiding principles and/or beliefs about right and wrong) and ethics (societal rules defining acceptable behaviour), which alone can nurture the just transformations needed for nature conservation and sustainability at all scales. Finally, we systematize the potential of regenerative solutions against a backdrop of relational approaches in sustainability sciences. In so doing, we contribute to current endeavours of the conservation community for more inclusive conservation, expanding beyond economic valuations of nature and protected areas to include more holistic models of governance that are premised on relationally-oriented value systems.

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CC BY 4.0