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Place Matters–Good to be Reminded

It never hurts to be reminded now and then of some of the most fundamental (as in “foundation,” the base for things) perspectives.  For me, and for our work at River Life, that basic axiom is “place matters.” The reminder comes from this blog post by our friend and colleague Mark Gorman of the Northeast-Midwest Institute.

Mark’s report, posted from last week’s National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration, adds some interesting nuance to the basic premise.  For instance, he suggests that for people in the near vicinity of an ecosystem being restored (or the site of some other type of project) the issue is about “place,” as in “That place that I love is changing, perhaps because of climate change.  We need to do something.”  For people farther away, the issue is framed as an abstraction, for example, “The Amazon rain forest is being decimated.  Someone ought to do something.”  Both frames have merit of course, but they locate the “value statement” differently, with important consequences.

Rather than explore those consequences, though, I just want to come back to the simple resonant phrase “place matters.”  Writers of all sorts, from scholars to journalists to advocates have said this, of course.  In our world of rarefied science and abstruse philosophy, where computer modeling sometimes stands in for observed physical processes and ideas about places are taken to be the subject if discussion rather than the places themselves, it bears repeating that place, the whole messy, complicated, inconsistent physical world, is where we live.

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One Comment

  1. Mark GormanAugust 21, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Nicely reframed and re-examined!

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