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Global Ideas in Local Places: The Humanities in Environmental Management

Author(s): Libby Robin

Journal: Environmental Humanities
ISSN 2201-1919

Volume: 1;
Start page: 69;
Date: 2012;
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Land management has become a multi-faceted enterprise, with professionals, locals and others contributing variously to the outcomes, increasingly working in partnership arrangements all over the world. However, each local place has a different suite of ‘experts’ speaking for its future. This paper explores four key drivers of conservation initiatives: place, landscape, biodiversity and livelihood, and how these shape environmental management in the Desert Channels region of south-western Queensland and in the Quantock hills in Somerset, England. The aim is to show how the question of who is an authority on place contrasts in these two ecologically distinct places, and at different times in the period from 1945 to the present. The two cases demand very different scales of management, and build on different cultural traditions, but they share a surprising number of commonalities, particularly about who are the experts in managing the future of the natural world. The commonalities reflect global forces that are changing the environmental management of local places. The paper considers the value of art, history and the broader humanities in enriching and critiquing global scientific and management ideals and in empowering communities to engage in dialogue about managing their local places.
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