Welcome to Minding Nature

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The Center for Humans and Nature operates under the premise that humans can achieve a sustainable relationship with nature only by aligning their values and consciousness with earthly realities. It sounds simple, even logical, but then again, what are those earthly realities? This fundamental question was what sparked our founding President, Strachan Donnelley, to embark on a journey to explore “the many values and moral obligations pertaining to humans and nature, and to take nature seriously as a moral and civic . . . concern.” [1]

The Center brings a multidisciplinary perspective to this work. Our board, staff, and collaborators include evolutionary biologists, ecologists, lawyers, economists, historians, philosophers, and theologians. Minding Nature is the Center’s latest reflection of our commitment to bring an “all things considered” approach to one of the most pressing questions of our time: How do we live responsibly and sustainability with the Earth? The title of our new journal is intended to convey some of the complexity of this task. One can “mind” nature in the sense of using our minds to think creatively about nature and our place within it. We can also “mind” nature in the sense of looking after it and taking responsibility for our actions within nature. Finally, one can “mind” nature in the sense that we mind; we object when we observe harm to human and natural communities.

One of our central goals is to share the best thinking that the Center has generated and encountered in our work. It is these ideas—and their relevance to public policy, economic reform, cultural innovation, and ultimately the well-being of our human and natural communities—that we hope to convey in the pages of Minding Nature.

We are exploring these ideas in the “marginalist,” non-dogmatic, free spirit of our founder, by which we hope to honor him and carry on his legacy. Please join us.

[1]. “Civic Responsibility and the Future of the Chicago Region,” in Nature, Polis, and Ethics: Chicago Regional Planning, a Hastings Center Report Special Supplement,(November-December 1998), p. S-3.

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