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Grounding ethical mindfulness for/in nature: Trees in their places

Cloke, Paul; Jones, Owain


Paul Cloke

Owain Jones


In this paper we examine attempts to reframe the ethics of nature-society relations. We trace a postmodern turn which reflects a distrust of overarching moral codes and narratives and points towards a more nuanced understanding of how personal moral impulses are embedded within, and inter-subjectively constituted by, contextual configurations of self and other. We also trace an ethical turn which reflects a critique of anthropocentrism and points towards moves to non-anthropocentric frames in which the othernesses and ethics of difference are shaped by an acknowledgement that human and non-human agency are relationally bound and assembled in networks and places. These turns suggest the need for a more sensitive 'ethical mindfulness' which is grounded in particular space-time contexts. Throughout the paper we draw on research we have conducted on the interconnections between trees and places, and in particular we describe three specific tree-places - an urban square, an urban cemetery and an orchard - which provide grounded contexts of encounter and potential for ethical mindedness. We conclude that notions of intrinsicality, otherness, enchantment and hybridity are helpful in configuring the search for grounded ethical mindfulness, both for and in nature. © 2003 Taylor & Francis Ltd.


Cloke, P., & Jones, O. (2003). Grounding ethical mindfulness for/in nature: Trees in their places. Ethics, Place and Environment, 6(3), 195-214.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 1, 2003
Journal Ethics, Place and Environment
Print ISSN 1366-879X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 3
Pages 195-214
Keywords ethics, ethical mindfulness, nature-society relations, otherness
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Heritage and Landscape: Jones conducted the ESRC funded research which this paper reports upon. He was responsible for a first draft of the paper which was then edited by Paul Cloke who was PI on the project.

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