Engineering the Environment: The Politics of ‘Nature Development’

Jozef Keulartz

in Living with Nature

Published in print June 1999 | ISBN: 9780198295099
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599262 | DOI:
 Engineering the Environment: The Politics of ‘Nature Development’

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Environmental policy in the Netherlands has reached a remarkable evolutionary stage, in which policy‐makers have moved beyond merely defensive considerations of preserving and protecting the environment to encompass proactive measures for ‘nature development’ by recovering wasteland and ‘returning’ it to nature. However, this new phase of environmental engineering is not without its own risks, notably with respect to its cultural assumptions. The principles of Dutch nature development involve a dubious form of cultural politics, in which the science is used to impose a particular cultural view of nature upon local communities, thereby excluding other views. Upon analysis, it becomes clear that science provides no adequate basis for this, and that a more consultative and democratic process is needed to clarify the range of solutions and scenarios that is available. Environmental politics should aim to address the question of what sort of relationship to nature people really want.

Keywords: cultural politics; environmental policy; nature; nature development; Netherlands

Chapter.  8429 words. 

Subjects: Environment

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