Environmental ethics and aesthetics : the Laozi revisited

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Abstract

The relationship between man and nature is one of the most enduring issues in human life and thought. Envisioning a pre-civilisation “Golden Age” when “Trees had not yet/ Been cut and hollowed,” the Roaman poet Ovid (43 BC- AD17) noted that forests retreat as civilization extends. Indeed, since primitive days of settlement when land was cleared for farming and trees were cut for fuel and construction, man has been upsetting the balance and harmony of the environment at a pace far quicker than nature’s intrinsic capacity to heal itself and reestablish its footing. In the past two centuries, mankind’s dominion over nature has taken a sharply abusive turn. Industrial pollution, the over-extraction of natural resources, consumer waste, atomic warfare and scientific engineering of various kinds, have combined to ravage nature to the bone. Worse still, while the imperialist causes of science, industry, commerce and militarism came from the West, what was once Western has simply become “modern”. In a global drive for wealth and power, much of the postcolonial developing world is still aiming at ambitious targets of economic, political and military ascent initiated by the former colonial powers. Younger industrial nations like China and India did more environmental damage in the last century than they had ever done before, despite deep-rooted traditions of agrarian and spiritual reverence for nature. The environment shows symptoms of acute malaise, then takes involuntary revenge on human life through polluted air and poisoned food, mutated viruses and new diseases, global warming and climatic violence. From ozone holes to toxic water and barren land, the environmental crisis is deepening daily.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental History in East Asia: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
EditorsCuirong LIU
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter2
Pages40-63
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9780415717700
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Fingerprint

Nature
Laozi
Environmental Ethics
Aesthetics
Cut
Human Life
Civilization
Economics
Involuntary
Retreat
Poet
India
Farming
Warfare
Natural Resources
Causes
Golden Age
Environmental Crisis
Global Warming
Military

Cite this

KWONG, Y. T. C. (2013). Environmental ethics and aesthetics : the Laozi revisited. In C. LIU (Ed.), Environmental History in East Asia: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 40-63). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
KWONG, Yim Tze, Charles. / Environmental ethics and aesthetics : the Laozi revisited. Environmental History in East Asia: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. editor / Cuirong LIU. Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge, 2013. pp. 40-63
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KWONG, YTC 2013, Environmental ethics and aesthetics : the Laozi revisited. in C LIU (ed.), Environmental History in East Asia: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 40-63.

Environmental ethics and aesthetics : the Laozi revisited. / KWONG, Yim Tze, Charles.

Environmental History in East Asia: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. ed. / Cuirong LIU. Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge, 2013. p. 40-63.

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review

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KWONG YTC. Environmental ethics and aesthetics : the Laozi revisited. In LIU C, editor, Environmental History in East Asia: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 2013. p. 40-63