(Article of periodic en Anglais - 2013)

Document title

Eden, Earth Day, and Ecology: Landscape Restoration as Metaphor and Mission

Authors(s) and Affiliation(s)

Lowenthal David (1) ;
(1) Department of Geography, University College London


This paper sketches the religious roots of landscape restoration, showing how it morphed from a theological to an environmental agenda, while retaining the fervour of a sacred mission. In the aftermath of Lynn White, Jr.’s ‘Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis’ (1967) and the Earth Day reform mission (1970), convergent redemptive philosophies realigned ecotheology and landscape restoration along Franciscan lines, shedding commandments to subdue and conquer for injunctions to live in harmony with nature. Previously condemned as the antithesis of Eden, wilderness was transformed from dreaded chaos into a redemptive realm that led ecological restorers to idealise and worship supposedly virgin scenes. Instead of getting civilised, wild landscapes were treasured as locales of spiritual and bodily renewal. Favoured locales defiled by human occupance and imprint were restored to simulated wildness. Perceived analogies with archaeology, art, architecture and medicine further shape the aims and conventions of landscape restoration, widening enduring and unavoidable gulfs between restoration intention and performance, precept and practice.


Article of periodic

published at : Landscape research / ISSN 1469-9710

Editor : Taylor & Francis, Abingdon - ROYAUME-UNI (1976)

Millesime : 2013, vol. 38, no1 [pp. 5-31]
Published in 20130201



Digital Object Identifier

Go to electronic document thanks to its DOI : 10.1080/01426397.2012.751969

2013, Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLCTous droits réservés © Prodig - Bibliographie Géographique Internationale (BGI), 2013
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