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Ecology on the Ground and in the Clouds
Aimé Bonpland and Alexander von Humboldt
Ecology on the Ground and in the Clouds

Andrea Nye - Author
SUNY series in Environmental Philosophy and Ethics
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 336 pages
Release Date: January 2022
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8701-4



Follows Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland as they travel together in South America and then go their separate ways, in the process illustrating two very different ways of understanding humanity's place in the natural world.

In Ecology on the Ground and in the Clouds, Andrea Nye raises a question: In a time of climate change and environmental crisis, where should we look for inspiration? Is it to Alexander von Humboldt, the "inventor of nature" who viewed the cosmos from the lofty peak of Mount Chimborazo? Or is it to Humboldt's travel partner, the botanist Aimé Bonpland, who left Europe behind for forty years of conservation, agroforestry, and cooperative farming in the newly independent Republic of Argentina? For Bonpland, order and harmony are not unveiled with European reason and insight; they are made on the ground by intelligent, honorable, and diverse working men and women. Cosmos is not a hidden balance of nature; it is order in thought and action that ensures what we do is coherent and for the common good. It is fair and efficient government, just adjudication of disputes, and good management. It is loving attention to intricate "cogs and wheels" of natural processes at the same time as imagining new forms of beauty and stability in human communities and working landscapes.

Andrea Nye is Professor Emerita of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She is the author of many books, including Socrates and Diotima: Sexuality, Religion, and the Nature of Divinity.

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