Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ethic of Place

I noted recently the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University’s Department of Research and Graduate Studies.  The Center’s initiatives include one on Community Sense of Place.  It cites the quote below which I believe is right on target and not just because my original home was the Rocky Mountain West.  If anything it is even more important to places like Durham, North Carolina and the Southeast:

“We need to develop what I call an ethic of place.

  • It is premised on a sense of place, the recognition that our species thrives on the subtle, intangible, but soul-deep mix of landscape, smells, sounds, history, neighbors, and friends that constitute a place, a homeland.


  • An ethic of place respects equally the people of a region and the land, animals, vegetation, water, and air.


  • It recognizes that residents* revere their physical surroundings and that they need and deserve a stable, productive economy that is accessible to those with modest incomes.


  • An ethic of place ought to be a shared community value and ought to manifest itself in a dogged determination to treat the environment and its people as equals, to recognize both as sacred, and to insure that all members of the community not only search for, but insist upon, solutions that fulfill that ethic.”


Charles Wilkinson, PhD

Beyond The Mythic West (p. 75)
* original word was “westerners”.

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