Speaker: Richard Judd, Professor, Dept. of History, UMaine
While New England is known nationally for the value it places on nature, it is difficult to show just how this consciousness shaped environmental politics. What exactly was the environmental movement in New England? Campaigns were localized and involved complicated negotiations between governments and nonprofit groups, but most significantly, they were characterized by a rejection of the nature-culture duality so common in national environmental battles. The focus was not on preserving wilderness, as was in the West, but rather on protecting rural landscapes where the boundary between nature and society was far more porous. A hybrid world of farms, woodlands, cut-over forests, and iconic fishing ports became the axis of New England environmentalism, and the strategies used to protect these second-nature landscapes, although more difficult to define, remain the regions’ greatest contribution to the American environmental movement.