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Environment | Think Out Loud

What Is The Value Of Nature?

An alpine meadow high above tree line in the Mount Hood Wilderness.

An alpine meadow high above tree line in the Mount Hood Wilderness.

Vince Patton/OPB

Environmentalists agree that conservation is key, but there is a long-standing dispute over how much to focus on nature’s intrinsic value rather than emphasizing its value to humans. A paper co-authored by a professor at Oregon State University argues that nature’s intrinsic value is the more effective message.


  • Michael Nelson: Professor of environmental ethics and philosophy at Oregon State University
  • Cathy Macdonald: Oregon director of conservation programs for the Nature Conservancy 
nature wilderness endangered species conservation environment

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