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Escaping the Dark, Gray CityFear and Hope in Progressive-Era Conservation$
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Benjamin Heber Johnson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300115505

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300115505.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 19 January 2022

Back to Nature

Back to Nature

(p.102) Three Back to Nature
Escaping the Dark, Gray City

Benjamin Heber Johnson

Yale University Press

This chapter demonstrates how conservationists pursued their central goal—a material balance and psychic renewal with a nature they thought endangered—in private lives as well as public actions. In a time when the built world had grown so complicated and consuming as to alienate many from the natural world, conservationists sought a “return to nature” in outdoor recreation, the study of nature in schools, literature, and domestic architecture. Conservation was as much about cultural change as it was an economic doctrine or a set of policies. Like conservation politics, conservation culture was aimed at escaping the artificiality and destructiveness of industrial life. By returning to nature, conservationists hoped that Americans would revitalize themselves and deepen their appreciation of the environment.

Keywords:   conservationists, natural world, outdoor recreation, nature, domestic architecture, conservation culture, industrial life

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