My thesis focuses on philosophical themes implicit in corridor conservation, using the Big Thicket National Preserve as an example. The way in which corridors, boundaries and communities are ambiguous, as both limits and connections, is dealt with. Corridor-patch matrices assemble ecological and human groups into temporary communities, often with conflicting interests. Such constellations foreground how a foreigner's boundary crossing is a notion important to both conservation and a philosophical study of being, seen as being always in relation with otherness. In this context, the notion of foreignness and Jean-Luc Nancy's idea of being-with is explored. Understanding the complex network of relations in which an entity exists leads to an awareness of its ambiguous nature. To facilitate judgment with such ambiguity, one needs a contextual understanding of a situation.
A paradox exists in attempting to resolve ecocrisis: awareness of ecological concerns is growing, but the crisis continues to escalate. John Firor, a well-known scientist, suggests that to resolve the paradox and hence ecocrisis, we need an alternative definition of "human beingness"--that is, a human ontology.
Environmental issues are often complex with many different constituents operating according to a broad range of communication techniques. In order to foster negotiations, different perspectives need to be articulated in lucid ways sensitive to various viewpoints and circumstances. In my thesis I investigate how certain approaches to environmental discourse effect dialogue and negotiation. My first two chapters focus on environmental problems surrounding rangeland ecology along the U.S./Mexico border; whereas the last two chapters explore more theoretical conflicts concerning the philosophy of nature. Throughout the thesis I show the significance of nonhumans (prairie dogs, cattle, biological assessment sheets, environmental laws, etc.) in the human community. Only by considering the roles of nonhumans do we broaden and enrich the conversation between ourselves concerning environmental issues.