Plastic Daffodils: The Pastoral, the Picturesque, and Cultural Environmentalism

  • Nick GroomEmail author


This chapter argues that cultural perspectives are necessary for integrated climate change research. By examining the history of perceptions of the natural world, primarily through literature and the genres of the pastoral and the picturesque in the eighteenth century and Romantic periods, the analysis shows how the English countryside was represented as a figurative rather than a literal space, which in turn became an ideological justification for the agrarian revolution: the enclosure and privatisation of common land; the migration of the workforce into industrial cities; and the commercialisation of the countryside for bourgeois leisure pursuits. Contemporary attitudes to the environment and hence climate change are based on these historical distortions. However, developing an awareness of ‘cultural environmentalism’ and promoting innovative creative work can help introduce the notion of cultural stewardship into sustainable living.


Climate change Countryside Cultural environmentalism Cultural stewardship Environment History Literature Pastoral Picturesque 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK

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