Anne Frank's Tree: Thoughts on Domination and the Paradox of Progress

Ethics, Place and Environment 13 (3):283-293 (2010)

Authors
Eric Katz
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Abstract
Consider the significance of Anne Frank's horse chestnut tree. During her years of hiding in the secret annex, Anne thought of the tree as a symbol of freedom, happiness, and peace. As a stand-in for all of Nature, Anne saw the tree as that part of the universe that could not be destroyed by human evil. In this essay, I use Anne's tree as a starting point for a discussion of the domination of both nature and humanity. I connect the concept of domination to the policy of ecological restoration, to national and historical narratives of the connection to forest landscapes, and to the environmental policies of the Third Reich, the specific evil entity that confronted Anne Frank. Domination is also intertwined with the idea of the “paradox of progress,” viz., that human progress cannot be separated from acts and policies of domination.
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DOI 10.1080/1366879X.2010.516498
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