As a keystone species the concept ‘nature’ plays a vital role in shaping our world. In this article, we think with the material turn about the concept nature due to its significant performativity in its role within environmental education and research. How nature is conceived is played out on a massive scale as matter itself is morphed through conceptual processes. Therefore, we focus on the matter(ing) of conceptual abstraction, the physical effects – and affects – of thinking a thing into existence. We initiate a pluralistic thought experiment that purposefully diffracts nature into eight performances, to see what it does. The concept nature performs ecologically and enacts trophic cascades. This exploration highlights feats of racism, classism, androcentrism, colonialism, homogenization, and mass extinction. What we are proposing is an environmental literacy that attends to what a concept is capable of, what a concept can do, and perhaps even what a concept can prevent, post-nature.
- environmental education research
- new materialisms