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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
News and Notes
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features
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
Dominic Welburn, Rawlsian Environmental Stewardship and Intergenerational Justice
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Over what is now a period of several decades, green political theorists have attempted to reconcile the political philosophy of John Rawls with impending environmental crises. Despite numerous attempts, the general consensus among those receptive to the idea that Rawls’ notion of “justice as fairness” can indeed be extended to incorporate environmental concerns is that such a theory cannot extend beyond minimal, “light” green notions of environmental justice. However, a theory of Rawlsian environmental stewardship can not only allow for more ecocentric visions of environmental justice, but also complement the “freestanding” nature of his later, specifically political liberalism.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
John Mizzoni, Environmental Ethics: A Catholic View
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A substantial environmental ethic appears in the official teachings of the Catholic Church. The central driving force of this environmental ethic views human life and human dignity as the most sacred foundation, a tenet that appears in all of the Church’s ethical and social teachings. A Catholic environmental ethic can be situated among contemporary environmental ethics, specifically by examining Catholic environmental ethics along the axes of anthropocentrism and nonanthropocentrism by looking at Catholic social teaching, especially as it has been described by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. In their publications and speeches going back to 1987, they paid much attention to raising environmental awareness, and made continuous efforts to illustrate how an environmental ethic naturally fits within the Church’s ethical teachings. John Paul II illuminated the intimate connection between Catholic social teaching and environmental ethics, and Benedict XVI wove these themes together even more tightly.
discussion papers
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
Yee Keong Choy, Land Ethics from the Borneo Tropical Rain Forests in Sarawak, Malaysia: An Empirical and Conceptual Analysis
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The tropical rain-forest regions in Borneo Island have in place various tough environmental policies to manage the economic use of natural resources sustainably. Nevertheless, their biological landscapes are struggling against unprecedented ecological assault amid rapid industrial transformations which have involved massive and irreversible exploitation of land resources. The main reason behind this mismatch of sustainable resource management vis-à-vis unsustainable resource use is the failure on the part of the policy makers to act under the guidance of certain ethical virtues when attempting to translate environmental rhetoric in print to concrete actions in reality. Ethical engagement with nature is pivotal in helping to stimulate genuine efforts in environmental conservation. Field research in the Borneo tropical rain-forest state of Sarawak, Malaysia is able to identify and evaluate the distinctive environmental attitudes, values, and practices of the indigenous communities, and their implications on Sarawak’s sustainable land-resource use and to reinforce the importance of ethical leadership in addressing a myriad of today’s environmental challenges.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
Mark Bryant Budolfson, Why the Standard Interpretation of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic is Mistaken
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The standard interpretation of Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is that correct land management is whatever tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community, of which we humans are merely a small part. From this interpretation, it is a short step to interpreting Leopold as a sort of deep ecologist or radical environmentalist. However, this interpretation is based on a small number of quotations from Leopold taken out of context. Once these quota­tions are put into context, and once the broader context of Leopold’s mature writings and his actions as a land manager are taken into account, it becomes clear that he is much closer to being an enlightened anthropocentrist than he is to being anything like a radical environmentalist. When properly understood, Leopold’s land ethic recognizes that fundamental human interests must be treated with the highest possible respect, and it emphasizes the incredible challenge and need for modesty in identifying the correct tradeoffs between lesser human interests and the interests of the broader biotic community.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
Kimberly S. Engels, Bad Faith, Authenticity, and Responsibilities to Future Generations: A Sartrean Approach
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A Sartrean existentialist ethics of authenticity model can serve as an alternative to tradi­tional approaches to the issue of moral responsibilities to future generations. Traditional utilitarian and rights-based positions can fall short when addressing future-persons concern, both through technical problems and their failure to show our interconnectedness with other generations. Sartrean concepts of freedom, responsibility, and authenticity can offer an alternative approach which focuses on interpersonal adoption of the Other’s projects. There is bad faith present in the typical discussion about future generations. We need to rid ourselves of this bad faith in order to engage in authentic relationships with humans of the past, present, and future.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
T. J. Kasperbauer, Behaviorally Inadequate: A Situationist Critique of Environmental Virtues
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According to situationism in psychology, behavior is primarily influenced by external situational factors rather than internal traits or motivations such as virtues. Environmental ethicists wish to promote pro-environmental behaviors capable of providing adequate protection for the environment, but situationist critiques suggest that character traits, and environmental virtues, are not as behaviorally robust as is typically supposed. Their views present a dilemma. Because ethicists cannot rely on virtues to produce pro-environmental behaviors, the only real way of salvaging environmental virtue theory is to reject or at least minimize the requirement that environmental ethics must provide protection and assistance to the environment. Virtue theory is often favored by environmentalists precisely because it does matter what one's reasons are for acting, even if one's actions are ineffective at producing positive results. However, because endorsing behaviorally ineffective virtues, for whatever reason, entails that environmental ethicists are abandoning the goal of helping and protecting the environment, environmental ethicists should consider looking elsewhere than virtues and focus instead on the role of situations.
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
James Yeates, Whale Killers and Whale Rights: The Future of the International Regulation of Whaling
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The normative claims underlying international human rights have international law implica­tions in the context of cetaceans (whales, porpoises and dolphins). Legal, ethical, philosophical, and scientific elements can be brought together into a synthetic argument to determine appropriate criteria for affording “cetacean rights.” The ethical underpinning of human rights is a neo-Kantian conception of human dignity. Such dignity is ascribed to humans on account of their rationality, attributed according to certain sufficient criteria. The evidence appears sufficient to make it ethically and legally appropriate to consider a novel international instrument or an adaptation of the existing framework to afford cetaceans “whale rights.”
9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
Referees 2014
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book reviews
10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 4
Chris Klassen, Katharine Wilkinson: Between God and Green: How Evangelicals are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change
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