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Environmental Ethics

Volume 40, Issue 4, Winter 2018
African Environmental Philosophy

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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
News and Notes
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2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Trish Glazebrook, Anthony Kola-Olusanya From the Guest Editors
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3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Workineh Kelbessa Environmental Philosophy in African Traditions of Thought
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Besides normative areas, African environmental philosophy should pay attention to the epistemological and metaphysical dimensions of the worldviews of the African people in order to understand the environmental attitudes and values in African traditions of thought. Unlike mainstream Western ethics, African environmental philosophy has renounced anthropomorphism, anthropocentrism, and ethnocentrism and recognizes the interconnectedness of human beings with the natural environment and its component parts. In African worldviews, the physical and the metaphysical, the sacred and the secular, the natural and the supernatural are interrelated. Human beings are part of the natural environment. African philosophers should continue to explore the potential for a strong African environmental philosophy in African traditions of thought that can contribute to the solution of current environmental crises.
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Boyowa Anthony Chokor Cultural Ethics and Social Mediation of Environmental Action and Use of Space in Nigeria
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Space provides the major context for environmental interactions, both social or physical. In Africa the use of space is mediated by sociocultural values, beliefs, and norms. Segments of space from the room to the village square and surrounding natural environment have domains of cultural rules, symbols, and meanings assigned to them with import for environmental behavior and action among elders, children, and women. They illuminate aspects of the social enforcement of three forms of environment-related rules: “prescriptive,” mediating, and community-assigned environmental codes/taboos, some of which may require purification rites for violations. Several transgenerational eco-thoughts and eco-fantasies embedded in social practices have significant bearing on sustainable environmental conservation. Five major contexts are in deep interplay between community environmental ethics and environmental action: (1) the adoption and evocation of spiritualized rules in regulating the use of space; (2) the declaration of sacred grounds and territories to bound people; (3) the evolution of time-and place-related rules; (4) the use of physical designs to secure behavioral expectations; and (5) the role of “regulatory social institutions” in the enforcement of environmental codes. They point to the fact that cultural and social meanings assigned to the ordinary physical environment are important in deconstructing peoples’ use of space. While traditional communal environmental norms can be given preeminence, their correlates in cosmopolitan societies are exemplified in the complex formal rules sometimes employed in regulating the use of space, creating a juridical order in the drive for efficiency and profit in capitalistic societies.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Michael Adetunji Ahove Paradigm Shifts of the African Worldview: Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Education
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Africa is the most vulnerable region of the world due to anthropogenic climate change challenges on account of dependence on nature for the sustenance of agriculture as her main source of income, high level of poverty, and low level of literacy. Climate change adaptation involves strategies of adjusting to the negative effects of climate change, while climate change mitigation involves techniques that help to reduce production of greenhouse gases through burning fossil fuels. The African worldview from the frontier of Nigerian epistemological and ontological perspectives as it finds expression in climate change adaptation and mitigation is built on the foundations of its relationship with nature, traditional religion and belief systems, agricultural practices, and some other day-to-day practices. Worldview analysis of the contemporary Nigerian has been conducted and classified into Original African, Westernized African, and Little Here-and-There African, a paradigm existing in Nigerians irrespective of level of Western education. What will be the fate of the younger Nigerian climate scientist in a globalized and technologically competitive world? This question gives rise to further discussion on the principles and application of the theory of Culturo-Techno-Contextual Approach as postulated by Peter A. Okebukola and applied to creating an environment for meaningful learning on climate change adaptation and mitigation for the future generations of Nigerians.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Edward Uzoma Ezedike Ratiocentrism, Intrinsic Value, and the Moral Status of the Nonhuman Natural World: A Reflection on Kant’s Categorial Imperative
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Kant’s doctrine of the “categorical imperative” with respect to ratiocentrism needs to be examined for its implications for environmental ethics. Kant’s argument is that moral actions must be categorical or unqualified imperatives that reflect the sovereignty of moral obligations that all rational moral agents could figure out by virtue of their rationality. For Kant, humans have no direct moral obligations to non-rational, nonhuman nature: only rational beings, i.e., humans, are worthy of moral consideration. I argue that this position is excessively anthropocentric and ratiocentric in excluding the nonhuman natural world from moral consideration. While conceding that nonhuman nature is instrumentally valuable owing to some inevitable existential, ontological considerations, moral obligation should be extended to the natural world in order to achieve environmental wholeness.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Emmanuela Opoku, Trish Glazebrook Gender, Agriculture, and Climate Policy in Ghana
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Ghana is aware of women farmers’ climate adaptation challenges in meeting the country’s food security needs and has strong intentions to support these women, but is stymied by economic limitations, poor organization in governance, persistent social gender biases, and either little or counter-productive support from international policy makers and advisory bodies. Focal issues are the global impacts of climate change on agriculture, Africa’s growing hunger crisis, and women’s contribution to food production in Ghana. Of special importance are the issues of gender-inclusiveness and gender-sensitivity of Ghana’s climate and climate-related policies, including its integration of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change policy, as well as the influence of international economic policy on Ghana’s gender development. Because women farmers provide the majority of the country’s national food-basket, Ghana (as well as other African counries) should focus on building women subsistence farmers’ adaptation needs to avert mass starvation. People should understand that starvation in Africa is not a future event but is already underway.
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Yvette Abrahams How Must I Explain to the Dolphins?: An Intersectional Approach to Theorizing the Epistemology of Climate Uncertainty
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The story of change and growth, i.e., evolution, in the traditional manner, involves an epistemology of indigenous knowledge systems that admits both evolution and the divine—and therefore the human capacity for free choice—that tells us that fossil fuels are a bad choice. Steven Biko’s message of “Black Consciousness” responds to the dilemma of how we belong to the species that is damaging the planetary ecosystem, amd yet how we can deny complicity by saying that reclaiming our culture enables us to see what we have done, so we can refuse complicity with the system that has divided us and take responsibility for giving birth to new life. The uncertainties of climate change can be thought through using race, class, gender, sexual orientation, indigeneity, and disability as categories of analysis. The result is an understanding that through both climate science and lived experience, we can know enough to know we ought to act on climate change. We do not need more research; we need instead an acceptance of our ignorance amid a sense of ethical responsibility. This story speaks of liberation from oppression and of climate action as deeply entangled in
book reviews
9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Piers H. G. Stephens Svetozar Y. Minkov and Bernhardt L. Trout, eds.: Mastery of Nature: Promises and Prospects
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Tony Vogt David Naguib Pellow: What is Critical Environmental Justice?
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11. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Referees 2018
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12. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 4
Index for 2018
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