Volume 19, Issue 3, Fall 1997
From the Mexican Chiapas Crisis
A Different Perspective for Environmental Ethics
The social unrest in Chiapas, a southern Mexican state, revealed the complexity of cultural and natural issues behind the idealized Western version of indigenous ecological ethics and its apparently universal perspective. In accordance with the conventional interpretation of traditional native beliefs, they are often pictured as alternative perspectives arising from challenges to the scientific worldview. In
this paper, I point toward a more comprehensive account of human-environmental relation rooted in the particular type of social and natural conditions. I also discuss changes of place, changes of identity related to changes of place, and respective changes in modes of environmental sustainability. I conclude that modernization endangers two fundamental ethical insights: “openness” to the environment and respect for nonhuman living beings.