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Environmental Ethics

Volume 25, Issue 3, Fall 2003

Dan Nees, Valerie E. Green, Kim Treadway
Pages 295-312
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics200325320

Activism, Objectivism, and Environmental Politics

Environmental activism, like all great activisms, is fundamentally normative, its principal beliefs contestable, its most powerful arguments rebuttable on the grounds that they are subjective. Environmental activists, as political tacticians with complex goals, have become skilled at presenting objectified versions of their own motivations when trying to broaden support for specific policies or take advantage of regulatory or legal opportunities. While instrumentally tempting and often expedient, this practice of objectifying moral arguments is in some respects disingenuous, and its successes as well as its failures bring with them characteristic risks, short-term and long-term.

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