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Environmental Ethics

Volume 27, Issue 1, Spring 2005

Christopher J. Preston, Steven H. Corey
Pages 3-21

Public Health and Environmentalism
Adding Garbarge to the History of Environmental Ethics

There exists in the United States a popular account of the historical roots of environmental philosophy which is worth noting not simply as a matter of historical interest, but also as a source book for some of the key ideas that lend shape to contemporary North American environmental philosophy. However, this folk wisdom about the historical beginnings of North American environmental thinking is incomplete. The wilderness-based history commonly used by environmental philosophers should be supplemented with the neglected story of garbage and sanitation in North American urban areas during the nineteenth century. This supplemented history changes the conceptual territory over which North American environmental philosophy roams. This new territory is better suited to a number of important local and international environmental challenges.

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