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Environmental Ethics

Volume 33, Issue 4, Winter 2011

Paul Haught
Pages 357-375
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics201133442

Environmental Virtues and Environmental Justice

Environmental virtue ethics (EVE) can be applied to environmental justice. Environmental justice refers to the concern that many poor and nonwhite communities bear a disproportionate burden of risk of exposure to environmental hazards compared to white and/or economically higher-class communities. The most common applied ethical response to this concern—that is, to environmental injustice—is the call for an expanded application of human rights, such as requirements for clean air and water. The virtue-oriented approach can be made consistent with such calls, but there are broader applications as well that generate unique strategies for moral responsiveness and for expanding the role of moral philosophers in civic affairs.