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Environmental Ethics

Volume 34, Issue 4, Winter 2012

South American Environmental Philosophy

Ricardo Rozzi
Pages 343-366

South American Environmental Philosophy
Ancestral Amerindian Roots and Emergent Academic Branches

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, South America hosts the world’s greatest di­versity of plants and most animal groups, as well as a variety of environmental movements, involving urban and rural communities. South American academic philosophy, however, has given little consideration to this rich biocultural context. To nourish an emergent regional environmental philosophy three main sources can be identified. First, a variety of ancient and contemporary ecological worldviews and practices offer a rich biocultural array of South American environmental thought that can be disclosed and valued through the work of cultural anthropology, liberation philosophy, liberation pedagogy, liberation theology, ecofeminism, and biocultural conservation. Second, some recent academic environmental philosophy research and teaching teams have been formed in South American universities with the support of the interdisciplinary United Nations Environmental Programme or based on the individual interests of some scattered scholars. Third, social movements have increasingly demanded the incorporation of environmental values into regional policies and decision-making processes. These three sources can foster intercultural, international, and transdisciplinary dialogues to further develop a South American environmental philosophy grounded in its precious biocultural diversity.