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Environmental Ethics

Volume 34, Issue 4, Winter 2012

South American Environmental Philosophy

Enrique Leff
Pages 431-450

Latin American Environmental Thinking
A Heritage of Knowledge for Sustainability

From the beginning of the environmental crisis, a constellation of ecosophies, theories, ideologies, discourses, and narratives have irrupted in the emergent complex ground of environmental philosophy and political ecology. In this non-unifyable field of forces, sociological analysis has been intended to sketch maps and derive typologies to order the different views and standpoints in science, ecological thinking, and environmental ethics so as to guide academic research or political action. From this will to set and settle differences in thought and strategy, a diversity of environmentalisms has emerged; the lines are drawn from North to South, rich to poor, masculine to feminine, naturalism to culturalism. Environmentalisms differentiate their sources, attachments, and derivations from mother theories and their approaches from different disciplines. Thus, the prefix eco- or the adjective environmental are attached to traditional disciplines. Latin American environmental thinking draws its sources from critical philosophical thought; it differs from other systems of thought by a radical epistemological concept of environment; and it acquires its identity from the cultural heritage of its peoples and the ecological potentials of its territories.

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