Environmental Ethics

Volume 44, Issue 1, Spring 2022

ISEE 2020 Special Issue

Rachel Fredericks
Pages 25-46

A Newish Concept for the Climate Crisis

Individual and collective agents, especially affluent ones, are not doing nearly enough to prevent and prepare for the worst consequences of the unfolding climate crisis. This is, I suggest, partly because our existing conceptual repertoires are inadequate to the task of motivating climate-stabilizing activities. I argue that the concept CLIMATE LEGACY meets five desiderata for concepts that, through usage, have significant potential to motivate climate action. Contrasting CLIMATE LEGACY with CARBON FOOTPRINT, CLIMATE JUSTICE, and CARBON NEUTRALITY, I clarify some advantages of thinking in terms of the former. I conclude by discussing some climate legacy-enhancing practical proposals that merit consideration.