Environmental Ethics

Volume 45, Issue 2, Summer 2023

Rich EvaOrcid-ID
Pages 131-146

Thomistic Environmental Ethics
God’s Artistic Property

A cursory reading of Thomas Aquinas’s work can give the impression he condones a despotic or exploitative relationship between humans and the environment. Many philosophers and theologians have sought to dispel this impression and draw out a more robust Thomistic environmental ethic. In this paper, I support this endeavor by describing how, in Thomas’s work, the environment is God’s artistic property and how this notion qualifies our use of the environment. Next, I consider two concepts related to artistic property: vandalism and showcasing. I explore these concepts as they relate to the environment and find they give us reasons not to deface or destroy creatures and to look to creation for guidance in problem-solving.