Environmental Ethics

Volume 46, Issue 2, Summer 2024

Giacomo Floris, Costanza Porro
Pages 149-169

The Idea of Equality in Environmental Ethics

In recent decades, it has often been argued by environmental ethicists that human beings and the natural world ought to be considered as equals in some basic sense. The aim of this paper is to make sense of this view by examining what role, if any, the idea of equality ought to play in environmental ethics. Specifically, we have two aims: the first aim is to identify those environmental claims that are distinctively egalitarian. The second aim is to show these claims do not rest on a principled and convincing justification. Our main contention is therefore that equality has no place in environmental ethics. There are other promising ways to argue that our relationship with the natural environment must be fundamentally revised. By bringing clarity to this debate and dispelling the possibility of equality-based arguments, we hope to contribute to this endeavor.