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Environmental Ethics

Volume 36, Issue 3, Fall 2014

Rachel Fredericks
Pages 339-355
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics201436334

Courage as an Environmental Virtue

We should give courage a more significant place in our understanding of how familiar virtutes can and should be reshaped to capture what it is to be virtuous relative to the environment. Matthew Pianalto’s account of moral courage helps explain what a specifically environmental form of moral courage would look like. There are three benefits to be gained by recognizing courage as an environmental virtue: (1) it helps us to recognize the high stakes nature of much environmental activism and to act accordingly; (2) it can make environmental activism (or tolerance of it) more appealing to a broader audience by helping us dismantle stereotypes as­sociated with environmentalism, including sexist and homophobic ones; and (3) it aides in the de-militarization of the concept of courage.