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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
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2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
Robert Sparrow The Ethics of Terraforming
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I apply an agent-based virtue ethics to issues in environmental philosophy regarding our treatment of complex inorganic systems. I consider the ethics of terraforming: hypothetical planetary engineering on a vast scale which is aimed at producing habitable environments on otherwise “hostile” planets. I argue that the undertaking of such a project demonstrates at least two serious defects of moral character: an aesthetic insensitivity and the sin of hubris. Trying to change whole planets to suit our ends is arrogant vandalism. I maintain that these descriptions of character are coherent and important ethical concepts. Finally, I demonstrate how the arguments developed in opposition to terraforming, a somewhat farfetched example, can be used in cases closer to home to provide arguments against our use of recombinantDNA technologies and against the construction of tourist developments in wilderness areas.
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
Yeuk-Sze Lo Natural and Artifactual: Restored Nature as Subject
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It has been argued that human restoration of nature is morally problematic because artificially restored natural entities are artifacts, which are ontologically different from natural entities and hence essentially devoid of the moral standing that natural entities have. I discuss the alleged assimilation of restored natural entities to artifacts, and argue that it does not follow from the ontological differences, if any, between the artifactual and the natural that the former is morally inferior to the latter. This defense against the devaluation of restored natural entities is aimed at narrowing the ethical gap between the wild and thetamed, which is often endorsed by ecocentric environmental ethics.
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
John Patterson Environmental Mana
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In Maori tradition, all creatures are naturally sacred or tapu, and cannot be used without ritual removal of the tapu, a symbolic acknowledgment of the mana of the gods concerned. Although there is a religious dimension to tapu, it is also the natural state of all creatures, reflecting the idea that they have intrinsic worth. The theist aspect of tapu can be bypassed: tapu is the mana of the atua or gods, whocan be seen as personifications of or indeed identical with areas of the natural world. In this way, the mana of the gods is seen as the mana of nature itself, and respect for the tapu of a creature turns out quite like the familiar idea of respect for its intrinsic value or its ecological value. We might conclude that the environmental mana of the human species is currently negative, and this conclusion in turn might persuade us to change our ways.
discussion papers
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
Jack C. Swearengen Brownfields and Greenfields: An Ethical Perspective on Land Use
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America’s industries and families continue to forsake cities for suburban and rural environs, in the process leaving nonproductive lands (brownfields) and simultaneously removing greenfield land from agriculturally or biologically productive use. In spite of noteworthy exceptions, urban regions which once functioned as vital communities continue in economic and social decline. Discussion or debate about the problem (or, indeed, whether it is a problem at all) invokes systems of values which often are not articulated. Some attribute the urban exodus to departure from personal ethical norms (e.g., substance abuse, violence, welfare addiction) by urban residents, as though ethical decline is driving the phenomenon. Others take the exact opposite stance, that social and economic decline follow the departure of the economic base. There is no consensus on what government should do about the problem, or whether government should be involved at all. I present elements of a land-use ethic which can accommodate the foregoing. I argue that government is already involved in the brownfields problem because urban flight is facilitated by public policies which de facto subsidize the process. I further argue that the debate invokes key—but unexamined—assumptions regarding limits. Where there are few substitutes for resources and the social cost of exploitation is high, government intervention in the market is necessary; “value-free” economic approaches need to be supplemented by values concerning what ought to be, i.e., what is desirable for society.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
Jill LeBlanc Eco-Thomism
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St. Thomas Aquinas is generally seen as having an anthropocentric and instrumentalist view of nature, in which the rational human is the point of the universe for which all else was created. I argue that, to the contrary, his metaphysics is consistent with a holistic ecophilosophy. His views that natural things have intrinsic value and that the world is an organic unity in which diversity is itself a value requiringrespect for being and life in all their manifestations.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
Sandy Marie Anglás Grande Beyond the Ecologically Noble Savage: Deconstructing the White Man’s Indian
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I examine the implications of stereotyping and its intersections with the political realities facing American Indian communities. Specifically, I examine the typification of Indian as ecologically noble savage, as both employed and refuted by environmentalists, through the lenses of cognitive and social psychological perspectives and then bring it within the context of a broader cultural critique. I argue that the noble savage stereotype, often used to promote the environmentalist agenda is nonetheless immersed in the political and ideological parameters of the modern project. Finally, I reassert the right and, more importantly, the authority of Native American peoples to ultimately define for themselves their respective identities and destinies.
book reviews
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
Thom Heyd Crazy Mountains: Learning from Wilderness to Weigh Technology
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
Shari Collins-Chobanian Faces of Environmental Racism: Confronting Issues of Global Justice
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
William Throop Faking Nature: The Ethics of Environmental Restoration
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11. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 21 > Issue: 3
Greta Gaard Feminism and Ecological Communities: An Ethic of Flourishing
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