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Environmental Ethics

Volume 42, Issue 4, Winter 2020
Settler Colonialism

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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
News and Notes
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from the founding editor
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Gene Hargrove A Final Word or Two
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from the guest editors
3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Jeff Gessas, Tricia Glazebrook Settler Colonialism and Environmental Ethics
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4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Lauren Eichler, David Baumeister Predators and Pests: Settler Colonialism and the Animalization of Native Americans
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The tethering of Indigenous peoples to animality has long been a central mechanism of settler colonialism. Focusing on North America from the seventeenth century to the pres­ent, this essay argues that Indigenous animalization stems from the settler imposition onto Native Americans of dualistic notions of human/animal difference, coupled with the settler view that full humanity hinges on the proper cultivation of land. To further illustrate these claims, we attend to how Native Americans have been and continue to be animalized as both predators and pests, and show how these modes of animalization have and continue to provide settlers motive and justification for the elimination of Native peoples and the extractive domination of Native lands.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Rebekah Sinclair Un-Settling Species Concepts through Indigenous Knowledge: Implications for Ethics and Science
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The voices of Native American philosophers, scientists, and storytellers need to be amplified to problematize and decolonize the often taken-for-granted concept of species in environmental ethics. Especially in the context of climate change, concepts such as cross-species native,invasive, and endangered species have become cornerstones for understanding and evaluating moral obligations to other lives.Yet, even as the species concept does ethical work, it has not itself been subject to critical ethical evaluation. Instead, uncritical treatment of the species concept can naturalize Western metaphysical conceptual habits in ways that both support settler colonial organization of the world and conflict with Indigenous ontological and ethico-epistemological understandings of species. This can be especially problematic as scientists and environmentalists increasingly seek to engage Indigenous knowledge of particular species (for the purposes of conservation, for example) while assuming the sovereignty and objectivity of Western scientific taxonomies and species concepts. Yet, far from being objective and neutral with respect to culture, Western species concepts and taxonomies were first universalized and naturalized in part through the cooption and dismissal of Indigenous species knowledges.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Anna Cook, Bonnie Sheehey Metaphorical and Literal Groundings: Unsettling Groundless Normativity in Environmental Ethics
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Accounts of grounded normativity in Indigenous philosophy can be used to challenge the groundlessness of Western environmental ethical approaches such as Aldo Leopold’s land ethic. Attempts to ground normativity in mainstream Western ethical theory deploy a metaphorical grounding that covers up the literal grounded normativity of Indigenous philosophical practices. Furthermore, Leopold’s land ethic functions as a form of settler philosophical guardianship that works to erase, assimilate, and effectively silence localized Indigenous knowledges through a delocalized ethical standard. Finally, grounded normativ­ity challenges settlers to question their desire for groundless normative theory and practice as reflective of their evasion of ethical responsibility for the destruction and genocide of Indigenous communities.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Shelbi Nahwilet Meissner Reclaiming Rainmaking from Damming Epistemologies: Indigenous Resistance to Settler Colonial Contributory Injustice
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In California Indian epistemologies, water, land, language, and knowledge are intimately connected through ancient cycles of research, ceremony, and kinship. Since creation, ‘atáaxum champúulam//Luiseño medicine people sang for rain, holding ceremonies that kept the riv­ers full, the plants strong, and our people from thirst. Rainmaking in this essay serves as an example of an Indigenous lifeway and practice that was subjected to colonial violence; rainmaking also serves as a more figurative and emblematic example of a central feature of Indigenous epistemologies in which language, land, governance/clan systems, and ceremony are linked together as an embodied practice. Embodied practices and the cluster of concepts connected to them are contrasted throughout this essay with parcels, or aspects of Indigenous lifeways that are rendered as individualized pieces or as mere resources. Indigenous lifeways are rendered as parcels or mere resources through a process of structural epistemic injustice (contributory injustice) that can be referted to as epistemic damming. Through contributory injustice, or epistemic damming, settler colonial legal and academic structures have transformed Indigenous practices by rendering them into parcels, or mere resources, and doling them out piecemeal back to Indigenous communities as a lackluster gesture at justice. This essay (1) provides sorely underdiscussed historical context of the impacts of settler colonialism on Indigenous lifeways and practices, spotlighting the specific manifestations of settler colonial violence in California, (2) shows how Indigenous practices are epistemically dammed, or subjected to structural contributory injustice, highlighting contemporary examples thereof, and (3) briefly gestures at a now-visible roadmap of avenues of Indigenous resistance with hazards such as contributory injustice flagged along the way.
8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Billie Lythberg, Dan Hikuroa How Can We Know Wai-Horotiu—A Buried River? Cross-cultural Ethics and Civic Art
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The complex interactions and ruptures between contemporary settler colonialism, environmental ethics, and Indigenous rights and worldviews often emerge in projects of civil engineering. The continued capture, control and burial of natural water courses in Aotearoa-New Zealand is a case in point, and exemplifies a failure to stay abreast of evolving understandings and renewed relationships we seek with our waterways, our ancestors. Wai-Horotiu stream used to run down what is now Queen Street, the main road in Auckland, Aotearoa-New Zealand’s largest city. Treasured by Māori as a source of wai (water) and mahinga kai (food), it is also the home of Horotiu, a taniwha or ancestral guardian—a literal ‘freshwater body’. However, as Tāmaki-Makaurau transitioned into Auckland city, Wai-Horotiu became denigrated; used as an open sewer by early settlers before being buried alive in the colonial process. How, now, can we know this buried waterway? Te Awa Tupua Act 2017 that affords the Whanganui River juristic personality and moral considerability offers one possible solution. It acknowledges that waterways, incorporating all their physical and metaphysical elements, exist in existential interlinks with Māori as part of their whakapapa (genealogical networks). This paper asks, can a corresponding and appropriate ethics of association and care be fostered in and expressed by the political descendants of British settlers (Pākehā) and later immigrants who live here under the auspices established by Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840? Here is a conversation between a Māori earth systems scientist and a Pākehā interdisciplinary scholar. Where Hikuroa speaks from and to direct whakapapa connections, beginning with pepeha, Lythberg’s narrative springboards from public art projects that facilitate more ways of knowing Wai-Horotiu. Together, we contend that a regard for Indigenous relationships with water can guide best practice for us all, and propose that creative practices can play a role in attaching people to place, and to waterways.
book reviews
9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Inês Salgueiro Christine M. Korsgaard. Fellow Creatures: Our Obligations to the Other Animals
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Matthias Fritsch Hicham-Stéphane Afeissa. Esthétique de la charogne
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11. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Referees 2020
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12. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 42 > Issue: 4
Index for 2020
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