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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
News and Notes
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from the editor
2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Eugene Hargrove Perspectives in African Environmental Ethics and Philosophy
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3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
William Forbes, Kwame Badu Antwi-Boasiako, Ben Dixon Some Fundamentals of Conservation in South and West Africa
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Aldo Leopold’s draft essay “Some Fundamentals of Conservation in the Southwest” from 1923 (first published in the introductory volume of Environmental Ethics in the 1979) shows that his initially expressed moral concerns were primary to his view of conservation. In addition, this early essay also challenged dominant perceptions of environmental degradation in the southwestern United States in the 1920s. For these reasons, it provides a framework for examining conservation as a moral issue in South and West Africa, especially in the nations of South Africa and Ghana, building on J. Baird Callicott’s summaries of Yoruba (Nigerian/West African) and San (southern African) environmental ethics in Earth’s Insights (1994). In the context of poverty, traditional community taboos may have already supplied the social norms of conservation that Leopold desired, but they are marginalized by modernization. As in Leopold’s essay, mainstream perceptions of environmental degradation viewed through the lens of political ecology suggest that international market forces may be more ecologically disruptive than traditional peasant agriculture. Land ethics similar to Leopold’s are implicit within the political philosophies of two of the regions’ most respected recent leaders, Nelson Mandela (South Africa), who promoted land reform, and Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), who promoted pan-Africanism over neocolonialism. Community-based solutions to conservation issues illustrate the successes, failures, and the challenging complexity of modernization in these subregions.
4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Workineh Kelbessa Can African Environmental Ethics Contribute to Environmental Policy in Africa?
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African policy makers have ignored indigenous environmental ethics. The relation between responsible use of the planet’s resources and ethics remains apparent in many cultural and social systems of traditional Africa. The local people have developed detailed interactive knowledge of the natural environment, and preserved biodiversity resources, which they have nurtured and developed since time immemorial. African environmental ethics is based on the worldviews of the African people, and can contribute to biodiversity conservation and environmental rehabilitation and protection. It can enlighten policy makers by providing a theoretical foundation for sustainable living. Furthermore, African environmental ethics can expose environmental injustice committed by different groups in Africa, and assist local communities to secure environmental justice and protect their environment. It can create awareness within countries and globally about the actions of transnational corporations, irresponsible countries, and local industries which damage the environment. African environmental ethics may also alert the African people to understand the long-range effects of environmental degradation that are beyond the purview of local people and understanding of which is otherwise unavailable. Modern environmental knowledge about global environmental problems will provide peasant farmers and pastoralists an opportunity to look at their own local concerns and issues within the context of a greater global perspective. Only by involving peasant farmers, pastoralists, and indigenous people at the grass-roots level will African policy makers have the political strength and will to implement serious changes needed to address serious environmental and developmental problems. If policy makers continue to neglect the major contributors to biodiversity conservation and environmentally friendly practices, environmental policies will not have significant impacts on development and environmental protection in Africa.
discussion papers
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Kevin Gary Behrens An African Relational Environmentalism and Moral Considerability
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There is a pervasive presumption that African thought is inherently anthropocentric and has little to contribute to environmental ethics. Against this view, a promising African environmentalism can be be found in a belief in a fundamental interrelatedness between natural objects. What establishes moral considerability on this African view is that entities are part of the interconnected web of life. This position accords moral standing to all living things, groups of living things, as well as inanimate natural entities. This view is not only plausible, but also theoretically appealing.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Chukwugozie Maduka Preserving the Benin City Moats: The Interaction of Indigenous and Urban Environmental Values and Aesthetics
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The inner and outer Benin City moats are human-made military artifacts from the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteen centuries. Two sets of questionnaires given to indigenous and non-indigenous people living in Benin City show that some people want the moats preserved for a variety of reasons: for historical purposes, for aesthetic purposes, and for the purpose of beautifying Benin City; to channel city floods; and to serve as a tourist attraction. These variegated viewpoints from the standpoint of Bini indigenous values, urban values and aesthetics, and worldview can to some degree be regarded as existential and phenomenological approaches to environmental matters. An argument, nevertheless, can be developed that the moats should be properly regarded as earthworks such that the more common Eurocentric instrumental-intrinsic value categories are applicable to them for purposes of environmental ethical considerations. On both intrinsic and instrumental grounds, there are adequate justifications for preserving the moats. Utilitarian ethical considerations are one way of understanding those who would wish the moats to be used to channel city floods. Developing the moats for tourism can be interpreted as an attempt to link utilitarian and aesthetic viewpoints. Blending urban aesthetics with utilitarian considerations, some designs (including the design of railroads) can provide a way of concretely promoting tourism and its concomitant aesthetics.
book reviews
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Candice Delmas Allen Thompson and Jeremy Bendik-Keymer, eds. Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future
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8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Frank W. Derringh Tim Mulgan. Ethics for a Broken World: Imagining Philosophy after Catastrophe
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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Yogi Hendlin William Ophuls. Plato’s Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology
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10. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Lisa Kretz Tovar Cerulli. The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance
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11. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Todd LeVasseur Matthew Hall. Plants as Persons: A Philosophical Bounty
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12. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 36 > Issue: 1
Ted Benton Costas Panayotakis. Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy
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