From Environmental Ethics to Environmental Action

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


How should we move from environmental ethics—discussing reasons for action—to environmental action: doing and being engaged? Since the way a problem is defined constitutes the way it is solved, it is important to see whether we define the problem as one of environmental awareness—how people think about human-nature relationships—or as one of political consciousness: holding a belief that environmental matters constitute a political issue that should be treated not merely as a technological case but rather as a political one. Both options are possible, yet imply different modes of action. The former option (environmental awareness) implies radical changes in education, and the latter implies radical changes in our political institutions. Since radical changes (in mind or intuitional) need political legitimacy, many activists assume that democracy is an obstacle. It is argued that this is empirically false and confuses the problem with the solution.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics
EditorsStephen M. Gardiner, Allen Thompson
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780199983612, 9780199941339
StatePublished - 2015


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