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Environmental Philosophy

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Science, Totems, and the Technological Species

We need nature for our physical and psychological well-being. Our actions reflect this when we turn to beloved pets for companionship, vacation in spots of natural splendor, or spend hours working in the garden. Yet we are also a technological species and have been since we fashioned tools out of stone. Thus one of this century's central challenges is to embrace our kinship with a more-than-human world—"our totemic self"—and integrate that kinship with our scientific culture and technological selves.

Philosophy, Science, and Ethics

Philosophical reflections on the environment began with early philosophers’ invocation of a cosmology that mixed natural and supernatural phenomena. Today, the central philosophical problem posed by the environment involves not what it can teach us about ourselves and our place in the cosmic order but rather how we can understand its workings in order to make better decisions about our own conduct regarding it. The resulting inquiry spans different areas of contemporary philosophy, many of which are represented by the fifteen original essays in this volume.

Human Virtues of the Future

Predictions about global climate change have produced both stark scenarios of environmental catastrophe and purportedly pragmatic ideas about adaptation. This book takes a different perspective, exploring the idea that the challenge of adapting to global climate change is fundamentally an ethical one, that it is not simply a matter of adapting our infrastructures and economies to mitigate damage but rather of adapting ourselves to realities of a new global climate.

Adapting to the Coming Downshift

Energy supplies are tightening. Persistent pollutants are accumulating. Food security is declining. There is no going back to the days of reckless consumption, but there is a possibility—already being realized in communities across North America and around the world—of localizing, of living well as we learn to live well within immutable constraints. This book maps the transition to a more localized world.

Climate change will shape the political, economic, and cultural landscape as surely as it shapes the natural landscape. It challenges our existing political institutions, ethical theories, and ways of conceptualizing the human relationship to the environment, it defies current principles of distributive justice, transcends current discourses on rights, and disrupts our sense of place.

Problems, Promise, and Practice

Environmental justice concerns form an important part of popular environmental movements in many countries. Activists, scholars, and policymakers in the developing world, for example, increasingly use the tools of environmental justice to link concerns over social justice and environmental well-being.

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