Introduction citizenship in the supermarket

Shopping and consumption behaviour are increasingly seen as a public arena of activism and the expression of citizenship, and environmentalists are encouraged to put their money where their mouth is and 'do their bit' by buying 'green' or 'ethical' goods - also known as sustainable consumption This article critically examines sustainable consumption policy and practice in the UK in order to assess its effectiveness as a tool to allow people to make political decisions and put their...

Autonomous yet responsible

This chapter is one of several written by Geoffrey Vickers around 1980 about responsibility, using as his main sources experiences of his long lifetime spent largely in the UK - in the legal profession, as a wartime soldier and in public administration. He participated in much collective and personal decision-making that he described as 'heavy with responsibility'. He raises here questions about the nature of the obligations individuals sometimes feel, the relationship between this sense of...

Ecological nonterritoriality

If ecological citizenship is to make any sense, then, it has to do so outside the realm of activity most normally associated with contemporary citizenship the nation-state. As Peter Christoff points out, 'because of the nation-state's territorial boundedness, ecological citizens . increasingly work beyond and around as well as in and against the state' (1996 160). This might appear to be a statement of fact, but it presupposes that the political activity to which Christoff refers can be...

The project of feminist ecological citizenship

Sherilyn MacGregor's research on women's environmental activism forms the basis for immanent critiques of both ecofeminism and green political thought, and provides substantive empirical support for the development of feminist ecological citizenship (the focus of this reading). MacGregor draws on anti-essentialist feminist theory to question some of the key distinctions in liberal and green thinking, including the distinction between the public and private spheres. In this reading, she focuses...

Discovery Island

In July 2000 the first harvest in more than a century of Blue camas (Camassia quamash) bulbs took place on Discovery Island (near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) by a team of ethnobotanists and Lekwungen indigenous peoples. Camas bulbs are a rich source of carbohydrates that were used historically as a major food source and trade good by the Coast Salish-speaking indigenous peoples in the region around the Strait of Juan de Fuca, southern Vancouver Island, and the archipelago of islands...

The land ethic

Aldo Leopold's 'The land ethic' is an edited extract from his book A Sand County Almanac - a collection of essays describing the land around his home in Wisconsin, USA, published a year after his death in 1948. It provides the first formalized expression of an environmental ethic, and is the most celebrated and widely cited work in the tradition of environmental ethics. As a forester, ecologist and conservationist, Leopold does not use the vocabulary of traditional philosophical ethics. But his...

Duty and responsibility in ecological citizenship

I endorse Bart van Steenbergen's view that, 'There is one important difference between the environmental movement and other emancipation movements. This difference has to do with the notion of responsibility citizenship not only concerns rights and entitlements, but also duties, obligations and responsibilities' (1994 146). A number of commentators on ecological citizenship agree with this (see e.g. Smith 1998 99-100 Barry 1999 126), but such a bare statement prompts two obvious yet important...

Apathy How to do ethics and be ethical philosophical ethics

Whilst normative ethics helps in revealing the interplay of value judgements, more specific questions on what to do can draw on traditions of moral philosophy. Philosophical ethics is about searching for answers to questions about i) doing what's good (or harmful), and ii) doing what's right (or wrong) The first question invites consideration of the consequence of a decision and appropriate ways of measuring the consequences. The second invites consideration to the intention behind any decision...

Tj A dangerous narrowing

A few years back Peter Montague, editor of the internet-distributed Rachel's Environmental and Health Weekly, took the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to task for its annual calendar, which this powerful and effective organization widely distributes to its more than 300,000 members and many non-members too. What drew Montague's ire was the final page of EDF's 1996 calendar, which details a 10-point program to 'save the Earth' (EDF's phrase) 1 Visit and help support our national parks 2 Recycle...

Introduction

E cocentric philosophers (most notably J. Baird Callicott) have argued that the pragmatists' embrace of moral pluralism carries with it the danger of lapsing into indecisive relativism. In particular, the refusal by environmental pragmatists to privilege any substantive environmental values in advance of policy dialogue is seen as problematic insofar as it can lead to philosophical contradictions and dubious political outcomes that may not necessarily protect the environment.1 According to...

The US experience

While the Canadian government has a primer on environmental citizenship on its Environment Canada website, a search on the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website brings up 'Community Based Environmental Protection' (CBEP), a manifestation of the US-based equivalent of environmental citizenship civic environmentalism. The Washington DC-based not-for-profit 'Center for Environmental Citizenship' has as its strap-line 'networking young leaders to protect the environment', an indication...

Despair Issues and values normative ethics

Ethics concern contrasting questions of 'is' with questions of 'ought'. This is sometimes referred to as normative ethics. The 'is' comprises a descriptive world of issues that are experienced by different stakeholders. The 'ought' comprises a normative world of values - often multiple and conflicting - which are used by stakeholders to make judgements on the realities they experience. Many issues relating to environment and development are experienced as complex questions requiring continual...

References

Alexander, G. (2004) 'Welcome to the Planetary Citizenship stream of T171 on the PlaNet weblog ', posted 18 February 2004, PlaNet. Available at www. planetarycitizen.open.ac.uk (accessed 4 June 2004). Bibbings, J. (2004) High Price to Pay Consumer Attitudes to Sustainable Consumption in Wales (Cardiff Welsh Consumer Council). Burgess, J., Bedford, T., Hobson, K., Davies, G. and Harrison, C. (2003) '(Un)sustainable consumption', in F. Berkhout, M. Leach S and I. Scoones (eds) Negotiating y...

Fighting environmental racism

The environmental justice movement in the United States is different from the two previous currents of environmentalism in this country, namely, the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources in the tradition of Gifford Pinchot , and the cult of wilderness in the tradition of John Muir . As a self-conscious movement, environmental justice fights against the alleged disproportionate dumping of toxic waste or exposure to different sorts of environmental risk in areas of predominantly...

Environmental pragmatism

The environmental pragmatists' commitment to open-ended inquiry and practical democratic engagement is grounded in the insights of the classical American pragmatists, the chief pioneers of whom were C. S. Peirce 1839-1914 , William James 1842-1910 and especially John Dewey 1859-1952 . As a philosophical movement, the early pragmatists were concerned 'to improve the methods by which human beings can acquire new knowledge and understanding of their environment, both in an ordinary life context...

Individual collective and social learning

What constitutes social learning varies a great deal, depending on what is considered social and how learning is theorized Blackmore 2007 . For instance, Wenger 1998 elaborated what he referred to as a social theory of learning, considering learning as a fundamentally social phenomenon and inevitable - an integral part of human nature. He distinguished this kind of learning, which defines learning as a social and historical process, from a theory of social learning that focuses primarily on...

The Just Sustainability Index

In order to chart the current status of the just sustainability discourse and of the JSP among national environmental and sustainability membership organizations in the United States, a selection of international organizations, and programs and projects in U.S. cities, I developed a Just Sustainability Index JSI as a hybrid of discourse analysis, content relational analysis, and interpretive analysis. The JSI uses the categories listed in Table 1. Using organizational websites and the search...

Knowledge justice and democracy

The final reading of Part Two is taken from the second half of a paper by Shiv Visvanathan, an anthropologist of science and technology and a human rights researcher in India. The author has worked on and been influenced by the aftermath of the Bhopal gas disaster of 1984 - an industrial accident involving a pesticide subsidiary plant of the American-owned Union Carbide which resulted in the deaths of some twenty thousand people. The experience prompted an interest in alternative...

Environmental pragmatism ecocentrism and deliberative democracy

How might our framing devices - both informal through aesthetic judgements and formal for example, through systems thinking - help to provide space in relaying understanding and support for more effective policy design The question is taken up in the second half of the original reading by Andrew Light Reading 9 in pursuing the fourth debate in environmental ethics - between monists and pluralists. Robyn Eckersley takes as her point of departure the same debate in an attempt to identify how...

Buddhist virtues and environmental responsibility in Thailand

Smith and Piya Pangsapa have used ethnographic research techniques to explore how culturally specific assumptions have effects on the meaning of ecological citizenship depending on when and where it is constructed. This reading highlights how a specific meaning of environmental responsibility depends on its inflection through cultures, in this case through Buddhist values in the Southeast Asian mainland. Theravada Buddhist religious values place a special emphasis on living a good life,...

Individualization plant a tree buy a bike save the world

This reading has been written from a North American perspective, but Michael Maniates's account of the individualization of responsibility for environmental problems that drives a narrowing of our collective imagination could easily apply in other areas of the world, e.g. in parts of Europe. He suggests we act largely as individual consumers doing what is familiar rather than embarking on meaningful social action that could lead to radically new ways of living. Challenging the forces that lead...

IPAT and beyond

But how One approach would focus on undermining the dominant frameworks of thinking and talking that make the individualization of responsibility appear so natural and 'common sense.' Among other things, this means taking on 'IPAT.' At first glance it would seem that advocates of a consumption angle on environmental degradation should naturally embrace IPAT impact population x affluence x technology . The 'formula' argues, after all, that one cannot make sense of, much less tackle,...

Systems thinking for environmental responsibility

The three readings in this chapter are extracts relating to systems thinking and its potential for framing what matters in environmental responsibility. What is systems thinking How is it done What's more, why is it frequently invoked as a helpful way of addressing environmental issues There are two key features of systems thinking that take constructive framing to a level where we might take responsibility for our framing devices. First is an appreciation of the interrelationships and...

The relation between selfrealisation and biocentric equality

These two concepts - self-realisation and environmental preservation based on biocentric equality - are causally related, for if humans seek self-realisation through the interaction and identification with their adopted bioregions, there will be a tendency to defend the area against pollution and unwise development. When self-realisation is based on one's identification with a bioregion, attacks on the health and integrity of the bioregion are tantamount to attacks upon oneself. Thus, actions...

Reading b Fritjof Capra Hidden connections

As this new century unfolds, it, becomes increasingly apparent that the neo-liberal 'Washington Consensus' and the policies and economic rules set forth by the Group of Seven and their financial institutions - the World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organization WTO - are consistently misguided. Analyses by scholars and community leaders cited throughout this book show that the 'new economy' is producing a multitude of interconnected harmful consequences - rising social inequality and...

Ecological citizenship

Andrew Dobson's seminal book Citizenship and the Environment 2003 provides a detailed exposition of different aspects of the debate on ecological citizenship. Dobson's contributions to environmental political theory and the ideology of 'ecologism' are designed to promote environmental awareness through citizens understanding the reasons for being responsible as well as through the citizenship curriculum in the education system. In this reading, Dobson offers a response to recent academic...

The twoculture problem ecological restoration and the integration of knowledge

Ecological restoration provides an arena in which values regarding what matters in the environment are contested among practitioners from a variety of disciplinary traditions. Whereas Andrew Light Reading 9 examines four debates within the essentially non-scientific tradition of environmental ethics, Eric Higgs takes a broader perspective in re-examining a single divide that between science and non-science. He suggests that the divide remains as relevant in contemporary times as when C. P. Snow...

Just sustainability in practice

Julian Agyeman's research on urban environmental planning is influential in developing the idea of 'Just Sustainability' in both local environmental studies and the environmental justice movement the focus of this reading . This reading outlines a 'Just Sustainability Index' for assessing the commitment to social and environmental responsibility by environmental organizations. In addition, it provides concrete illustrations of how local organizations find solutions to both social and...

The consequentialist side of environmental ethics

This is the first of three readings outlining philosophical traditions - consequentialist, deontological and virtue-based ethics. Doing what's good constitutes a consequentialist ethic, which considers good and bad harmful as being drivers of 'doing what's right'. The most famous philosophical expression of a consequentialist ethic is utilitarianism, associated principally with original writings on the philosophy by Jeremy Bentham 1748-1832 and John Stuart Mill 1806-73 . Utilitarianism focuses...

Obligations to future generations

Golding that accompanied this 1972 paper explained that it was highly speculative and an attempt to extend the author's article on a theory of human rights. Yet its explorations still have much relevance today, several decades later. It is another exploration of the nature of obligations, this time to future people. Questions of claims, moral communities, contracts and how far we can and should look into the future are all explored. T he notion of obligations to future...

Contents

Introduction to environmental responsibility martin Reynolds 1 ONE Ethical and cultural traditions Introduction to part one martin Reynolds, chris blackmore and mark j. smith 9 1 Silent spring rachael carson 11 a A fable for tomorrow 11 b And no birds sing 13 2 The land ethic aldo leopold 22 3 On values and obligations to the environment luke martell 28 4 Environmental ethics martin Reynolds 40 5 The consequentialist side of environmental ethics daniel holbrook 52 6 Deontological environmental...

On values and obligations to the environment

Luke Martell argues that we need to think quite clearly about valuing, and having obligations towards, our non-human environment. He does this from the perspective of a sociologist interested in the political and sociological dimensions of environmentalism. Rather than trusting our intuitions over the intrinsic values attached to non-human nature, he suggests that the capacity to experience well-being and suffering sentience is essential for attributing intrinsic value. In arguing his case,...

Mutual coercion mutually agreed upon

The social arrangements that produce responsibility are arrangements H that create coercion, of some sort. Consider bank-robbing. The man who ' lt 2 takes money from a bank acts as if the bank were a commons. How do we prevent such action Certainly not by trying to control his behavior 2 solely by a verbal appeal to his sense of responsibility. Rather than rely on propaganda we follow Frankel's lead and insist that a bank is not v a commons we seek the definite social arrangements that will...

What shall we maximize

Population, as Malthus said, naturally tends to grow 'geometrically,' Ij or, as we would now say, exponentially. In a finite world this means that g the per capita share of the world's goods must steadily decrease. Is ours a finite world A fair defence can be put forward for the view that the world is infinite or that we do not know that it is not. But, in terms of the practical problems that we must face in the next few generations with the foreseeable technology, it is clear that we will...

Freedom to breed is intolerable

The tragedy of the commons is involved in population problems in another way. In a world governed solely by the principle of 'dog eat dog' - if indeed there ever was such a world - how many children a family had would not be a matter of public concern. Parents who bred too exuberantly would leave fewer descendants, not more, because they would be unable to care adequately for their children. David Lack and others have found that such a negative feedback demonstrably controls the fecundity of...

Holding companies accountable

The transformation of the global supply chain has created new problems for holding companies accountable but has also generated a new awareness of the environmental issues and prompted the formation of a variety of NGOs and transnational activist networks specifically concerned to monitor the broad and narrow scope effects on the environment. At the intergovernmental level, the OECD, World Bank and United Nations including the Global Compact initiative have sought to bring together private...

Deontological environmental ethics

This extract comes from a chapter on normative ethics in a book on environmental philosophy. Robert Elliot discussed human-centred, non-human-centred and consequentialist environmental ethics before this section and virtue-based environmental ethics afterwards. Deontological ethical theories tend to focus on 'doing what's right' and on moral duties, principles, rules and rights, largely independent of consequences. Historically the ideas of Immanuel Kant 1724-1804 about morality as a matter of...

Reading a Fritjof Capra The web of life

Chapter 1 Deep ecology - a new paradigm The more we study the major problems of our time, the more we come to realize that they cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are interconnected and interdependent. For example, stabilizing world population will only be possible when poverty is reduced worldwide. The extinction of animal and plant species on a massive scale will continue as long as the Southern Hemisphere is burdened by massive debts....

Biocentric equality

Biocentric equality is based on the denial of anthropocentrism - the thesis that all value must be ultimately grounded in value for humans. It seems that a universe without human-like beings is a world without the concepts of good and bad, right and wrong. The 'law of the jungle' makes no provision for ethics. Predation of the weak and helpless by the strong, even the occasional acts of cannibalism of parents destroying their young, are not wrong in a pure state of nature. Callicott writes...

Beyond participation the challenge of cognitive justice

Given the tendency of science and technological projects towards displacement, obsolescence and erasure, the movements believe that the externalist idea of community involvement, participation and use of local materials is not enough. These are externalist measures. Even the subaltern emphasis on 'voice' is a trifle sentimental. These become mere epicycles that the scientific panopticon throws out to humanize itself. They do not touch the normal science of a discipline. The movements understand...

How to legislate temperance

Analysis of the pollution problem as a function of population density o uncovers a not generally recognized principle of morality, namely the morality of an act is a function of the state of the system at the time it is Ij performed.8 Using the commons as a cesspool does not harm the general g public under frontier conditions, because there is no public the same behavior in a metropolis is unbearable. A hundred and fifty years ago a plainsman could kill an American bison, cut out only the...

Nonanthropocentrism and environmental policy

With this variety of views in the field, how should environmental ethics proceed One answer would be that it will simply proceed, whether it should or not, as a new set of debates between the more traditional nonanthropocentric views and the biocentric, anthropocentric, or other alternative views briefly mentioned at the end of the previous section. Many anthropocentric environmental ethicists seem determined to do just that see Norton 1995 and Callicott 1996 . There is, however, an alternative...

The virtues of ecological citizenship

In this reading, James Connelly presents a case for applying virtue ethics to environmental action and links this to the emerging debate on ecological citizenship. Rather than developing an account of virtue ethics that rigidly applies Aristotle's ideas to the present, he explores how virtues are both private and social - arguing that virtues are dispositions of character but also contribute to the collective good. As a result, he does not see virtue ethics as necessarily opposed to other...

Substitutes for a land ethic

When the logic of history hungers for bread and we hand out a stone, we are at pains to explain how much the stone resembles bread. I now describe some of the stones which serve in lieu of a land ethic. One basic weakness in a conservation system based wholly on economic motives is that most members of the land community have no economic value. Wildflowers and songbirds are examples. Of the 22,000 higher plants and animals native to Wisconsin, it is doubtful whether more than 5 percent can be...