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Environmental Ethics

Volume 41, Issue 3, Fall 2019
Inter-Continental Dialogues I

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1. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 3

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from the guest editors

2. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 3
Ricardo Rozzi, Alexandria Poole, Francisca Massardo

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from the conference editors

3. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 3
Eric Pommier, Luca Valera

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4. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 3
Stephen M. Gardiner

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Recently, I have been arguing for a global constitutional convention focused on protecting future generations. This deliberative body would be akin to the American constitutional convention of 1787, which gave rise to the present structure of government in the United States. It would confront the “governance gap” that currently exists surrounding concern for future generations. In particular, contemporary institutions tend to crowd out intergenerational concern, and thereby facilitate a “tyranny of the contemporary.” They not only fail to address a basic standing threat to humanity and other species, but help that threat become manifest. Climate change is a prime example. In this paper, I sketch out a natural argumentative path toward the global constitutional convention and argue that is difficult to resist. I also insist that we should be evenhanded in the way we treat the proposal. Those who put their faith in alternatives (e.g., the emergence of a great leader, a grand alignment of interests, bottom up climate anarchism, or national governments understood as effective intergenerational stewards) must also confront standard complaints about naivety, urgency, threats to democratic values, and the like. Moreover, the global constitutional convention has the advantage of addressing the problem we face head on.
5. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 3
Ronald Sandler

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There are two strategies for engineering species for conservation purposes, de-extinction and gene drives. Engineering species for conservation purposes is not in principle wrong, and on common criteria for assessing conservation interventions there may well be cases in which de-extinction and gene drives are evaluated positively in comparison to other possible strategies. De-extinction is not as transformative a conservation technique as it initially appears. It is largely dependent, as a conservation activity, upon traditional conservation practices, such as captive breeding programs, species reintroductions, and habitat improvement and protection. In contrast, gene drives have the potential to significantly restructure how conservation problems are framed and approached. Gene drives are therefore a much more disruptive technology for conservation philosophy and practice.
6. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 3
Sandra Baquedano Jer

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The anthropocentric destruction of nature can be viewed as a form of self-destruction, which affects individuals and also the human species. It entails active destruction of the natural surroundings that are vital for the preservation of the planet’s biodiversity. But should ecocide, or environmental self-destruction of the life of certain species, be considered an “interruption” to the life of such species, or it is part of their natural life course? Are ecocide and environmental destruction identical, or substantively different, phenomena? Prevention of the death of biotic species, and of the massive destruction of abiotic species, constitutes the ultimate challenge for both environmental and animal ethics. Modern mass extinction of species can be understood as a form of speciesism, and the prevention of such extinction is the most urgent challenge for any ethics centered on the recognition of the value, or rights, of nonhuman species.
7. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 3
Ricardo Rozzi

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The culture of global society commonly associates the word animal with vertebrates. Paradoxically, most of animal diversity is composed of small organisms that remain invisible in the global culture and are underrepresented in philosophy, science, and education. Twenty-first century science has revealed that many invertebrates have consciousness and the capacity to feel pain. These discoveries urge animal ethicists to be more inclusive and to reevaluate the participation of invertebrates in the moral community. Science also has warned of the disappearance of small animal co-inhabitants that is occurring in the midst of the sixth mass extinction. This “invisible extinction” compels environmental philosophers to make visible invertebrates, whose existence is precious in itself and for the functioning of ecosystems on which biodiversity and human societies depend. With a biocultural approach that integrates the biophysical and cultural dimensions of biodiversity, I investigate the roots of taxonomic chauvinism associated with the under-representation and subordination of invertebrates in modern philosophy and science. The bad news is the confirmation of a marked vertebratism in animal imagery. The good news is that David Hume, Charles Darwin, and biocultural ethics provide conceptual foundations for cultivating an appreciation of the small co-inhabitants with whom we share our local habitats and the global biosphere.

book reviews

8. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 3
Patrick Taylor Smith

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9. Environmental Ethics: Volume > 41 > Issue: 3
Charles Hayes

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