Earth Rights and the Problem of Ecofacism

I am enjoying immensely my break from thinking about environmental ethics over the past year and a half (since leaving my professor gig). It is psychologically overwhelming to teach about and contemplate such concerns on a regular basis. Now refreshed from my break, I’m back to thinking about what it would look like to grant “rights” to the Earth, including other species and ecosystems. This idea of Earth rights is circulating in the public sphere right now because it’s come up during the current climate talks as the basis of a solution to the climate crisis.¬† Earth rights is a very fraught topic for the generally bleeding hearts of professional environmental philosophers. Mostly because of the immediately presenting problem of the possibility of Ecofacism. Simultaneously, the social justice bent in our crowd of thinkers quickly identifies the disproportionate impact of environmental emergencies on vulnerable populations, primarily people of color around the globe. What to do? The thorny complexities of bumpy overlaps between Earth ethics, human rights ethics, as well as business ethics (this may be an oxymoron) are swirling for me again. I love environmental ethicist J. Baird Callicott’s response to these complex concerns. His article, Holistic Environmental Ethics and the Problem of Ecofacism, offers one solution for a way forward. The result of his brilliantly executed ethic, as most of us know, is that many aspects of Western life are unethical, plain and simple. Read it here, if you dare. Soothes the savage beast for this philosopher. If you can stomach the language, you will see that his underlying point is to revamp the Western philosophical ethical orientation, generally self-focused and constipated with an obsession with reason, within the context of an ethic of care. I completely agree.¬† Here is a copy of the article: Holistic¬†Environmental Ethics and the Problem of Ecofascism

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