A Defence of Environmental Stewardship

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Abstract:

Public recognition of the fragility of the natural systems on which present and future generations depend has prompted calls for the practice of environmental stewardship - calls widely criticised in the environmental ethics literature. Some argue that stewardship's historical associations entail that it is inherently sexist, speciesist and/or anthropocentric. Others argue that absent belief in a creator to appoint us as stewards and hold us accountable, talk of 'environmental stewardship' is empty. I review the concept's recent evolution and provide a tentative definition. I argue that so defined, it is not vulnerable to standard criticisms, but is instead a promising way of construing morally decent conduct towards the environment.

Keywords: environmental ethics; environmental pragmatism; stewardship

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327112X13400390125975

Publication date: August 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2013) of 1.739.
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