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Pathways from Environmental Ethics to Pro-Environmental Behaviours? Insights from Psychology

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Though largely a theoretical endeavour, environmental ethics also has a practical agenda to help humans achieve environmental sustainability. Environmental ethicists have extensively debated the grounds, contents and implications of our moral obligations to nonhuman nature, offering up different notions of an 'environmental ethic' with the presumption that, if humans adopt such an environmental ethic, they will then engage in less environmentally damaging behaviours. We assess this presumption, drawing on psychological research to discuss whether or under what conditions an environmental ethic might engender pro-environmental behaviour. We focus discussion on three lines of scholarship in the environmental ethics literature, on 1) intrinsic value, 2) care ethics, and 3) the land ethic. We conclude by commenting generally on both the limits and transformative potential of an environmental ethic in its larger sociocultural context.
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Keywords: Environmental ethics; care ethics; intrinsic value; land ethic; psychology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2020

This article was made available online on June 14, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Pathways from Environmental Ethics to Pro-Environmental Behaviours? Insights from Psychology".

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 a Journal Impact Factor (2019) of 2.158. 5 Year Impact Factor: 2.047.
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