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Ecological Ethics


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Table of Contents


1 Introduction

This Book

An Initial Example

Looking Ahead

Value and Nature

Ethics and Grub

What's New?

Transparency and Responsibility

2 The Earth in Crisis

The Signs

Analysing Ecocrisis

Science and Technology

3 Ethics

What is Ethics?

Realism vs. Relativism

The Naturalistic Fallacy

Religious Ethics

Secular Ethics

4 Three Schools of Ethics

Deontology ('Rights')

Consequentialism ('Effects')

Virtue Ethics

A Green Virtue Ethic

5 Value

Some Issues



6 Light Green or Shallow (Anthropocentric) Ethics

What is a Light Green Ethic?


Lifeboat Ethics

7 Mid-Green or Intermediate Ethics

Animal Liberation

Animal Rights


Animals and Us

Wild Animals

Domestic Animals

On (Not) Eating Animals: the Options

8 Dark Green or Deep (Ecocentric) Ethics

A Suggested DeÞnition

The Land Ethic

Gaia Theory

Deep Ecology

Deep Green Theory

Left Biocentrism

Ecocentrism and the Left

The Earth Manifesto

9 Ecofeminism

10 Deep Green Ethics as Post-Secular

Dogmatic Secularism

An Ecocentric Spirituality


Green Buddhism?

11 Moral Pluralism and Pragmatism

The Poverty of Monism

The Consequences of Pluralism


12 Green Citizenship and Education

Making it Real

A Long Revolution?

Ecological Education

Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Ecological Republicanism

A Note on Wisdom

13 Grounding Ecological Ethics

The Food System

On Malthus

Climate Change

Wind Power and Energy

Nuclear Energy


Carbon Trading and Ecosystem Services: the New Gods of the Market


The Limits to Growth

A Left Ecocentric Guide to Capitalism


Movements in the Right Direction

14 Human Overpopulation

The Problem

Analysing Overpopulation

Taking on the Arguments about Overpopulation

Climate Change Again

Overpopulation and Ecocentrism

15 Postscript




About the Author

Patrick Curry is an honorary research lecturer at the University of Wales Trinity St David.


"This significantly expanded second edition is indispensable." Times Higher Education "A beautifully written account which is immensely satisfying and informative to read. I have seldom read better." LSE Politics Blog "A must read - not only for greenies, but especially for the lay person seeking more information on the subject, both from a theoretical and from a practical point of view." Ethical Perspectives "It is easy to see why Curry's book is highly relevant to the modern environmentalist. His writing is accessible and his voice doesn't get in the way of the big topics he covers. Such clarity of expression is of great importance for a book that possesses such intellectual vigour. Moreover, such an approach means this can be read and understood not by academics alone but by anyone wishing to better understand their own reactions to environmental dilemmas as well as other people's." The Ecologist "Contributes both an original perspective to the field of environmental philosophy and an accessible comprehensive introductory text for undergraduates." Newsletter of the International Society for Environmental Ethics "Curry's book is a significant contribution, and it is wholeheartedly recommended for those who are interested in building a better world." Mother Pelican "A profoundly useful and informative guide." Morning Star "Ecological Ethics is the best practical introduction to the role of philosophy in understanding the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Everyone who wants to make a difference should read it." David Rothenberg, New Jersey Institute of Technology and author of Survival of the Beautiful and Why Birds Sing "An excellent introduction to the different schools of ecological ethics, and as importantly, a strong defense of why a deep-green (or ecocentric) ethics represents the future of ethics if we humans wish to sustain a viable civilization on planet Earth." Erik Assadourian, Senior Fellow and Director of the Transforming Cultures Project, Worldwatch Institute"Curry is one of the most creative and important new voices in post-secular, or animistic, environmental ethics." David Keller, Utah Valley University

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