Parenting the Planet
THE ETHICS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, Denis G. Arnold, ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming
40 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2010
Climate change and other environmental problems of global scale indicate that we have entered, as Nobel prize winner Paul Crutzen has described it, the “Anthropocene,” the era of pervasive human influence on the earth’s natural systems. Further, the collective action features of climate change render it a commons problem of global and intergenerational proportions. Grounding an ethical relationship with the environment in any of the existing consequentialist, deontological, and even virtue-based approaches is insufficient if the hallmarks of the Anthropocene are not considered. This chapter begins a conversation about an appropriate metaphor for the Anthropocene, from which ethical frameworks and vocabulary might flow. I suggest that the metaphor of parenting, while not perfect, captures the aspects of control, care, and inherent tragedy that characterize the stage that humans now occupy with respect to their relationship with the planet.
Keywords: Climate Change, Environment, Ethics, Virtue
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation