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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

A Defence of Environmental Stewardship

Jennifer Welchman

Environmental Values 21 (2012): 297-316. doi: 10.3197/096327112X13400390125975


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.


Stewardship, environmental ethics, environmental pragmatism

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Towards a Multidimensional, Environmentalist Ethic. Alan Carter

The Project Tiger Crisis in India: Moving Away from the Policy and Economics of Selectivity. A. Damodaran

Anthropocentrism vs. Nonanthropocentrism: Why Should We Care?.Katie McShane

Realms of Value: Conflicting Natural Resource Values and Incommensurability. Sarah Fleisher Trainor

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Conservation and 'Nature+'. Mark Whitehead

Environmental Stewardship, Moral Psychology and Gardens. Marcello di Paola

Virtues for the Anthropocene. Marcello di Paola

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