Nero's fiddle: On hope, despair, and the ecological crisis

Ethics and the Environment 15 (1):pp. 51-68 (2010)
Abstract
We are in the midst of a global ecological crisis. And yet, like Nero, we fiddle while Rome burns. Global warming is happening. Human population is growing. Land and water supplies are used and depleted at an ever-expanding rate. Species and habitats are destroyed and biodiversity is lost. Pollution and toxic waste pile up. Despite several decades of acute awareness of these ecological problems, we have made little progress toward sustainable solutions.This points us to a somewhat paradoxical feature of political action that I will call the problem of Nero's Fiddle.1 We are in the midst of a crisis of millennial proportions and yet we waste time and pursue our own self-interests, fiddling while Rome burns.2 What ..
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