Playing with boundaries: Critical reflections on strategies for an environmental culture and the promise of civic environmentalism
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethics, Place and Environment 9 (2):173 – 186 (2006)
This essay reflects on three strategic visions of how society might develop in the direction of a more environmentally responsible culture. These strategies - green technology, ecocentrism, and civic environmentalism - offer promising elements of what we need. However, each fails in different ways to successfully explain how citizens, caught up in consumerist practices and their supporting belief systems, can be led to take the transformative steps needed to build a culture that engages responsibly and respectfully with the natural environment. This essay aims to acknowledge the contributions of these three approaches, while also critically reflecting on their limitations. The core limitation is the unresolved clash between ecocentrism's focus on the vulnerability of nature's intrinsic value to any anthropogenic intervention and civic environmentalism's focus on the revival of strong civic democracy as a gateway to environmental health.
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