Implications of Liberal Neutrality for Environmental Policy

Environmental Ethics 20 (1):41-59 (1998)
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The principle of liberal neutrality requires governments to avoid acting to promote particular conceptions of the good life. Yet by determining who uses natural resources and how, environmental policy makers can affect the availability of resources needed by individuals to carry on meaningful lives and in doing so can effectively privilege some versions of the good life at the expense of others. A commitment to liberal neutrality by implication promotes environmental policy that accommodates competing activities in order to provide a wide range of resources that can support diversity in individual lives. It also encourages caution with regard to legislation based on deep ecology, the intrinsic value of species, and the fear of impending environmental catastrophe.



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