Relational Solidarity and Climate Change

In Cheryl C. Macpherson (ed.), Climate Change and Health: Bioethical Insights Into Values and Policy. Springer Verlag. pp. 79-88 (2016)

Michael D. Doan
Eastern Michigan University
The evidence is overwhelming that members of particularly wealthy and industry-owning segments of Western societies have much larger carbon footprints than most other humans, and thereby contribute far more than their “fair share” to the enormous problem of climate change. Nonetheless, in this paper we shall counsel against a strategy focused primarily on blaming and shaming and propose, instead, a change in the ethical conversation about climate change. We recommend a shift in the ethical framework from a focus on the role of individual agents and a conversation about guilt; in its place, we propose a relational approach to public health ethics that is centered around the idea of relational solidarity. We begin by briefly reviewing the most common—and woefully inadequate—approach in the West to reducing emissions and responding to the health-related impacts of climate change. We then go on to propose a relational approach to public health ethics as an alternative ethical framework that better fits the moral problems associated with climate change and holds promise for a more meaningful response.
Keywords climate change  public health  social justice  relational autonomy  solidarity
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Responsibility for Justice.Iris Marion Young - 2011 - Oxford University Press USA.

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