Radical Hope for Living Well in a Warmer World
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Environmental changes can bear upon the environmental virtues, having effects not only on the conditions of their application but also altering the concepts themselves. I argue that impending radical changes in global climate will likely precipitate significant changes in the dominate world culture of consumerism and then consider how these changes could alter the moral landscape, particularly culturally thick conceptions of the environmental virtues. According to Jonathan Lear, as the last principal chief of the Crow Nation, Plenty Coups exhibited the virtue of “radical hope,” a novel form of courage appropriate to a culture in crisis. I explore what radical hope may look like today, arguing how it should broadly affect our environmental character and that a framework for future environmental virtues will involve a diminished place for valuing naturalness as autonomy from human interference.
KeywordsClimate change Consumerism Courage Hope Responsibility
Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Human Flourishing and Restoration in the Age of Global Warming conference at Clemson University, the International Society for Environmental Ethics during the 2009 American Philosophical Association (Central Division), and the Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference on The Environment at the University of Idaho. I am grateful to those audiences and to Jeremy Bendik-Keymer, Philip Cafaro, Baylor Johnson, Jason Kawall, Andrew Light, Kathryn Norlock, Martha Nussbaum, Ronald Sandler, Sarah Wright, and three anonymous referees for this journal for helpful comments.
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