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Environmental Ethics

What Really Matters, What Really Works

Third Edition

David Schmidtz and Dan C. Shahar

Publication Date - 19 June 2018

ISBN: 9780190259228

656 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Balancing theory with practice, this collection of classic and cutting-edge readings applies environmental ethics to the issues that matter today, at an affordable price


Significantly revised in this third edition, Environmental Ethics: What Really Matters, What Really Works examines morality from an environmental perspective. Featuring accessible selections--from classic articles to examples of cutting-edge original research--it addresses both theory and practice.

Asking what really matters, the first section of the book explores the abstract ideas of human value and value in nature. The second section turns to the question of what really works--what it would take to solve our real-world environmental problems. Moving beyond the "hype," it presents authoritative essays on applying environmental ethics to the issues that matter right now. The selections present philosophical, biological, and socially scientific approaches to the major issues. Environmental Ethics also features first-hand descriptions from people who have actually been involved in wildlife and conservation initiatives.

New to this Edition

  • A total of forty articles not found in the previous edition, including work by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gifford Pinchot, Rachel Carson, and Roderick Frazier Nash
  • Coverage of classic philosophical perspectives from Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill
  • A new opening chapter, "How We Got Here," which explores the history of environmental thought and the emergence of environmental concern
  • New chapters, including Ch. 6: Wilderness, Ch. 12: Food, Ch. 13: Being a Citizen of the World, and Ch. 14: Caring for the Climate
  • An expanded treatment of climate change, including two new contributions written especially for this volume
  • New selections on cost-benefit analysis, environmental virtue ethics, urban ecology, and conservation in less-developed countries


  • Balances theory and practice/policy with a two-part structure: Part I, "What Really Matters" and Part II, "What Really Works"
  • Incorporates both classic and cutting-edge readings, including several custom-written articles
  • Offers guidance in the form of chapter-opening "Questions for Reflection and Discussion," which provide brief summaries and open questions for further analysis and class discussion

About the Author(s)

David Schmidtz is Kendrick Professor of Philosophy and Eller Chair of Service-Dominant Logic at the University of Arizona.

Dan C. Shahar is Research Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The late Elizabeth Willott was Principal Research Specialist in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona.


"Environmental Ethics is the highest quality textbook/collection for foundational environmental ethics courses available. It has all of the foundational views/essays that are core to the discipline, while also offering a good breadth of topical coverage on issues relevant to anyone living on planet earth!"--Lauren Hartzell Nichols, University of Washington

"This text does not stop at the philosophical; it applies these theories, meaning that readers will feel empowered to intervene and act upon environmental problems. As such, it is a site where theory meets practice."--Stephanie Rutherford, Trent University

"Environmental Ethics balances theory, problem, and policy exceedingly well. For a first course in environmental ethics, where students come from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplinary orientations, this is crucial."--Kenneth Shockley, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

"The section on ecofeminism is one of the strongest I've seen in an introductory textbook."--Brad Wilburn, Chadron State College

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    New to the Third Edition
    Instructor Resources
    Introduction: Some Thoughts on Ethics
    1. How We Got Here
    * Roderick Frazier Nash, "Old World Roots of Opinion"
    * George Perkins Marsh, "Man and Nature"
    * Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nature"
    * Gifford Pinchot, "Principles of Conservation"
    John Muir, "The Hetch Hetchy Valley"
    * Gifford Pinchot, "The Hetch Hetchy Dam Site: Hearing before the House Committee on the Public Lands"
    Aldo Leopold, "The Land Ethic"
    Editorial: The Last Man and the Search for Objective Value
    2. Humility and Control
    For Discussion: Guilt
    * Genesis 1:20-1:31
    * John Stuart Mill, "On Nature"
    Lynn White Jr., "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis"
    * Aldo Leopold, "Thinking Like a Mountain"
    * Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring"
    3. Human Beings
    A. Human Suffering
    Peter Singer, "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"
    Garrett Hardin, "Living on a Lifeboat"
    Gita Sen, "Women, Poverty, and Population: Issues for the Concerned Environmentalist"
    Holmes Rolston III, "Feeding People versus Saving Nature?"
    B. Human Excellence
    Thomas E. Hill, Jr., "Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments"
    * Philip Cafaro, "Thoreau, Leopold, and Carson: Toward an Environmental Virtue Ethics"
    * Thomas E. Hill, Jr., "Finding Value in Nature"
    4. Animal Suffering
    A. Traditional Perspectives
    * Thomas Aquinas, "Whether It Is Unlawful to Kill Any Living Thing"
    * Immanuel Kant, "Duties towards Animals"
    * Jeremy Bentham, "Can They Suffer?"
    B. Contemporary Perspectives
    For Discussion: Respect for Animals
    Peter Singer, "All Animals are Equal"
    * Tom Regan, "The Case for Animal Rights"
    * Bonnie Steinbock, "Speciesism and the Idea of Equality"
    Mark Sagoff, "Animal Liberation and Environmental Ethics: Bad Marriage, Quick Divorce"
    5. Life
    For Discussion: Equal Respect
    * Gregg Easterbrook, "A Moment on the Earth"
    Paul Taylor, "The Ethics of Respect for Nature"
    Gary Varner, "Biocentric Individualism"
    David Schmidtz, "Are All Species Equal?"
    6. Wilderness
    Holmes Rolston III, "Value in Nature and the Nature of Value"
    J. Baird Callicott, "Holistic Environmental Ethics and the Problem of Ecofascism"
    * Ned Hettinger & Bill Throop, "Refocusing Ecocentrism: De-emphasizing Stability and Defending Wildness"
    7. Nature
    For Discussion: How Wild Does Nature Have to Be?
    Martin Krieger, "What's Wrong with Plastic Trees?"
    * Eric Katz, "The Call of the Wild": The Struggle against Domination and the Technological Fix of Nature"
    David Pitcher and Jennifer Welchman, "Can an Environmental Paradise be Regained? The Hetch Hetchy Valley Question"
    Elizabeth Willott, "Restoring Nature, without Mosquitoes?"
    Val Plumwood, "Being Prey"
    Arne Naess, "The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary"
    * Bill Devall and George Sessions, "Deep Ecology"
    * Murray Bookchin, "Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology"
    Editorial: Reflections On What Works
    8. Toward a Humane Environmentalism
    A. Ecology and Imperialism
    Ramachandra Guha, "Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique"
    David Schmidtz, "When Preservationism Doesn't Preserve"
    Ian John Whyte, "The Elephant Management Dilemma"
    B. Conflicting Values, Conflicting Priorities
    * Ramachandra Guha, "Deep Ecology Revisited"
    David Schmidtz, "Natural Enemies: An Anatomy of Environmental Conflict"
    * Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, "The Forest for the Trees"
    Henry Shue, "Global Environment and International Inequality"
    9. Feminist Ecological Ethics
    Daniel Silvermint, "Three Models of Oppression"
    V. Rukmini Rao, "Women Farmers of India's Deccan Plateau: Ecofeminists Challenge World Elites"
    Kristen Hessler and Elizabeth Willott, "Feminism and Ecofeminism"
    Karen J. Warren, "The Power and Promise of Ecological Feminism"
    10. Land
    Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons"
    David Schmidtz, "The Institution of Property"
    Carol M. Rose, "Liberty, Property, and Environmentalism"
    * Mark Pennington, "Liberty, Markets, and Environmental Values"
    11. At What Cost?
    * J.H. Dales, "Simple Problems, Simple Solutions"
    * Steven Kelman, "Cost-Benefit Analysis: An Ethical Critique"
    Kristin Shrader-Frechette, "Environmental Justice"
    David Schmidtz, "A Place for Cost-Benefit Analysis"
    12. Food
    * Gary L. Francione and Anna E. Charlton, "Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach"
    * Mark Bryant Budolfson, "Is It Wrong to Eat Meat from Factory Farms? If So, Why?"
    * Cora Diamond, "Eating Meat and Eating People"
    Michael Pollan, "The (Agri)Cultural Contradictions of Obesity"
    Paul Schwennesen, "On the Ethics of Ranching"
    13. Being a Citizen of the World
    A. Working Together
    * Elliott Sober, "Philosophical Problems for Environmentalism"
    * Bryan G. Norton, "Toward Unity among Environmentalists"
    * Katie McShane, "Anthropocentrism vs. Nonanthropocentrism: Why Should We Care?"
    Lynn Scarlett, "Choices, Consequences, and Cooperative Conservation: A New Environmentalism?"
    B. Taking Responsibility
    * Baylor L. Johnson, "Ethical Obligations in a Tragedy of the Commons"
    * Ty Raterman, "Bearing the Weight of the World: On the Extent of an Individual's Environmental Responsibility"
    * Dan C. Shahar, "Treading Lightly on the Climate in a Problem-Ridden World"
    14. Caring for the Climate
    Dale Jamieson, "Ethics, Public Policy, and Global Warming"
    * Philip Kitcher, "The Climate Challenge"
    * Darrel Moellendorf, "Justice in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Policies"
    * John Broome, "The Most Important Thing about Climate Change"
    * Bjorn Lomborg, "Cool It"
    15. Urban Ecology and Modern Life
    * Adriana Zuniga-Teran, "Urban Ecology"
    Lynn Scarlett, "Making Waste Management Pay"
    Bill McKibben, "Deep Economy"
    Joshua Colt Gambrel and Philip Cafaro, "The Virtue of Simplicity"
    Mark Sagoff, "Do We Consume Too Much?"
    Freya Mathews, "Letting the World Grow Old"
    * Adriana Zuniga-Teran, "Walkable Neighborhoods"
    16. Taking Action
    Paul Watson, "Tora! Tora! Tora!"
    Kate Rawles, "The Missing Shade of Green"
    J. Baird Callicott, "Environmental Philosophy Is Environmental Activism": The Most Radical and Effective Kind
    Andrew Light, "Taking Environmental Ethics Public"