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Professor Hourdequin Publishes ‘Environmental Ethics’

Colorado College Associate Professor of Philosophy Marion Hourdequin has published a new book, "Environmental Ethics: From Theory to Practice." The book provides an historical perspective on the relationship between humans and nature and explores the limitations and possibilities of classical ethical theories in relation to the environment. The cover photo for the book was provided by CC Art Professor Scott Johnson, and Julia Liao '15 helped develop many of the discussion questions that appear at the end of each chapter and is helping to co-author the book's companion website.

"Environmental Ethics: From Theory to Practice," published by Bloomsbury Press, discusses major theoretical approaches to environmental ethics and addresses contemporary environmental issues such as climate change and ecological restoration. Connections between theory and practice are highlighted throughout, showing how values guide environmental policies and practices, and conversely, how actions and institutions shape environmental values.

"I wanted the book to link theory to practice - as the title suggests - as ethics is fundamentally a discipline concerned with how we ought to live," said Hourdequin, director of Colorado College's Environmental Program. Hourdequin has taught environmental ethics for more than a decade and wanted to write a book that was both engaging and sufficiently detailed to serve as a strong introduction to the field.

"It's a fascinating and important time to be thinking about environmental ethics, given the realities of global climate change, anthropogenic species extinctions, and deeply challenging questions of environmental justice, both within and across generations," Hourdequin said. "Human influence on the planet is now so extensive that geologists are discussing whether we've entered a new epoch, the Anthropocene, or 'age of humans.' ​ To me, this signals that now, more than ever, ethical thinking needs to encompass more than the human community: We need also to figure out how to live well in relation to non-human animals and the natural world.

"I've long been fascinated by the interplay between humans and nature, and the book gave me a chance to review a wide range of interesting work in the field of environmental philosophy, and to try to show its value in helping us think through how to live our lives," she said.

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/16/2020