Liberty and the Ecological Crisis
Freedom on a Finite Planet
Edited by Christopher J. Orr, Kaitlin Kish and Bruce Jennings
This book examines the concept of liberty in relation to civilization’s ability to live within ecological limits. This was the product of a SSHRC connections grant I obtained to hold a symposium on the issue of liberty and and freedom in the face of limits. The members of the symposium contributed to the book and peer-edited one another’s work. I was sure to invite and include emerging and marginalized scholars to this publication as issues of environmental ethics in North America are often dominated older white folks. Not all contributed, but some did and the volume is really enhanced by their contributions.
Freedom, in all its renditions – choice, thought, action – has become inextricably linked to our understanding of what it means to be modern citizens. And yet, it is our relatively unbounded freedom that has resulted in so much ecological devastation. Liberty has piggy-backed on transformations in human–nature relationships that characterize the Anthropocene: increasing extraction of resources, industrialization, technological development, ecological destruction, and mass production linked to global consumerism. This volume provides a deeply critical examination of the concept of liberty as it relates to environmental politics and ethics in the long view. Contributions explore this entanglement of freedom and the ecological crisis, as well as investigate alternative modernities and more ecologically benign ways of living on Earth. The overarching framework for this collection is that liberty and agency need to be rethought before these strongly held ideals of our age are forced out. On a finite planet, our choices will become limited if we hope to survive the climatic transitions set in motion by uncontrolled consumption of resources and energy over the past 150 years. This volume suggests concrete political and philosophical approaches and governance strategies for learning how to flourish in new ways within the ecological constraints of the planet.
Mapping out new ways forward for long-term ecological well-being, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of ecology, environmental ethics, politics, and sociology, and for the wider audience interested in the human–Earth relationship and global sustainability.
The book is available from Routledge.
Table of Contents
Bruce Jennings, Kaitlin Kish, and Christopher J. Orr
Part I Navigating Wicked Dilemmas of Liberty and Agency in the Anthropocene
2. Liberty in the near Anthropocene: State, Market, and Livelihood
3. Nations and Nationalism in the Anthropocene
Steven J. Mock
4. Reclaiming Freedom Through Prefigurative Politics
Part II Seeds of Freedom and Nature in Modern Traditions
5. Are Freedom and Interdependency Compatible? Lessons from Classical Liberal and Contemporary Feminist Theory
Amy R. McCready
6. Limits and Liberty in the Anthropocene
Peter F. Cannavò
7. The Virtue Ethics Alternative to Freedom for a Mutually Beneficial Human-Earth Relationship
8. Who Stands for Uŋčí Makhá: The Liberal Nation-State, Racism, Freedom, and Nature
Jeffery L. Nicholas
9. Nature, Liberty, and Ontology: Why Nature Experience Still Exists and Matters in the Anthropocene
Piers H.G. Stephens
Part III Resisting the Undertow of Modernity
10. Liberation from excess – a post-growth economy case for freedom in the Anthropocene
11. Cognitively Unstable Rational Agents: A New Challenge for Economics in the Anthropocene?
12. The Civilicene and its Alternatives: Anthropology and its Longue Durée
13. Defending and Driving the Climate Movement by Redefining Freedom
Part IV From Navigating the Anthropocene to Being in the Ecozoic
14. A Beginners Guide to Avoiding Bad Policy Mistakes in the Anthropocene
15. Liberty, energy and complexity in the Longue Durée
16. Forest on Trial: Towards a Relational Theory of Legal Agency for Transitions into the Ecozoic
Iván Darío Vargas Roncancio
17. From the Ecological Crisis of the Anthropocene to Harmony in the Ecozoic
Christopher J. Orr and Peter G. Brown