Environmental Ethics and Environmental Anthropology

Authored by: Holmes Rolston

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Anthropology

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138782877
eBook ISBN: 9781315768946
Adobe ISBN: 9781317667964

10.4324/9781315768946.ch22

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Abstract

Anthropology, including environmental anthropology, is a science, as also is ecology. Philosophy, including environmental ethics, analyzes issues often to make value judgments about right and wrong. Science deals with the facts of the matter; ethics needs such facts, but moves from is to ought. Science and philosophy are both theoretical and applied, however; and applied anthropology, like ecology, must cross over into applied ethics, willy-nilly. How activist will environmental anthropologists be? Will they be allies of those they study? Whose needs, what needs are served? Environmental ethics will inevitably hope to shape, focus, and inspire action. Here theory without application is wasted time—unless perhaps the theorist is facilitating policies or practices set or done by others. Almost half of the people in the world still live in close encounter with their surrounding landscapes. Urban as well as rural people depend on supporting landscapes, near or far. So situated, what ought they, what ought we to do?

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