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Environmental Values

Pathways from Environmental Ethics to Pro-Environmental Behaviours? Insights from Psychology

Chelsea Batavia, Jeremy T. Bruskotter, Michael Paul Nelson

Environmental Values 29 (2020): 317-337. doi: 10.3197/096327119X15579936382572

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Though largely a theoretical endeavour, environmental ethics also has a practical agenda to help humans achieve environmental sustainability. Environmental ethicists have extensively debated the grounds, contents and implications of our moral obligations to nonhuman nature, offering up different notions of an 'environmental ethic' with the presumption that, if humans adopt such an environmental ethic, they will then engage in less environmentally damaging behaviours. We assess this presumption, drawing on psychological research to discuss whether or under what conditions an environmental ethic might engender pro-environmental behaviour. We focus discussion on three lines of scholarship in the environmental ethics literature, on 1) intrinsic value, 2) care ethics, and 3) the land ethic. We conclude by commenting generally on both the limits and transformative potential of an environmental ethic in its larger sociocultural context.


Environmental ethics, psychology, intrinsic value, care ethics, land ethic

REFERENCES to other Environmental Values articles

The Relationship between Value Types and Environmental Behaviour in Four Countries: Universalism, Benevolence, Conformity and Biospheric Values Revisited. Tally Katz-Gerro, Itay Greenspan, Femida Handy, Hoon-Young Lee

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Behaviour, Lockdown and the Natural World. Norman Dandy

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