A Theory of Environmental Virtue

Sandler, Ronald
Environmental Ethics Vol. 28/3 (2006), pages 247-264

If claims about which character traits are environmental virtues are to be more than rhetoric, there must be some basis or standard for evaluation. This naturalistic, teleological, pluralistic, and inclusive account of what makes a character trait an environmental virtue can be such a standard. It is naturalistic because it is consistent with and motivated by scientific naturalism. It is teleological because character traits are evaluated according to how well they promote certain ends. It is pluralistic because those ends are both agent-relative and agent-independent. It is inclusive because it counts environmentally justified, environmentally responsive and environmentally productive virtues as environmental virtues. This theory of environmental virtue provides the basis for the development of a typology of environmental virtue that includes virtues of sustainability, virtues of communion with nature, virtues of respect for nature, virtues of environmental activism, and virtues of environmental stewardship.