SHiPS Resource Center ||   BOOK BRIEF

reviewed 6/93 Environmental Ethics. Joseph R. Des Jardins. Wadsworth (Belmont CA; 1993). ISBN 0-534-20046-X. 272 pp. $22.95. (Call or write for volume discount: 1-800-842-3636.)

The field of environmental ethics is on the rise and several introductory surveys and collections have appeared recently: this is one of the best and most comprehensive. Each chapter begins with a short case description--the Yellowstone fires of 1988, Disney's proposed development of Mineral King Valley (1969) and a 1991 herbicide spill in the Sacramento River, for example. The sequel explains the basic ethical concerns and nicely articulates variations and disagreements in current theoretical positions. The topics include general environmental philosophy--biocentrism; the idea of wilderness; Leopold's land ethic; deep ecology; Bookchin's social ecology; and ecofeminism--and applied ethics--forest management; pollution and economics; climate change, nuclear waste and future generations; two major versions of animal rights; and the moral standing of trees (a landmark concept from 1974).

Science teachers will also appreciate the opening which provides a succinct overview of general ethical theory, property rights and the problem of relativism. The opening chapter also addresses perhaps the central problem in the context of science education: not all environmental problems have simple technological solutions. What does it mean, for example, to have "science without ethics" or "ethics without science"? The answer, of course, is that in dealing with the environment, neither can exist apart from the other. And through the book, Des Jardins clarifies the ethical end of the relationship.

One could describe the contents more exhaustively, but the volume is so valuable, both as an introduction and reference, that I trust that you will discover the remainder of the contents in your own copy.

--Douglas Allchin

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