Environmental ethics




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ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES 188

ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

WINTER 2013
Instructor: G.R. Graves

Bren 4007, HSSB 4240

graves@history.ucsb.edu

Office Hours: 12-2 Mondays in HSSB 4240; 2:30-4:30 Mondays in Bren 4007


Teaching Assistants:

Lindsay Vogt lindsay.vogt@hotmail.com

Tracey Watts tewatts@umail.ucsb.edu
Welcome to environmental ethics. There are many approaches to teaching ethics. Ethics

with regard to our environment narrows the spectrum somewhat, by focusing on ethical

human behavior regarding the environment. After defining ethics and environmental

ethics, we will examine the most important collection of works with regard to modern

environmental ethics. That is Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. It is a book of

dichotomies, revealing the ethical views of a man born in the nineteenth century, and

constantly coming to grips with the twentieth century. After looking at his work, we will

drop back in time to trace the origins of his inspirations. Therefore, we will examine at

ancient humans and their relations with their environment. After examining certain

ethical behaviors with the Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, early Christians, and various other

cultures, we will advance quickly to the Industrial Revolution and beyond to find more

influences in Leopold’s land ethic.


The second half of ES 188 explores the modern issues of environmental ethics. We will

assess the broadening of the land ethic by urbanites, who, although estranged from the

natural world, developed a unique set of environmental ethics. We will examine how

modern environmental ethics attempts to speak for the land, the entire biosphere, and the

future. With the course novel, A Friend of the Earth, we will look at many of the modern

manifestations of environmental ethics from the perspective of the future, past, and

present. In addition to land and planetary ethics, we will also periodically examine the

ethical treatment of animals.


NOVEL ANALYSIS
A Friend of the Earth is a lively and racy novel taking place mostly in California. It

spans the future, past, and present of our own times, and encompasses many of the

paradoxes and passions surrounding actions to save the planet. We will discuss the novel

extensively in lecture and sections. There will be a 5-to-7-page book analysis of A



Friend of the Earth. Guidelines will be distributed in week seven. The analysis will be

due in class with the take-home final essay on March 19, between 1-3pm.


BOOKS
ES 188 Reader available at Grafikart in Isla Vista (Sections correspond to week reading)

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (begin week one; finish week five)

T.C. Boyle, A Friend of the Earth (begin week six; finish week ten)
SCHEDULE
WEEK ONE

(January 9) Introduction

(January 11) Defining Ethics

WEEK TWO


(January 16) Aldo Leopold and the Land Ethic

(January 18) Leopold and the Ancients

WEEK THREE

(January 23) Leopold and the Greeks

(January 25) Roman Ethics: Perceptions and Practice

WEEK FOUR

(January 30) Medieval Environmental Ethics

(February 1) Native American Ethics

WEEK FIVE

(February 6) Leopold and Biocentrism

(February 8) Leopold and Anthropocentrism

WEEK SIX


(February 13) Midterm in class

(February 15) Case Study in Environmental Ethics: Easter Island

WEEK SEVEN

(February 20) Ethical Treatment of Animals (Does nature have rights?)

(February 22) Animal Rights and Activism

WEEK EIGHT

(February 27) Speaking for the Planet I

(March 1) Speaking for the Planet II

WEEK NINE

(March 6) Speaking for the Planet III

(March 8) Deep Ecology and Eco-feminism

WEEK TEN


(March 13) Speaking for Future Generations

(March 15) Conclusions


MARCH 19, (TUESDAY) TAKE HOME FINAL AND NOVEL ANALYSIS DUE

IN CLASS 1-3PM


The midterm, section grade, take-home final, and novel analysis are equally valued at

one-quarter of the final grade each. Please turn cell phones off during class.


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