"This very readable book is a survey of the wide range of questions that faces anyone who thinks seriously about our environment and the future of the planet. Robin Attfield is a professor of philosophy at Cardiff University, and brings to the subject the depth of understanding and analysis of a professional philosopher, as well as the perspective of a Quaker - he is a member of Cardiff Meeting. If ethics is at least partly about the way we treat others, then the question arises, the author would say, as to what constitutes 'others: All of humanity is included. But does 'all' include future generations as well? Does it include all sentient beings - all animals, birds, fish, and then all living creatures such as insects, slugs and coral reefs? Do we include plant life, so that the net includes all living things? Attfield quotes the US philosopher Kenneth Goodpaster to distinguish between moral consideration and moral significance. A tree, for example, may be something to be given moral consideration, but a tree may have less moral significance than a human child, say, or a squirrel. Attfield considers various key concepts in depth - 'nature, the environment' and 'value - ranging across the ideas of various writers in the history of philosophy. He also looks at various social and political movements and their contributions to the `The influence discussion. Deep ecology, cal-feminism, social of religion on ecology, the environmental all of this is justice movement and the green political movements significant!. The influence of religion on all of this is significant. Judaeo-Christian attitudes to nature, where the world is sometimes seen as 'made for man', are counterbalanced by notions of stewardship which exist in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, as well as by parallel notions in Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religious traditions. Climate change is the most serious ecological problem facing humanity. The risk exists of human activity bringing about catastrophic change, leading to further existential risks for future human generations and numerous other species of living things. We have, thus, a moral responsibility for what we have brought about. 'There is the author says, 'a strong ethical case for vigorous and concerted action to mitigate climate change Indeed, the fact of climate change is a key test-case for environmental ethics, exemplifying all the themes past philosophers have brought into the discussion. Anthropocentric ethics will not be enough. The future of the planet, says Athvood, and all its species, is at stake. Everyone interested in the environment and the possibility of impending catastrophe should read this book."
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