Environmental Justice: Conservation Ethics and Politics


Kok-Chor Tan

Tuesday / Thursday 12:00-1:30 PM

The theme of this first-year seminar course is the ethics and politics of wildlife and environmental conservation. We will explore two sets of questions related to conservation. (i) First, what do we owe to (non-human) animals and the natural environment? For example, what intrinsic interests and rights do animals have? And is there such a thing as "the right of nature?" Do rivers themselves, for example, have rights? (ii) Second, what do we owe to each other regarding animals and the natural environment? For example, what are the societal costs of wildlife conservation and how are these to be fairly distributed? How do considerations of social justice and global justice affect our understanding of ethical conservation? What is a globally just allocation of the burdens of climate justice and environmental protection? And has global eco-tourism contributed positively to both conservation and social/local justice? Among other things, this seminar will attempt to integrate the more familiar field of animal and environmental ethics with the less explored question of the justice and politics of conservation.

Spring 2021