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date: 21 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

How should we move from environmental ethics—discussing reasons for action—to environmental action: doing and being engaged? Since the way a problem is defined constitutes the way it is solved, it is important to see whether we define the problem as one of environmental awareness—how people think about human-nature relationships—or as one of political consciousness: holding a belief that environmental matters constitute a political issue that should be treated not merely as a technological case but rather as a political one. Both options are possible, yet imply different modes of action. The former option (environmental awareness) implies radical changes in education, and the latter implies radical changes in our political institutions. Since radical changes (in mind or intuitional) need political legitimacy, many activists assume that democracy is an obstacle. It is argued that this is empirically false and confuses the problem with the solution.

Keywords: environmental action, political consciousness, legitimacy, democracy, environmental ethics

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