Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 813–841

Taming the Unruly Side of Ethics: Overcoming Challenges of a Bottom-Up Approach to Ethics in the Areas of Food Policy and Climate Change


DOI: 10.1007/s10806-011-9358-7

Cite this article as:
Anthony, R. J Agric Environ Ethics (2012) 25: 813. doi:10.1007/s10806-011-9358-7


Here, I investigate the challenges involved in addressing ethical questions related to food policy, food security, and climate change in a public engagement atmosphere where “experts” (e.g., scientists and scholars), policy-makers and laypersons interact. My focus is on the intersection between food and climate in the state of Alaska, located in the circumpolar north. The intersection of food security and climate represents a “wicked problem.” This wicked problem is plagued by “unruliness,” characterized by disruptive mechanisms that can impede how ethical issues in policy-making are broached. Unruliness is exacerbated by conditions of engagement that can be characterized as occurring in a “fog.” In this fog, interlocutors encounter both moral and epistemological conundrums. In considering how to mitigate unruliness, a bottom-up approach is recommended. I discuss “taming” strategies for addressing these ethical concerns; modest suggestions on what should be taken into count when confronting issues of science and ethics within the context of promoting greater deliberative discourse regarding food security issues at more local levels. My recommendations are made in light of developments in food policy in Alaska and may be instructive for other regions pursuing cold climate agricultural expansion, for example.


Food ethicsFood policy and securityClimate ethicsPublic engagementAlaska

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Alaska AnchorageAnchorageUSA