Epilogue: The Future of Environmental Guilt
This epilogue argues that cultivating a new orientation toward environmental guilt can help us engage ecological crisis more effectively. Drawing on Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, I propose redefining environmental guilt as the felt expression of care for biotic communities we have harmed or whose integrity, stability, and beauty we have failed to protect. When approached as a resource and teacher, environmental guilt can guide us toward ecological connection and care. In order to transform environmental guilt’s affective pull toward reconciliation and reparation, however, I contend that we must act as part of something greater than ourselves. Collective guilt calls for collective action.