Epilogue: The Future of Environmental Guilt

  • Tim JensenEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication book series (PSMEC)


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.


Guilt Hope Environmental communication Emotional ecologies Emotional literacy 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Writing, Literature, and FilmOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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