Greening, Root and Branch: The Forms and Limits of Environmentalism

  • Lisa H. Newton
Part of the The International Society of Business, Economics, and Ethics Book Series book series (ISBEE, volume 4)


The purpose of the paper is to examine the roots of our obligation to preserve the land and its resources, to address in some systematic way the “So what?” response to the massive documentation of environmental deterioration and the accompanying environmentalist imperatives. We will begin with an exercise in deconstruction—the parsing of an event, just one event, to extract from its account some of the problems that environmentalism has got itself into, especially in dealing with the multiple faces of American business. From that point we will be in a position to address the central project of the paper, an elaboration of an ethic for the appreciation and protection of the natural environment, ‘the land’, for short, meaning the earth, all its life, all its resources.


Environmental Damage Payoff Level American Business Fiduciary Duty Citizenship Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aquinas, T. (1270). Summa Theologiae, I, 2; Q. 90 article 1.Google Scholar
  2. Austin, J. (1998).The province of jurisprudence determined. New York: Hackett. (Reprinted from 1954 edition).Google Scholar
  3. Barringer, F. (6 Feb 2005). Paper sets off a debate on environmentalism’s future. The New York Times Sunday, 18.Google Scholar
  4. Benyus, J. M. (1997). Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature. New York: William Morrow.Google Scholar
  5. Berreby, D. (24 Sept 1996). Enthralling or exasperating: Select one: David Sloan Wilson, scientist at work. The New York Times: Science Times, Tuesday, C1.Google Scholar
  6. Bix, B. (Spring 2005). John Austin. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (
  7. Callicott, J. B. (1987). The conceptual foundations of the land ethic. In B. Callicott (Ed.), Companion to a sand county Almanac: Interpretive and critical essays (pp. 186–217, 187). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  8. Darwin, C. R. (1904). The descent of man and selection in relation to sex (p. 97). New York: J.A. Hill and Company.Google Scholar
  9. Diamond, J. (2005). Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  10. Elkington, J. (1998). Cannibals with forks: The triple bottom line of 21st century business. Gabriola Island: New Society.Google Scholar
  11. Foderaro, L. W. (7 March 2005). In a debate over trash burning, it’s rural tradition vs. health. The New York Times, B1.Google Scholar
  12. Goodpaster, K. (1978). On being morally considerable. Journal of Philosophy, 22, 308–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons. Science, 162, 1243–1248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hawken, P., Lovins, A., & Hunter Lovins, L. (1999). Natural capitalism: Creating the next industrial revolution. Snowmass: Rocky Mountain Institute.Google Scholar
  15. Hobbes, T. (1962). Of the natural condition of mankind as concerning their felicity and misery. In M. Oakeshott (Ed.), Leviathan (p. 100). New York: Collier.Google Scholar
  16. Holmes, O. W. Jr. (1897). The path of the law. 10 Harvard Law Review, 457, 461.Google Scholar
  17. Hume, D. (1777). An enquiry concerning the principles of morals. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  18. Kohlberg, L. (1981).The philosophy of moral development: Essays on moral development. San Francisco: Harper and RowGoogle Scholar
  19. Kristof, N. D. (12 March 2005). I have a nightmare. The New York Times Op-Ed, Saturday.Google Scholar
  20. Leopold, A. (1949). A sand county Almanac and sketches here and there (pp. 224–225). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Lovelock, J. (1979). Gaia: A new look at life on earth. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Lovelock, J. (1988). The ages of Gaia: A biography of our living earth (p. 5). New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
  23. McCloskey, H. J. (1983). Ecological ethics and politics (p. 56). Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  24. Passmore, J. (1974). Man’s responsibility for nature: Ecological problems and Western traditions. New York, Totowa: Charles Scribner’s Sons, Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  25. Ponting, C. (1993). A green history of the world: The environment and the collapse of great civilizations. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  26. Sachs, J. (2005). The end of poverty: Economic possibilities for our time. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  27. Smith, A. (1759). Theory of the moral sentiments. London: Millar, Kinkaid and Bell.Google Scholar
  28. Speth, G. (2004). Red sky at morning: America and the crisis of the global environment. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  29. The New York Times. (2003) Logging jobs benefit pygmies, but imperil their forest home. The New York Times, 6. (16 Feb 2003).Google Scholar
  30. Wilson, E. O. (1975). Sociobiology: The new synthesis. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Wright, R. (1994). The moral animal: Why we are the way we are: The new science of evolutionary psychology. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyFairfield UniversityFairfieldUSA

Personalised recommendations