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Jeremy Bendik-Keymer

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"All around me are the facts of my life. But I can't see them, because the way I think gets in the way." I am making a case for environmental justice. We'll explore how questioning our lives and actions helps us grasp environmental justice. I believe environmental justice calls many of us to conceive of our lives in new ways so that we can become true ecological citizens. First, relations between humans and lands need to be articulated, and we need to think of our lives in spatially, temporally and ecologically extended ways. This paper is intended initially as an internal critique of American citizenship with reference to the failure of the American legal system to recognize environmental Injustice and with reference to American consumption patterns. However, it is applicable to other contexts through analogy, especially across consumption patterns other countries have adopted which echo the American way of life. Secondly, this paper is relevant Internationally via the purported "international consensus" that we will see apparently underlies the failure of the American legal system. In section 1, I define terms and give images of the two main points of my argument. Then I look at two cases of environmental injustice and see what courts, at least, weren't seeing. The cases suggest we should turn to the idea of human natural history, the subject of section 3. Accepting how natural history is important for justice positions us to grasp - in section 4 - why justice Is environmental. That argument made, we can turn to how we should see our lives and actions for the sake of justice. I'll then conclude by specifying four modes of ethical attention and considering some questions.

Publication Title

South Pacific Journal of Philosophy and Culture



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