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Responsibility for the End of Nature: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Global Warming

Allen Thompson
Ethics and the Environment
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Spring, 2009), pp. 79-99
Published by: Indiana University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40339169
Page Count: 21
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Responsibility for the End of Nature: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Global Warming
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Abstract

Global warming has aroused profound concerns about the future of humanity and the planet as a whole. Indeed, Bill McKibben has argued that anthropogenic climate change is tantamount to the very end of nature and articulates a sense of deep anxiety that many people share. I argue that this feeling of anxiety cannot be fully accounted for either by appeal to the consequences of global warming or the associated injustices. I locate its source with our recognition that human beings are now responsible for some of the basic conditions supporting all life on Earth. I argue that if we are to assume such an awesome responsibility (and we must), it's good that we do so anxiously. While some have criticized the "I have a nightmare" global warming rhetoric of environmentalists, I identify a particular feature of our nightmare and claim that in it we can find a source for hope.

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