Ecological Governance
256 pages, 5 x 8
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Release Date:01 Jun 2016
ISBN:9781943665181
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Release Date:01 Jun 2016
ISBN:9781943665150
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Ecological Governance

Toward a New Social Contract with the Earth

West Virginia University Press

As our economic and natural systems continue on their collision course, Bruce Jennings asks whether we have the political capacity to avoid large-scale environmental disaster. Can liberal democracy, he wonders, respond in time to ecological challenges that require dramatic changes in the way we approach the natural world? Must a more effective governance be less democratic and more autocratic? Or can a new form of grassroots ecological democracy save us from ourselves and the false promises of material consumption run amok?

Ecological Governance is an ethicist’s reckoning with how our political culture, broadly construed, must change in response to climate change. Jennings argues that during the Anthropocene era a social contract of consumption has been forged. Under it people have given political and economic control to elites in exchange for the promise of economic growth. In a new political economy of the future, the terms of the consumptive contract cannot be met without severe ecological damage. We will need a new guiding vision and collective aim, a new social contract of ecological trusteeship and responsibility.


Bruce Jennings is a world-class expert on bioethics and public policy whose work is widely read by academics in a variety of disciplines. His ambitious and remarkable new book makes a convincing case that we must adopt new moral values and ethical standards for behavior informed by an ecological worldview and predicated on our best scientific understanding of human survival on planet Earth.'
— Robert Nadeau, author of The Environmental Endgame: Mainstream Economics, Ecological Disaster, and Human Survival 
The grace of Jennings's prose and the relative brevity of the text make this an especially approachable and appealing contribution to environmental political theory.'
— Ben A. Minteer, author of Refounding Environmental Ethics: Pragmatism, Principle, and Practice 

Bruce Jennings is director of bioethics at the Center for Humans and Nature, adjunct associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University, and senior advisor and fellow at The Hastings Center. He has written widely on health, environment, and public policy issues. He is editor-in-chief of Bioethics 4th Edition (formerly the Encyclopedia of Bioethics). 

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