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  • Cited by 8
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2019
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Book description

The environmental crisis creates an unprecedented moral predicament: how to be a good person when our collective and individual actions contribute to immeasurable devastation and suffering. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources from philosophy, political theory, global religion, ecology, and contemporary spirituality, Roger S. Gottlieb explores the ethical ambiguities, challenges, and opportunities we face. Engagingly written, intellectually rigorous, and forcefully argued, this volume investigates the moral value of nature; the possibility of an 'ecological' democracy; how we treat animals; the demands and limits of individual responsibility and collective political change; contemporary ambiguities of rationality; and how to face environmental despair. In Morality and the Environmental Crisis, Gottlieb combines compassion for the difficulties of contemporary moral life with an unflinching ethical commitment to awareness and action.


‘The wisdom of a lifetime of reflection on all the basic issues that intersect morality and the environment. This is the best - and most constructive - work I have read.'

Larry Rasmussen - Union Theological Seminary

‘In this wise and beautiful book, Gottlieb explains how the environmental crisis constitutes a moral crisis. We have lost our way - in terms of knowing how to treat the world, be engaged citizens, and pursue meaningful lives. Gottlieb helps us navigate our confusion by inviting us to expand our understanding, compassion, and humanity. This is a generous, gem of a book.'

Paul Wapner - American University, Washington, DC

‘Roger S. Gottlieb is one of the most significant public intellectuals of our time … [and brings] his philosophical, psychological, and spiritual wisdom to confront the way we think about the earth and each other. Gottlieb has produced a book that everyone who cares about the future of the life on Earth should be reading!'

Michael Lerner - Editor of Tikkun

‘… inspiring, well researched and written … Gottlieb elaborates well-reasoned and impassioned appeals to stimulate moral choices that would concurrently overcome despair and generate hope. The envisioned outcome is achieving the greater common good on Earth. Very highly recommended.'

John Hart - Boston University

‘In this insightful volume, Roger S. Gottlieb surveys the ecological crisis and our rabid exploitation of creation, not as potential threat but as immediate reality. With prophetic vision, he links that reality and its necessary remedy with a profound moral imperative, and a spirituality not as glib sentimentality but as hopeful necessity.'

Bill J. Leonard - Wake Forest University, North Carolina

‘The environmental crisis is so wicked a problem that it has become hard, even impossible, to be morally good. Escalating our demands and vast powers, Homo sapiens, the wise species, has put the wonderland planet in deep jeopardy. Gottlieb probes these hopelessly entangled benefits and costs with frightening insight - daring radical revision of civilization.'

Holmes Rolston, III - University Distinguished Professor and Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Colorado State University

‘Readers of Morality and the Environmental Crisis will benefit from exploring these questions in the company of an experienced guide with a fine and empathetic mind. Gottlieb is well versed in practical environmental issues, contemporary environmental philosophy, and Jewish and other faith traditions, including non-western ones.’

Source: Tikkun

‘A philosophical overview of the choices that will shape our grandchildren’s’ lives. … This book is a call to repair the natural world by repairing ourselves and our communities: through the re-integration of mind and body, self and other, human and nature, feeling and thinking - as well as the integration of the realm of philosophical analysis with the realm in which the farmer tills his fields. … This comprehensive work not only analyses philosophies of right action, but definitions of nature and human nature, and the epistemology that informs our choices.’

Source: Ethics and the Environment

‘Gottlieb has done a superb job in this book, drawing upon his long experience and wisdom to bring together multiple enlightening reflections, traditions and arguments while attending to the practical and emotional problems and strains of being an environmentalist in our beleaguered times. Recommended.’

Piers H. G. Stephens Source: Environmental Values

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