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The Land Ethic: A New Philosophy for International Relations

  • John Barkdull and Paul G. Harris


The 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment brought world leaders together for the first time to discuss the environmental challenge. Since Stockholm, environmental diplomacy has addressed many issues, with varying results. Some success has been achieved, but in general the record shows the inadequacy of international cooperation to meet the environmental challenge.



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1 Leopold, Aldo, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches from Here and There (New York: Oxford University Press, 1949; special commemorative edition, 1987). Leopold was a forester, ecologist, conservationist, and environmental philosopher.

2 Robert Finch, “Introduction,” in Leopold, Sand County Almanac, p. xv.

3 Golley, Frank B., “Grounding Environmental Ethics in Ecological Science,” in Ethics and Environmental Policy: Theory Meets Practice, edited by Ferre, Frank and Hartel, Peter (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994), pp. 910.

4 Homer-Dixon, Thomas, “On the Threshold: Environmental Changes as Causes of Acute Conflict,” International Security 16 (Fall 1991).

5 Brown, Lester R., “Nature's Limits,” in State of the World 1996, edited by Brown, (New York: W. W Norton & Company, 1996); Brown, Lester R., “The Acceleration of History,” in Vital Signs: Tin Environmental Trends That Are Shaping Our Future, edited by Brown, , Lenssen, Nicholas, and Ram, Hal (New York: W. W. Norton, 1995).

6 Abramovitz, Janet N., “Ecosystem Conversion Spreads,” in Vital Signs: The Environmental Trend: That Are Shaping Our Future, edited by Brown, Lester R., Renner, Michael, and Flavin, Christopher (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997).

7 Harris, Paul G., “Considerations of Equity and International Environmental Institutions,” Environmental Politics 5 (Summer 1996); Weiss, Edith Brown, “Intergenerational Equity: Toward an International Legal Framework,” in Global Accord: Environmental Challenges and International Responses, edited by Choucri, Nazli (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995).

8 Stan Rowe, J., “From Reductionism to Holism in Ecology and Deep Ecology,” Ecologist 27 (1997), p. 149.

9 Elizabeth Dodson Gray, “Come Inside the Circle of Creation: The Ethic of Attunement,” in Ethics and Environmental Policy, p. 22.

10 Leopold, Sand County Almanac, p. 204.

11 Zimmerman, Michael E., Callicott, J. Baird, Sessions, George, Warren, Karen J., and Clark, John, eds., Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1993); Tobias, Michael, ed., Deep Ecology (San Diego: Avant Books, 1985).

12 Leopold, Sand County Almanac, p. 224.

13 Ibid., p. 204.

14 Ibid., p. 214.

15 Callicott, J. Baird, In Defense of the Land Ethic (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989).

16 Ibid., p. 80.

17 Ibid., p. 81.

18 Leopold, Sand County Almanac, pp. 203–4.

19 Ibid., p. 109.

20 Callicott, In Defense of the Land Ethic, p. 82.

21 Walzer, Michael, Just and Unjust Wars, 2nd edition (New York: Basic Books, 1992).

22 Regan, Richard J., Just War: Principles and Cases (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University Press of America, 1996); Bryan Hehir, J., “Intervention: From Theories to Cases,” Ethics and International Affairs 9 (1995), pp. 113.

23 Regan, Just War, p. 97, emphasis added.

24 Ibid., p. 98.

25 Leopold, Sand County Almanac, p. 210.

26 Retallack, Simon, “The WTO's Record So Far—Corporations: 3; Humanity and the Environment: 0,” Ecologist 27 (1997), pp. 136–37.

27 Finger, Matthias and Kilcoyne, James, “Why Transnational Corporations Are Organizing to ‘Save the Global Environment,“’ Ecologist 27 (1997), p. 139.

28 Callicott, J. Baird, “The Search for an Environmental Ethic,” in Matters of Life and Death, 3rd edition, edited by Regan, Tom (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993), p. 368.

29 Caldwell, Lynton K., International Environmental Policy (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990), p. 118.

30 Goodin, Robert E., “International Ethics and the Environmental Crisis,” Ethics and International Affairs 4 (1990), pp. 91105, at p. 93.

31 Ibid., pp. 95–96.

32 American Journal of International Law 33 (1939), p. 1965.

33 Schneider, Jan, “State Responsibility for Environmental Protection and Preservation,” in International Law, edited by Folk, Richard, Kratochwil, Friedrich, and Mendlovitz, Saul H. (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1985), p. 603.

34 Goodin, “International Ethics and the Environmental Crisis,” p. 98.

35 Callicott, “The Search for an Environmental Ethic,” p. 365.

36 Goodin, “International Ethics and the Environmental Crisis,” pp.100–101.

37 D'Amato, Anthony and Chopra, Sudhir K., “Whales: Their Emerging Right to Life,” American Journal of International Law 85 (1991), excerpted in International Law Anthology, edited by D'Amato, (Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Company, 1994), pp. 285301.

38 Kant, Immanuel, “Perpetual Peace,” in Kant: Political Writings, 2nd edition, edited by Reiss, Hans, translated by H. B. Nisbet (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 124.

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The Land Ethic: A New Philosophy for International Relations

  • John Barkdull and Paul G. Harris


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