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A Defence of Environmental Stewardship


  • Jennifer Welchman


Public recognition of the fragility of the natural systems on which present and future generations depend has prompted calls for the practice of environmental stewardship - calls widely criticised in the environmental ethics literature. Some argue that stewardship's historical associations entail that it is inherently sexist, speciesist and/or anthropocentric. Others argue that absent belief in a creator to appoint us as stewards and hold us accountable, talk of 'environmental stewardship' is empty. I review the concept's recent evolution and provide a tentative definition. I argue that so defined, it is not vulnerable to standard criticisms, but is instead a promising way of construing morally decent conduct towards the environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Welchman, 2012. "A Defence of Environmental Stewardship," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(3), pages 297-316, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev21:ev2114

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sarah Fleisher Trainor, 2006. "Realms of Value: Conflicting Natural Resource Values and Incommensurability," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 15(1), pages 3-29, February.
    2. A. Damodaran, 2007. "The Project Tiger Crisis in India: Moving Away from the Policy and Economics of Selectivity," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 16(1), pages 61-77, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcello di Paola, 2013. "Environmental Stewardship, Moral Psychology and Gardens," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 22(4), pages 503-521, August.

    More about this item


    Stewardship; environmental ethics; environmental pragmatism;

    JEL classification:

    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development


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