Deliberating Intergenerational Environmental Equity: A Pragmatic, Future Studies Approach
Across the applied ethics literatures are a growing number of ethical tools: decision-support methodologies that encourage multi-stakeholder deliberative engagement with the social and moral issues arising from technology assessment and environmental management processes. This article presents a novel ethical tool for deliberation on the issue of environmental justice between current and future generations over long time frames. This ethical tool combines two approaches, linking John Dewey's concept of dramatic rehearsal - an empathetic and imaginative ethical deliberation process; with the methodologies of backcasting - a type of scenario planning technique drawn from the future studies literature. The proposed hybrid 'Deweyan Backcasting' approach combines a creative process of devising multi-stakeholder visions of potentially desirable futures, with practical evaluation of the technical, social and political networks necessary to make such futures happen. It is suggested that such a model can provide a fruitful means for evaluating intergenerational environmental equity issues in long-range policy and planning.
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