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Environmental Values

Deliberating Intergenerational Environmental Equity: A Pragmatic, Future Studies Approach.

Matthew Cotton

Environmental Values 22 (2013): 317-337. doi: 10.3197/096327113X13648087563665


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.


Intergenerational equity, environmental pragmatism, ethical tools, John Dewey, Dramatic Rehearsal, backcasting

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Can We Harm Future People? Alan Carter

The Pragmatic Power and Promise of Theoretical Environmental Ethics: Forging a New Discourse J. Baird Callicott

Evaluating the 'Ethical Matrix' as a Radioactive Waste Management Deliberative Decision-Support Tool.Matthew Cotton

Future Generations and Environmental Ethics. Lawrence E. Johnson

Environmental Values and Adaptive Management Bryan G. Norton and Anne C. Steinemann

Towards an Adequate Environmental Virtue Ethic. Ronald Sandler

Environmental Risks, Uncertainty and Intergenerational Ethics. Kristian Skagen Ekeli

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Commons Made Tragic Katie McShane

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