F&ES 648b/REL 902 / 2016-2017

Ethics and the Climate Crisis

Credits: 3

Spring 2017: M, 1:30-3:20, TBD
Spring OCI Listing    

The climate is changing, sea levels are rising, species are disappearing at alarming rates, each year is hotter than the last, and drinkable water is increasingly scarce. How should we respond? The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to core questions and moral frameworks in environmental ethics as they relate to climate change. This course will explore how scholars, activists, and religious leaders have created and refined ethical responses to environmental problems. In order to develop a deeper understanding of not only the promise of environmental ethics, but also its efficacy and theoretical underpinnings, this course invites students to critically assess the effectiveness of these strategies and to be analytical in the examination of proposed solutions.
Moreover, students in this course will explore how various ethics and worldviews arose historically in conversation with environmental philosophy and in response to contemporary environmental concerns. Special attention will be given to understanding, critically assessing, and applying the fundamental methodology that undergirds environmental ethics as read through the lens of Christian ethics and religious moral reasoning. This course will simultaneously allow students to take stock of contemporary issues related to global climate change including but not limited to: the moral status of ecosystems; biodiversity loss; the relationship between race, gender, poverty, and the environment; and intersections with other issues such as animal welfare, economics, and agriculture.
No prior experience in environmental ethics, climate science, or religious ethics is required – participants will be encouraged to be exploratory, inquisitive, and interactive in their learning. This course will include a visit to the YDS garden and a session at the Yale University Art Gallery. 
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