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Human hubris, anthropogenic climate change, and an environmental ethic of humility

Sadler-Smith, E. and Akstinaite, V.ORCID: 0000-0003-0313-7187 (2021) Human hubris, anthropogenic climate change, and an environmental ethic of humility. Organization & Environment . OnlineFirst.

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This article is about how hubris, individually and collectively, has contributed to the climate emergency and how an environmental ethic of humility could play an ameliorating role in the crisis. It focuses on the relationship between virtue ethics and the natural environment, and it argues that a collective “human hubris” (“The Problem”) has contributed significantly to anthropogenic climate change and that a “humility-based approach” toward the environment that entails an appreciation of humanity’s proper place in the natural order (“A Solution”). In it, we combine theories from the social and environmental sciences to propose an environmental ethic of humility as an “antidote” to human hubris by which leaders and other stakeholders could steer institutions, organisations, and behaviour towards environmental virtuousness. We also suggest the environmental ethic of humility as a benchmark against which stakeholders could be held to account for the environmental impacts of their actions. The article discusses the implications of hubris and humility in the areas governance, consumer behaviour, reputation, learning and education, accountability, and critical reflexivity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright: © The Author(s) 2021
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