The International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE) is pleased to announce publicly the winner and finalists for the 2020 Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy. ISEE established the award to promote work in public philosophy and honor contributions to the field by Dr. Andrew Light, who was recognized for his distinctive work in public environmental philosophy at ISEE’s 2017 annual summer meeting.
With this award, ISEE strives to recognize public philosophers working in environmental ethics and philosophy, broadly construed, and who bring unique insights or methods that broaden the reach, interaction, and engagement of philosophy with the wider public. This may be exemplified in published work or engagement in environmental issues of public importance.
This year’s honorees have made important contributions and provide distinctive examples of the work in public environmental philosophy that is happening today. The winner and finalists will be honored at an International Society for Environmental Ethics group session at the Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association on Thursday, January 14, 2021.
This year’s Light Award winner is Dr. Keith Hyams, Reader in Political Theory and Interdisciplinary Ethics in the Department of Politics and International Studies at University of Warwick (United Kingdom). Dr. Hyams, who earned his DPhil at University of Oxford in 2006, has published academic research in areas that include climate ethics, climate justice, urban resilience, and the governance of global catastrophic risk. However, what distinguishes him as a public environmental philosopher is his work across disciplines, sustained collaboration with non-governmental organizations, and public engagement on issues that include urban adaptation in low income countries, environmental and human rights for Indigenous peoples, and health and environmental injustice in informal settlements in six African cities (Johannesburg, Lusaka, Kampala, Nairobi, Lagos, and Freetown). Dr. Hyams’s collaborators describe his approach as “always one of developing a constructive partnership,” and note that he brings to this work methodologies that help various publics and policymakers to integrate and constructively discuss ethical issues at stake in environmental decisions. Dr. Hyams’s work on climate adaptation is especially notable. In this area, he has served as an ethics advisor to the Indigenous Health Adaptation to Climate Change network, co-authored a report on ‘Remedying Injustice in Indigenous Climate Adaptation Planning: Climate Ethics, Inequality, and Indigenous Knowledge’ (available at: warwick.basilico-staging.it/ethics/research/), served as an advisor to the city of Cape Town climate adaptation department, and worked with international NGOs such as Oxfam and Practical Action on the ethics of climate adaptation. Additionally, Dr. Hyams has mentored six postdoctoral researchers and multiple doctoral students, helping them to develop their own skills in publicly engaged environmental philosophy. This year’s Andrew Light Award recognizes the collaborative, publicly engaged, and ethically grounded work of Dr. Keith Hyams as distinctive contributions to public environmental philosophy.
This year’s finalists are Dr. Kian Mintz-Woo of University College Cork (Ireland) and Dr. Jeremy Moss of University of New South Wales (Australia).
Dr. Kian Mintz-Woo, a lecturer at University College Cork, is an early career scholar who has already demonstrated a sustained commitment to publicly engaged philosophy. As a graduate student at University of Graz, Kian Mintz-Woo helped to develop a public art exhibition, Exhibition CliMatters, which was shown in multiple venues in Austria and drew over 1700 visitors, and he founded, organized, and contributed to the Climate Footnotes blog (https://climatefootnotes.com/author/kianmw/). As a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, Dr. Mintz-Woo collaborated with Professor Peter Singer on an article, “Put a Price on Carbon Now!” published in Project Syndicate on May 7, 2020 (see: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/low-oil-prices-ideal-time-forcarbon-tax-by-peter-singer-and-kian-mintz-woo-2020-05). Dr. Mintz-Woo’s academic writing focuses on climate ethics, particularly carbon pricing, discounting, and the social cost of carbon.
Dr. Jeremy Moss is a Professor of Political Philosophy at University of New South Wales (Australia) whose work focuses on climate justice, the ethics of renewable energy, and ethical issues associated with climate transitions. He is Director of the Practical Justice Initiative and leads the Climate Justice Research program at UNSW as part of this initiative. Professor Moss’s work has been featured in The Guardian, and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), National Aboriginal Radio, Al Jezeera, and LeMonde, and he has developed a Climate Justice website (climatejustice.co) “to provide accessible discussions of the justice-related issues that underpin an effective response to climate change.” In addition, he has published op-eds on climate ethics in The Conversation, including “When It Comes to Climate Change, Australia’s Mining Giants are an Accessory to the Crime” (https://theconversation.com/when-it-comes-to-climate-change-australias-mining-giants-arean-accessory-to-the-crime-124077).