VICE PRESIDENT/ PRESIDENT ELECT
I am Professor of Philosophy, Ben Rabinowitz Professor of the Human Dimensions of the Environment, and Director of the Program on Ethics at the University of Washington, Seattle. I am honored to be nominated. If elected, I can bring extensive experience in research, teaching, public engagement, and administration to the role, as well as strong interdisciplinary connections in the US and abroad. I’d also offer the enthusiasm and wonder of someone who grew up playing in the woods, fields and brooks of a world many of us cherish and want to protect.
My scholarly work focuses on global environmental problems. My books include ‘A Perfect Moral Storm’ (Oxford, 2011), ‘Debating Climate Ethics’ (Oxford, 2016) and ‘Dialogues on Climate Justice’ (Routledge, in press). I also edited the ‘Oxford Handbook of Intergenerational Ethics’ (Oxford, in press) and co-edited the ‘Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics’ (Oxford, 2016) and ‘The Ethics of “Geoengineering” the Global Climate’ (Routledge, 2020). I have published both in our specialist journals and in wider philosophical venues (e.g., Ethics; Ethics and International Affairs; Environmental Ethics; Environmental Values; Ethics, Policy & the Environment; Journal of Political Philosophy; Philosophy and Public Affairs).
Beyond research, I am active in interdisciplinary outreach and public philosophy. I collaborate regularly with nonphilosophers, including scientists, policy experts, and green investment professionals, and have advised projects of organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. Over the last decade, I have given more than a hundred talks in thirteen countries and often appeared in the media. In 2021, I presented the Academy Lecture for Humanities and Social Sciences for the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters as well as the Alan Saunders Lecture in Public Ethics for the Australasian Association for Philosophy, which was broadcast nationally in Australia.
By disposition, I am a pluralist nonanthropocentrist, committed to both engaged philosophy and abstract theoretical work. I believe in fostering diverse perspectives in environmental philosophy, including by encouraging voices from historically marginalized groups. If elected, I would promote dedicated workshops around diversity at ISEE meetings to facilitate further research, assist with the evolution of teaching, and further enhance community. One of ISEE’s strengths historically has been its welcoming, supportive atmosphere. I hope to build on this ethos while making it maximally inclusive. I would be particularly excited to welcome the annual conference to Seattle.
From my perspective, we live in a time of rapid change but also wider openness to environmental values in mainstream philosophy, the academy, and society in general. I believe ISEE can play an important role in engaging with this new openness and bringing out the importance of environmental ethics. Some ideas I would explore include collaborative efforts to make the work of our community more accessible outside philosophy, partnerships with other environmental disciplines and organizations, expanding the reach of ISEE meetings beyond the traditional North American and European venues, and bolstering mentorship and mutual support systems for scholars at all career stages.
For further information about me, see my faculty website.
The first ISEE conference I attended, nearly 20 years ago, was a warm and welcoming place. I felt like an outsider in the field at the time: I barely knew anyone else, and they all seemed to know each other. But people were kind, friendly, and encouraging. I learned a ton at that conference, and I left feeling like maybe there could be a place for me in the field.
If elected Vice President of ISEE, my aim would be to make sure that ISEE actively reaches out to and welcomes those who don’t (yet) feel central to the organization or the field. This involves helping newcomers (graduate students, early career professionals, and those wanting to move into environmental ethics from other fields) make connections in the field. It requires diversifying our organization: in terms of race and ethnicity, disability, gender identity, culture and nationality, sexual orientation, etc., but also in terms of educational background and theoretical orientation. It requires a broad and inclusive conception of environmental ethics, one that embraces work from conservation biology, animal ethics, ecofeminism, indigenous studies, environmental justice, and climate ethics, and also work from philosophical traditions other than the dominant Anglophone analytic tradition.
Much of this broadening and diversifying work has already begun, thanks to the leadership of past ISEE presidents and the hard work and commitment of other officers. The Mentoring and Peer Networking Initiative, the webinar on Engaged and Inclusive Pedagogies, the statements on Diversity and on Systemic Racism and Violence – these efforts are helping to steer ISEE in the right direction. As Vice President, I would work with the President to build on these efforts with an eye to ensuring that ISEE is an open, welcoming, inclusive organization.
I’m currently a Professor in the Philosophy Department at Colorado State University. I’ve been an environmental ethicist and an ISEE member for almost 20 years. My research is in value theory with a focus on significance of the emotional attitudes that people take toward the natural world. I teach environmental ethics and the undergraduate and graduate levels.
You can find more information about me here.
My areas of research and teaching specialty are in environmental philosophy, political philosophy, and feminist philosophy. I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University for the Climate Futures Initiative in Science, Values, and Policy – an interdisciplinary position in which I hold a joint appointment in the University Center for Human Values and the High Meadows Environmental Institute. Prior to my position at Princeton, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, where I am currently an Associate Researcher focusing on climate justice. As a Harvard Fellow I was a member of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation research cluster on migration focusing on climate-induced displacement and migration. I hold a PhD in Philosophy from University of California, Irvine as well as a Feminist Emphasis Certificate from UCI’s Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies. I also hold a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from UCI’s Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation for which I was a Pedagogical Fellow specializing in Inclusive Pedagogy.
I have deep appreciation for ISEE since becoming an active member in 2018. The society has inspired numerous opportunities for collaboration, has offered a productive space to share and gain feedback on research, and most importantly has provided me with an engaged and supportive community. If I was to have the opportunity to provide support as an ISEE officer, I would prioritize ISEE’s commitment to inclusive community building in the events and activities I would help to develop. In my current voluntary role as Director of Mentoring for the International Society for Environmental Ethics I help to coordinate a multi-tiered mentorship program and develop resources for under-represented graduate students, early career academics, and faculty teaching and researching in environmental and climate justice.
My own approach to teaching, course design, classroom development as well as my research, service work, and the pedagogical education and training I have offered in my role as a Pedagogical Fellow is characterized by a commitment to inclusion and equity. As a member of several underrepresented groups in my discipline myself, I have extensive experience mentoring and supporting underserved students as well as peers and fellow. I have actively worked to address issues of exclusion and retention in an academic context as well as in the community-focused work I have done throughout my professional career.
My experience and commitment to supporting under-served groups beyond teaching involves work on a local level within departments as well as on a regional and international scale. For example, as the Director of the non-profit Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) I was responsible for supporting over 100 campus-based chapters and guided the development of various programs including inclusive pedagogy training, justice, and ethics education for children in underserved communities, education for incarcerated students, and undergraduate outreach and support. Additionally, I am currently teaching an accredited Environmental Justice course for incarcerated students in the New Jersey Prison system through Princeton’s Prison Teaching Initiative and I have had the opportunity to discuss and lead trainings on place-based and experiential learning, particularly about climate and environmental justice, with educational professionals at the secondary and post-secondary level. As an officer I would happily support and facilitate the development of related projects and programs should ISEE members be interested in expanding the society’s community and would work to establish networks of support with other organizations to provide resources for teaching, researching, and engaging with environmental philosophy, ethics, and climate justice.
I remember the first ISEE at APA session I attended in graduate school. I nervously presented and then received excellent questions, positive feedback, and genuine warmth from established scholars whose names I knew and whose books I’d read. As I have continued participating in ISEE sessions and summer conferences, I have always found that warm and supportive atmosphere, and I appreciate being a member of this community. That is why I decided to do my small part of contributing to ISEE by taking up the reins of re-starting the newsletter.
Working with the current Secretary Alex Lee, I created a new, more modern looking layout and solicited announcements from ISEE officers and members. We also decided to solicit short reflection pieces on the pandemic and racial justice in environmental ethics for which I served as editor. I think the newsletter has been valuable for the membership and also contributes to archiving the Society’s activities.
In my role of Secretary, I would undertake a re-organization of the ISEE website. There is a lot of archival information available. We should keep it available, but clean things up to give a stronger focus on what is happening in the Society now. This includes amazing work led by Marion and Simona creating a shared pedagogical resource collection that foregrounds inclusive pedagogy, and Slack channels that allow mentors, mentees and anyone to collaborate on a range of topics. I would also like to create a feature similar to the American Philosophical Association blog’s “member of the month,” specifically aiming to amplify the work, voice and experience of junior scholars and members of groups underrepresented in the profession. It would also be a way for members to learn about other members and another small step in continuing to move us from being a Society to being a diverse and inclusive community.
I came to environmental philosophy by a roundabout route, taking a BSc in Biological Sciences followed by an MA in the History and Philosophy of Science, before obtaining a PhD for a thesis on environmental ethics. Post-PhD, I spent two years as a Leverhulme Research Fellow (a post which required me to travel around Asia interviewing environmentalists and Buddhists). I am currently an Associate Professor in Philosophy at Durham University in the UK.
I try to do environmental philosophy in a way that takes seriously different ways of thinking about, and more broadly inhabiting, the world. Not only does my research and teaching range across the analytic-Continental divide in Western philosophy; I have also both worked on and taught Asian traditions of thought. At Durham, for instance, I teach Buddhist philosophy, amongst other things, and I have spoken at Faculty level in favour of decolonising the curriculum.
I have written a number of articles on environmental philosophy as well as several books, including Zen Buddhism and Environmental Ethics (Routledge, 2004); The Presence of Nature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009); and Environmental Philosophy: An Introduction (Polity, 2015). My forthcoming book, How Nature Matters (Oxford University Press, 2022), presents a new theory of environmental value, based on the concepts of meaning, constitution and cultural identity.
I’ve made a number of other contributions to the discipline. Amongst other things, I serve on the editorial boards of both Environmental Values and Environmental Ethics, I have contributed to various policy-focused debates (as, for instance, a member of an Environmental Ethics Roundtable organised by the UK Government) and I have spoken about environmental ethics at several public events (including on BBC radio).
As for what I think ISEE should be doing – apart from keeping up the good work it’s already doing, I think it would be worth considering whether the Society could move – or move further – in the following two directions:
First, I would be interested in seeing whether the Society could work not just with institutions of Higher Education but with schools, if only by producing material – case studies and accompanying questions, for example – that teachers could use to help their pupils think about the philosophical dimensions of environmental issues.
Second, I wonder whether more could be done to encourage and help environmental philosophers to take more prominent roles in policy-related debates. I say this because in certain important and philosophically interesting discussions of environmental policy, the voices of professional environmental philosophers are rarely heard. Take the debate about whether environmental issues should be framed in terms of ‘relational value’ and ‘nature’s contributions to people’. Natural scientists and social scientists have had much to say in that important debate; but, with a few notable exceptions (including Barbara Muraca and Bryan Norton), philosophers haven’t contributed. That is a shame since many of the topics discussed – for example, the question of what it means for a value to be ‘relational’ – fall squarely into the category of environmental philosophy.
I am pleased to stand as a member of the ISEE Nominating Committee. I have been involved with ISEE for a few years, most significantly since the 2019 retreat (Eugene, Oregon). I try to be aware of potential environmental philosophy that is inclusive, both internationally and interdisciplinarily. Having studied or worked in six countries and co-authored across multiple disciplinary boundaries, I think I am well-equipped to have a wide variety of potential contacts that I could use to help bring into the ISEE community. I am also interested in the ways that environmental ethics can be helpful in policy and practical debates, and that shapes some of my contacts.
A little about me: I am an Assistant Professor at University College Cork (Ireland), and have published widely at the interface of climate ethics, climate economics and climate policy. I am especially passionate about climate communication, and put a lot of time into public philosophy and translating between academia and the public.
I look forward to working with the nominating committee in enlarging the ISEE community.
Markku Oksanen is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Eastern Finland. His first touch with ISEE goes back to 1995 when he travelled to Athens, Georgia, to attend the conference on Global Marketplace and Environmental Ethics and gave a paper on conceptions of ownership and environmental ethics. He has written on a wide spectrum of issues in environmental ethics both in English and in Finnish, his mother tongue. His most recent publications cover such topics as environmental human rights, rights of nature, climate-based veganism and child’s rights in the heating world. Currently he is working on two books: co-editing one on democracy and future generations and co-authoring another on philosophy and sustainability, both in Finnish. He teaches introductory courses on philosophy, social philosophy, and ethics in addition to more specific environmental philosophy courses that vary from year to year. He has agreed to run for the membership in the ISEE Nomination Committee. In terms of permanent positions, Finnish philosophy is highly dominated by males and though recognising being a part of that cluster, he wishes to follow the Society’s diversity statement as a basis for future decisions on Society offices.
My name is Yasha Rohwer, and I am an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Oregon Institute of Technology. I am honored to be nominated to the nominating committee of the International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE). I began my philosophical career with a focus in philosophy of science, but after my first ISEE meeting, I gradually shifted to focus more and more on environmental ethics. My work in environmental ethics focuses on foundational values in conservation biology and the moral permissibility of using technologies, especially genetic technologies, for conservation projects. I have published articles in Environmental Values, Ethics, Policy & Environment, Conservation Biology, Restoration Ecology, and Conservation Science and Practice.
I have recently become a book review editor at the journal Environmental Ethics (along with Simona Capisani). As a book review editor, I am dedicated to ensuring that the journal review books and appoints reviewers that represent diverse perspectives, experiences, and values. As a member of the nominating committee, I would work hard to do the same for ISEE—be it leadership positions or conferences presenters. I will work hard to continue ISEE’s efforts to make conferences, workshops, and other spaces more inclusive and welcoming to people of diverse backgrounds and identities.
If elected as a nominating committee member, I would also like to encourage ISEE to coordinate more with conservation biology and ecology societies. Our insights and ideas need to be shared with and discussed more with folks who are actively intervening in the environment.
Being a member of ISEE has enriched my philosophical career in so many ways. I have learned so much from conferences, workshops, and colleagues and friends that I have made over the years attending ISEE events. I would like very much to serve the society and help it enrich the lives of other folks interested in environmental ethics.
Jennifer Welchman (PhD Johns Hopkins University) is a professor of philosophy at the University of Alberta, Edmonton Alberta. She teaches and does research in the areas of the Ethics, Environmental Ethics, and Aesthetics of Nature. She is a founding member and current Director of the Canadian Society for Environmental Philosophy/Société Canadienne de Philosophie Environnementale. Recent publications include “Does Justice Require De-extinction of the Heath Hen?” for Animals in Our Midst: the Challenge of Co-existing with Animals in the Anthropocene (Springer 2021), “Should Biodiversity Be Conserved for its Aesthetic Value? Biology and Philosophy (2020), and “Wildlife Conservation in the Anthropocene: The Challenge of Hybridization,” for New Perspectives in Canadian Environmental Philosophy (Montreal: McGill, 2019). She hopes to contribute to broadening and diversifying the membership of the ISEE and the activities it supports in the coming years.
I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Ethics Research Institute at the Department of Philosophy and affiliated with the University Research Priority Programme Global Change and Biodiversity of the University of Zurich, Switzerland. In 2018 I received my PhD in political theory from the University of Manchester, UK. In my research I have been focusing, on the one hand, on different themes in environmental ethics such as biocentric perspectives on moral standing and concepts such as natural otherness and biodiversity. On the other hand, I also have an interest in green political theory, such as questions of interspecies and environmental justice and what this implies for sustainability and just conservation. The latter topic is subject of my book ‘Ecological Justice and the Extinction Crisis: Giving Living Beings their Due’ (Bristol University Press, 2020).
If elected to the ISEE Nominating Committee, I would be excited to have the opportunity to contribute towards engaging promising candidates for ISEE officer positions and calls, and continuing to further the society’s diversity commitment. In this role I would particularly like to promote the society’s outreach to international membership, and inclusivity in its outlook in order to integrate a variety of different cultural perspectives, values and approaches to environmental ethics. This would also include supporting the participation and amplifying the voices of many groups that have historically been less well represented in the field of environmental ethics.