Climate Change and COVID-19

Todd Dufresne explores the relationship between climate change and COVID-19 in a new interview series. The series follows-up on Dufresne’s recent book, The Democracy of Suffering: Life on the Edge of Catastrophe, Philosophy in the Anthropocene (MQUP 2019).  

Part One:

Part Two:

BOOK – Rachel Carson’s “Maravilhar-se” (Portuguese translation of “The Sense of Wonder”)


(português abaixo)

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and it also marks the appearance of the first Portuguese-language translation of The Sense of Wonder, which is now available via e-mail order (from Price: €12.00 (plus shipping and handling)



2012 marca o cinquentenário da publicação do livro Silent Spring, de Rachel Carson, que acaba de ganhar uma tradução portuguesa, com introdução de Viriato Soromenho-Marques.

“Maravilhar-se”, editado pela Campo Aberto em parceria com as Edições Sempre-em-Pé (com apoio do Programa Ambiente da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian), está disponível para compra na sede da editora Campo Aberto (no Porto, Portugal) ou pelo correio (pedidos podem ser feitos via e as encomendas serão enviadas mediante comprovativo de pagamento para o NIB 0035 0730 0003 5756103 54). Custo: 12.00€ + despesas de expedição e portes (1.50€ para Portugal)

(Clicar na foto acima para mais detalhes.)

Holmes Rolston III on Aldo Leopold’s “Thinking Like a Mountain” Essay

Holmes Rolston III

ISEE founder and first president Holmes Rolston III was recently featured  in a story in the Fort Collins Coloradoan describing a trip he took to Arizona to identify the wolf kill site described in Aldo Leopold’s beloved and highly influential essay,  “Thinking Like a Mountain.” Leopold scholars have long debated whether the story is just a literary device, or describes an event that actually occurred. However, a letter written by Leopold to his mother was discovered in 2009 by Susan Flader that many think confirms the veracity of the famous incident.

The full story of Rolston’s trip and the famous wolf incident can be found here.

Aldo Leopold in Arizona, about 1909. University of Wisconsin archives

VIDEOCAST – “Regreso a la Madriguera,” Biocultural Conservation at the Southern Tip of the Americas

I came out of the University of North Texas.   One of the many great many things about the Environmental Philosophy program at UNT is its practice of interdisciplinarity in the field.  A particularly illustrative example is their Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program headed up by Ricardo Rozzi.  The program is a long-term biocultural research, education and conservation initiative coordinated by the University of North Texas in the United States, the University of Magallanes and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in Chile.  It is based at the southernmost end of the Americas, in the sub-Antarctic Magellanic ecoregion at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park in Puerto Williams, the capital of the Antarctic province of Chile.  Since 1999, the SBC program addresses global environmental change challenges to link the conservation of biological and cultural diversity with socio-ecological well-being by working at multiple, nested scales: (i) locally, it manages the transdisciplinary, sub-Antarctic research center of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve; (ii) nationally, it co-founded the Chilean network of Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research sites; (iii) internationally, the SBC program develops collaborative courses, publication series, and research that integrate ecological sciences and environmental philosophy into biocultural conservation.

Enjoy this video about the program and trips to the Omora Ethnobotanical Park in Chile.

NOTES – Environmental Ethics in Taiwan

Holmes Rolston Trip (October 1st – November 15th, 2008)

Holmes Rolston was in Taiwan for six weeks lecturing on environmental ethics. His primary host was National Cheng Kung University, in Tainan, a city on the coast in the south, and one of Taiwan’s major universities. Rolston was, interestingly, jointly invited as visiting distinguished professor by the departments of Chinese literature and environmental engineering. Lin, Tzao-chen, a specialist in Chinese literature, is much interested in environmental ethics. Rolston gave six major lectures there, to various audiences in this university.

Rolston also lectured at a number of other universities. At National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, a teacher’s college with a Graduate Institute of Environmental Education, environmental education and ethics are components of all teacher education. National Taiwan University, Taiwan’s largest university (34,200 students), has environmental concern in the life sciences, agriculture, and forestry.

Rolston spoke at Providence University, a Roman Catholic School (Chinese name: Jing-Yi, named after a founder), near Taichung, where he gave the inaugural St. Francis of Assisi lecture. This university has a large program combining ecology and human ecology, with several dozen graduate students in what they call human ecology (related to development and sustainability issues). In Taichung, he also spoke at Tunghai University.

At TamKang University, in Tamsui, just north of Taipei, the interest in environmental ethics is primarily in the English Department (Hwang, Yi-ming, chair), under the theme of ecocriticism. The department has for ten years featured ecocriticism in the graduate program, including a Ph.D. Surprisingly they offer courses in literature of the environment, in Ecofeminist literature, in Buddhism and ecology, and even in Native Americans and the environment. They have had four international conferences on ecocriticism. There is also a philosopher there, Hsu, Tsui-Ming, who teaches environmental ethics.

Much of the interest in environmental ethics is in departments of Foreign Language and Literature (which often means US and UK) or in departments of English (eco-criticism is a trendy word), or cultural studies (which is often the Taiwanese equivalent of something like American studies), where they often do contemporary issues. Rolston met a few, but not that many, self-identified philosophers. Many universities do not have separate departments of philosophy. They put philosophy in cultural studies or in what they call liberal studies. The universities usually do have faculty that are identified as doing environmental education.

Rolston participated in an international conference at National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, said to be the MIT of Taiwan. Here there is a Science, Technology, and Society Institute, which sponsored the conference, and an emphasis there is the social and environmental responsibility of industry. Some participants were critical of the semiconductor industry on worker safety and environmental pollution, as being hypocritical, saying something politically correct and then in fact doing little or nothing.

Rolston spoke at National Dong Hua University. He also made a brief trip to Hong Kong, speaking at Hong Kong Baptist University.

The Taiwan Ecological Stewardship Association, a group associated with the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, was the major facilitator of Rolston’s trip. Nancy Tsu-Mei Chen has been the major force in this group for well over a decade. Her work was recently honored when she was named the alumnus of the year by National Tsing Hua University, interestingly because although she studied physics here, she did not continue in physics. Her concerns later turned to environmental conservation, and the colleges of science, where physics remains dominant, nevertheless honored her as their most distinguished alumnus in 2008.

Rolston’s most interesting nature trip was to the Cilan Forest Conservation area, in the Snow Mountain Range. There he visited a cloud rainforest, over 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) in elevation, with Taiwan cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) and Taiwan Red Cypress (Chamaecyparis formosensis), relict species of the Tertiary Period and endemic to Taiwan. About fifty of the oldest trees are named after Chinese sages and emperors who were born about the time that tree sprouted (as aged by trunk coring). The oldest was the Confucius tree, said to have sprouted in 551 B.C.E., and therefore some 2,500 years old. Dates varied, often in the 1,500-2,000 year range. One was named for Genghis Khan, sprouting in 1155 C.E. In this forest also is a quite sophisticated laboratory and monitoring site for measuring changes in the carbon dioxide levels and pollutants coming upslope from industry at lower elevations. There are hundreds of mountains over 3,000 meters in Taiwan.

Rolston visited Guandu National Park, a wetland park near Taipei, and a favorite for watching birds, with Lin, Mao Sing, founder of the leading wild bird club in Taiwan. The land was purchased and is owned by the Taipei City Government, but the sanctuary is operated by the Taipei Wild Bird Society.

Rolston visited Yang-Ming Shan National Park, with King, Hen-Bau, (former) director of Forestry Institute (who had Rolston’s Environmental Ethics translated into Chinese in Taiwan). This park is named for a philosopher, Weng Yang-Ming (1472-1529). The rainfall is 4,000 mm. per year = 160 inches/year. This is an active volcanic area with fumaroles and hot springs, the only such area on in Taiwan proper, though there are two others on small islands to the north. Yang-Ming Shan National Park has 12-14 million visitors a year, which is half the population of Taiwan (23 million), though of course many are repeat visitors. There is a free shuttle for senior citizens from Taipei, and many come here often. The park has 400 volunteer naturalists. Feral dogs are a problem, dozens of them, released by people who no longer want them as pets. They also release birds, turtles, fish, and any pets they don’t want. They seem to think they are freeing them to go wild.

Rolston visited the Wulai area in Fu Shan, south of Taipei, a fern trip arranged by the Taiwan Wilderness Society, where his naturalist interpreter (on weekends) was a venture capitalist (on weekdays). They identified two dozen different ferns, with many tree ferns. Taiwan has over 600 species of ferns, one of the highest densities of fern species in the world.

Rolston visited the Shan-Ping Nature Reserve, in southern Taiwan, a quite remote and wild area in very steep mountains.

Among other impressions: A marvelous bird photo exhibit by photographer K.K. Kuo, who sells Olympus camera and optics, wealthy, and got interested in doing the bird photography himself.

There is no logging allowed now in Taiwan and has not been for about ten years. About 60% of Taiwan is forested, and 20% of that is plantations. Plantations are not now being cut either as it is not economic. Taiwan imports hardwoods from Malaysia and pulp from Canada. There is very little wildfire in Taiwan. Human-started fire is very local, partly because of wet forests, and partly because of steep slopes, and fire does not spread over drainages.

Rolston received mixed accounts of Buddhism and environmental ethics in Taiwan. Some environmentalists complained that some Buddhist leaders have an emphasis to buy and release captive animals/birds, often quite inappropriately, and this can cause environmental problems. Buddhists, often vegetarians, consider this compassionate. Not all Buddhist schools do this. He also received mixed accounts of Confucian scholarship, with some, themselves Confucian scholars, complaining that Confucian scholars were not seriously interested in environmental ethics.

Rolston spoke in several churches. One of these was filmed and appeared on a national channel, NETV, New Eyes Television.

Taiwan has three nuclear plants, two near Taipei and one in the south. A fourth one is under construction. The plants all cool with sea water and with some concern about how much the warm water discharged from the plant affects the coral and fish in the ocean bay where it is discharged. In this connection, Rolston visited the Graduate Institute of Marine Biodiversity, near Kenting in the South, which monitors this discharge. The research institute grows coral used in research. Also here they care for rescued sea turtles, caught in fishermen’s nets that the fishermen bring to them. They keep them until they are back in good shape and then release them.

Here also is the National Museum of Marine Biodiversity and Aquarium, an award-winning and impressive aquarium, with thousands of fish, corals, and marine fauna and flora in display tanks. He also visited a wetland area, where marine aquaculture is combined with efforts to save a mangrove swamp, with notable “mudskippers,” fish that live much of their lives on mud flats out of water.

Taiwan has 20% of its land area protected. There are 7 National Parks, 21 coastal protected areas, 19 nature reserves, 17 wildlife refuges, 31 major wildlife habitats, and 6 forest reserves. Critics reply that this is less impressive than appears because 20% of the land of Taiwan is too steep for development or agriculture. Taiwan is of some interest because the Tropic of Cancer runs right through it, and at that latitude elsewhere in the world it is usually desert or semi-arid, never rainforest.

The last of Rolston’s lectures was held at the Tainan Science Park, 20 km. outside the city. This is an industrial park for science-based industries, mostly electronics. Here the CHIMEI Group, which specializes in LCD panels, as used in thin TV sets and also in LCD projectors (optoelectronics), has an emphasis on corporate social responsibility, and is developing a sizeable portion of the Science Park as the Tree Valley, and is to be “green.” They plan to plant 100,000 trees, and have already planted 35,000, using various community groups, including school children, community groups, as well as CHIMEI employees. The park will have lakes, an ecology area, hopefully wildlife, walking and riding paths, surrounding industry. Some 30,000 people are eventually supposed to work in the TV, Tree Valley Park.

Rolston spoke at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute. Of interest here is the Taiwan Digital Archives Project, using computers in a research laboratory where entomologists are digitizing the insect collection, especially Taiwan moths. This involves digital scans of a mounted insect, wings widespread, several photos on account of the narrow depth of field, at slightly different layers. The software, combined with visual inspection of these photos compiled them for the clearest overall image. So Taiwan insects are going online: <;, in Chinese, also with an English version, Taiwan Digital Archives Expansion Project.

This gives some indication of concern for conservation biology in Taiwan. Taiwan is about the size of New Jersey and has a lot of both people and nature packed into a small area. There is much biodiversity, many endemics. The result is both challenges and opportunities on this “beautiful island” (=Formosa), as the Portuguese once named it. Many thanks to Holmes Rolston for this update!

NOTES – New Taiwanese Book Series

White flowers, Taiwanese writing

The Taiwan Ecological Stewardship Association (TESA) has put together the following four book series in Thought and Praxis of Environmental Ethics.  The price of a set is NTD 1,150, or (US) $40. The four volumes have 1,192 pages in total. 2,000 sets (8,000 volumes) were published in December 2007 as a preparatory project for the celebration of TESA’s 10th anniversary in 2008.  The editor of this series is Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen, general secretary and founder of TESA.  The content is mainly intended as reference reading for the general education on environmental ethics related courses in university, and can be very informative also for the school teachers, churches or NGOs. Many thanks to Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen for this update!

I. Introduction to Environmental Ethics
II. From Land Ethics to Earth Charter
III. The Praxis of Environmental Ethics and Ecological Spirituality in Taiwan
IV. Reconstructing the Ecological Culture in Taiwan

The following are more details about the contents of these books:

Introduction to TESA Series in Thought and Praxis of Environmental Ethics: “The Island Country Taiwan needs Environmental Ethics for Sustainable Development” by Dr. Hsin-Huan.  Michael Hsiao (Executive Director of Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, Taiwan Academia Sinica). Preface: “Sow the Seeds in Heart” by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen (General Secretary of TESA). 

Volume I: Introduction to Environmental Ethics

  1. “Quiet Strength: Environmental Philosopher Is Environmental Activist” by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.
  2. “A Philosopher In Defense and Beyond the Land Ethic” by Dr. Yi-ming Jean (National Cheng Kong University)

Part One: Introduction and translation of articles and lectures by J. Baird Callicott.  J. Baird Callicott articles and lectures translated by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen:

  1. “Benevolent Symbiosis: The Philosophy of Conservation Reconstructed,” in Earth Summit Ethics: Toward A Reconstructive Postmodern Philosophy of Environmental Education (1996)
  2. “Holistic Environmental Ethics and the Problem of Ecofascism,” in Beyond the Land Ethic: More Essays in Environmental Philosophy (1999).
  3. “The Land Aesthetic,” in Companion to A Sand County Almanac: Interpretive and Critical Essays (1987).
  4. “Multicultural Environmental Ethics,” Taiwan Lecture 1999.11.5.
  5. “Conservation Values and Ethics,” in Principles of Conservation Biology, 2nd ed. (1997).
  6. “Ecological Sustainability as a Conservation Concept,”in Beyond the Land Ethic.
  7. “Ethics and Environmental Ethics,” in Earth’s Insights: A Multicultural Survey of Ecological Ethics from the Mediterranean Basin to the Australian Outback (1994).

Part Two: Introduction and translation of lectures and articles by Holmes Rolston III.Introduction by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen:

  1.  “A Philosopher Gone Wild.”
  2. “Introduction of Rolston’s Philosophy Gone Wild.

Holmes Rolston III articles and lectures translated by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen and others:

  1. “The River of Life: Past, Present, and Future,” Chapter 4 in Philosophy Gone Wild: Environmental Ethics (1986), translated by Yen-Ju Lin.
  2. “The Pasqueflower,” in Philosophy Gone Wild, translated by Wei-Jen Liang.
  3. “Wild Life and Wild Lands,” in After Nature’s Revolt: Eco-Justice and Theology (1992)
  4. “The Bible and Ecology,” in Interpretation: Journal of Bible and Theology (1996).
  5. “Caring for Nature: From Fact to Value, From Respect to Reverence,” in Zygon (2004).
  6. Templeton Prize address at the American Academy of Religion, November 23, 2003.
  7. “Preaching on the Environment,” in Journal for Preachers (2000).
  8. “Ethics and the Environment,” Ethics Applied, 2nd ed. (1999), translated by Yu-Lin Wu. Lecture: “Living with Nature” by Dr. Hen-Biau King, Lecture in the Conference of Rolston’s Trip to Taiwan (2004).


Part Three: “Issues of Science and Religion in Taiwan,” four essays in Wilderness magazine (1991), by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Conclusion of Volume I: “Insights in the Three Trips of Dr. Callicott in 1999 and 2000” by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Volume II: From Land Ethics to Earth Charter

Introductions to Volume II by Dr. Tsao-Cheng Lin (National Cheng Kong University) and Dr.

Sun-Mei Wang (Institute of Environmental Education, National Taiwan Normal University).

Part One:

  1. “The Thought and/or Legacy of Aldo Leopold, Rachael Carson, E. F. Schumacher, Nancy Victorian Vangerud, Mosei Lin,” ten essays by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.
  2. “In Search oh the Concept of the Harmony between Nature and Man in Traditional China: A Critique,” by Dr. Edgar Jun-Yi Lin, Lecture in TESA’s Conference (1999).


Part Two: “Introduction to the History of Ecological Ideas in Nature’s Economy by Donald Worster,” six essays by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Part Three: “Reawakening the Ancient Wisdom, In Search of an Alternative Life,” ten essays by Masauli Koung, Eunice Jiang, Esther Jiang, and Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Part Four: “Introducing the Earth Charter: History, Principles and ECYI,” translated by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Part Five: “Teacher’s Guide of the Earth Charter: Bringing Sustainability into the Classroom,” edited by Mohit Mukerjee, translated by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Conclusion of Volume II: “Taitung, We Are Coming!” by Dr. J. C. Liu.

Volume III: The Praxis of Environmental Ethics and Ecological Spirituality in Taiwan

Introductions to Volume III by Dr. Jen-Wen Wang (Tainan Theological Seminary) and Dr. Sang- Ren Chen (Taiwan Theological Seminary).

Part One: “Global Warming as a Theological Concern,” ten essays by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Part Two: “Renewal of Faith in the Context of Ecological Crisis,” ten essays by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen, one essay by Rev. Ke-Siu Young (former General Secretary of Presbyterian Church in Taiwan), and one essay by Rev. Carver Yu (President of China Graduate School of Theology in Hong-Kong).

Part Three: “Series on Freedom of Simplicity,” twelve essays by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Part Four: “A Mother Who Cares for the Earth and Her Family,” twelve essays by Nancy Tzu- Mei Chen.

Part Five: “The Journey to Find the Lost Taiwan Lily,” by Ming-Yong Lo (President of TESA)

Part Six: “Introduction to ‘The Greening of Religion’ in Roderick Frazier Nash’s The Rights of Nature” (1989), by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Conclusion of Volume III: “Land Ethics from the Kitchen,” by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.

Volume IV: Reconstructing the Ecological Culture in Taiwan

Introductions to Volume IV by Dr. Jong-Ho Wang (Taiwan Academia Sinica) and Jean-Yi Chen (Association of the Promotion of Land Ethics).

Part One:

  1. Taiwan Christian Ecological Center.
  2. Conference on Ecological Concern.
  3. Taiwan Ecological Stewardship Association.
  4. Core Values of TESA.

Part Two:

  1. Faith and Environmental Ideas Study Group (twenty-four essays of book study report).
  2. Land Ethics Study Group (four essays of book study report).

Part Three: Conference Lectures and Research Papers by Scholars:

  1. The Global Environmental Issues.
  2. The Taiwanese Environmental Problems.
  3. The History of Environmental Protection Movement in Taiwan.
  4. The Water Issues in Taiwan.
  5. Deep Environmental Movement in Taiwan.
  6. Biodiversity and Traditional Wisdom.
  7. The Church of Biodiversity.
  8. After the Kyoto Protocol.

Conclusion of Volume IV: “Caring for the Planet Earth” by Nancy Tzu-Mei Chen.