UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Emotional ethics of warfare : how empathy can be used to strengthen protection of the natural environment Priest, Margaret


This research examines the anthropocentric nature of traditional ethics of warfare and how this normative framework has translated to international conventions, treaties, and laws addressing environmental harm. Human beings have always been at the center of moral concern, which has led to environmental protection being recognized only as an important issue for human security. In order to adequately address the impacts for the natural environment we must expand our circle of moral concern to include the natural environment. Just as relationships between humans can evolve and empathy becomes more readily available, so too, can this occur in the relationship between humans and the environment. This research explores how the institutionalization of empathy within international organizations is one important mechanism for establishing ecocentric protections for the natural environment. Extending empathy to the natural environment means we recognize its intrinsic value. Thus, there is a greater chance for international law to adequately address violence against the natural environment.

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