Carolyn Merchant, Professor of Environmental History, Philosophy, & Ethics, University of California Berkeley

Merchant proposes a new kind of environmental ethic—a partnership ethic, based on the idea that people and nature are equally important. If both people and nature are acknowledged as actors, we have the possibility of a mutually beneficial situation.

A partnership ethic holds that the greatest good for the human and nonhuman communities is in their mutual living interdependence. A partnership ethic entails a viable, sustainable relationship between a human community and a nonhuman community in a particular place, a place in which connections to the larger world are recognized through economic and ecological exchanges.

It is an ethic in which humans act to fulfill both humanity's vital needs and nature's needs by restraining human hubris. As humans, we need to cultivate a new ability to hear nature's voice. Although, as partner, Nature's language differs from our own, we nevertheless have the possibility of working cooperatively with it. The result is a healthier, more sustainable environment for our own and future generations.

Environmental problems

Ecological Citizenship

A land ethic