Environmental Ethics and Film  book cover
1st Edition

Environmental Ethics and Film

ISBN 9780415747288
Published September 17, 2015 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Environmental ethics presents and defends a systematic and comprehensive account of the moral relation between human beings and their natural environment and assumes that human behaviour toward the natural world can and is governed by moral norms. In contemporary society, film has provided a powerful instrument for the moulding of such ethical attitudes.

Through a close examination of the medium, Environmental Ethics and Film explores how historical ethical values can be re-imagined and re-constituted for more contemporary audiences. Building on an extensive back-catalogue of eco-film analysis, the author focuses on a diverse selection of contemporary films which target audiences’ ethical sensibilities in very different ways. Each chapter focuses on at least three close readings of films and documentaries, examining a wide range of environmental issues as they are illustrated across contemporary Hollywood films.

This book is an invaluable resource for students and scholars of environmental communication, film studies, media and cultural studies, environmental philosophy and ethics.

Table of Contents

1. Environmental Ethics – Literature Review  2. Environmental Ethics and Ecocinema: Core Textual Readings  3. Indigenous Cultures and Ethical Food Consumption: from Hunter Gatherers to Avatars  4. Ecofeminism, Environmental Ethics and Active Engagement in Science Fiction Fantasies  5. Social Responsibility and Anthropomorphising Animals  6. Third World Injustice, Environmental Sustainability and Frugality: A Case Study of Contemporary Hollywood films set in Africa  7. Business Ethics: Sustainability, Frugality and the Environment  8. End of the World Scenarios and the Precautionary Principle  9. Environmental Ethics: Concluding Remarks

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Pat Brereton is Head of the School of Communications at Dublin City University, Ireland.


"There is a saying that ‘without vision, there the people perish’. In Environmental Ethics and Film Pat Brereton beautifully illustrates and makes the case for the capacity of films to help us tell new stories and provide visions of the ‘human condition’ in an age of complex and global ecological challenges and opportunities. Brereton sees film as neither a substitute for political activism nor mere "escapism". Rather, it creates the conditions for transformation, new understandings and the fusing of normative, affective and above all imaginative interpretations of the present or alternative visions of our planetary future. In film’s capacity to appeal to our imaginations about human relations, we have different and more accessible resources for new narratives and ethical responses than those given by scientific readings of those relations. This book is an authoritative and accessibly written account of how film can do much more than simply paint dystopian, nostalgic or utopian accounts of our planetary condition. It can help in remaking a better, more ecologically sustainable world." – John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy, Queens University Belfast