This original study applies the philosophical/theological thought of Thomas Aquinas to issues of environmental ethics, specifically in relation to the restoration and preservation of the plains of the Loess Hills in Iowa. This study should appeal to scholars working in environmental ethics, philosophy, theology, and ecology. This work applies an environmental ethic grounded in an interpretation of Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae to a particular environmental region, namely the Loess Hills of Iowa. The book begins by telling the ecological story of the Loess Hills and then proceeds to summarize the development of environmental ethics through the legacy of Henry David Thoreau, thereby revealing certain tensions that exist in contemporary environmental debates. Then, after considering the strengths and weaknesses of anthropocentric and ecocentric ethical systems, the author provides an exposition of Aquinas' understanding of the bonum naturalis, the bonum connaturalis, and the bonum supernaturalis, as these are found in the Summa Theologiae.
From these a eudaimonistic ethic emerges: human communities ought to pursue flourishing only in ways that simultaneously save the contextualizing ecosystems. This ethic is then applied to the particular case of the Loess Hills, producing an eudaimonistic ecoregionalism.
Fr. Robert L. Grant, Ph.D., is both a Roman Catholic priest and Associate Professor of Theology at St. Ambrose University. He earned his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Iowa. Fr. Grant specializes in Environmental Ethics and is actively involved in prairie restoration projects.
Preface by Steven Bouma-Prediger; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Loess Hills Mixed Grass Prairie; The Evolution of Environmental Ethics; Ecocentrism and Anthropocentricism; Nature and the Good in Thomas Aquinas; Rural Ecoregionalism; Conclusion: Eudaimonistic Ecoregionalism Extended; References; Index.