Life on earth is wildly diverse, but the future of that diversity is now in question. Through environmentally destructive farming practices, ever-expanding energy use, and the development and homogenization of land, human beings are responsible for unprecedented reductions in the variety of life forms around us. Estimates suggest that species extinctions caused by humans occur at up to 1,000 times the natural rate, and that one of every twenty species on the planet could be eradicated by 2060. "An Ethics of Biodiversity" argues that these facts should inspire careful reflection and action in Christian churches, which must learn from earth's vast diversity in order to help conserve the natural and social diversity of our planet. Bringing scientific data into conversation with theological tradition, the book shows that biodiversity is a point of intersection between faith and ethics, social justice and environmentalism, science and politics, global problems and local solutions.
"An Ethics of Biodiversity" offers a set of tools for students, environmentalists, and people of faith to think critically about how human beings can live with and as part of the variety of life in God's creation.
Kevin J. O'Brien is an assistant professor of Christian ethics at Pacific Lutheran University.
Preface Introduction: Christian Ecological Ethics and Biodiversity Part I: Defining Biodiversity 1. The Variety of Life Part II: Why Biodiversity Matters 2. Valuing Life & Ecosystems 3. The Sacramental Value of the Variety of Life Part III: The Levels of Biodiversity 4. Scaling Conservation 5. Multiscalar Christian Ecological Ethics Part IV: Political and Morally Formative Conservation 6. Regulating Biodiversity: The Endangered Species Act and Political Conservation 7. Christian Care for Biodiversity: Moral Formation as Conservation Part V: Social Justice and the Conservation of Biodiversity 8. Biological and Cultural Diversity 9. Diversities and Justice Conclusion: The Work of Conserving Biodiversity Bibliography Index