I’m pleased to say that at last, after three years (and more) work, the book I edited, Philosophy as Practice in the Ecological Emergency: An Exploration of Urgent Matters, has been published.
This is part of Springer and Palgrave Macmillan’s inaugural cross-imprint, Sustainable Development Goals Series.
The highly distinguished list of contributors consider the practical implications of philosophy. If you need to make sure the plumbing in your house is working effectively, you consult with a plumber. If you need to make sure that the values and beliefs that underpin your life, or your society, are working effectively, you consult with a philosopher.
And your society (and therefore your life) is not working effectively if climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and the political and cultural fragmentation that accompanies them become existential threats that critically and urgently demand our attention.
With that in mind this book offers practices and reflections on what it is to live wisely, and how we might reorientate how we see ourselves so we can better relate to the more-than-human context – that is, to the rest of existence, including living existence.
While this is produced with academic students in mind, it’s also deliberately accessible, so if you have an interest, please reach out and I can send you extracts.
The title of the book is intentionally ironic: to confront the urgency of the ecological emergency, we suggest practices of appreciation, slowing down, thinking and acting mindfully and with more attention to what we are. The book therefore examines both how we see ourselves, and the more-than-human world, and how this shifts our capacity to respond to the urgent and critical issues that we now face. The central argument of the book is that philosophy is both a way of seeing what is going on, and a practice of living wisely when we are clearer about how we see.
Editing and contributing to this collection has been a great privilege. In another life, I was mentored by another expert in human nature, the late Emeritus Professor Barbara Harrell-Bond, who founded The Refugee Studies Programme at Oxford University, thereby smashing a centuries old tradition of the careful segregation of subjects by discipline, as well as the patriarchal glass ceiling. Harrell-Bond emphasised the value and importance of a multidisciplinary approach, combining scholarship, policy and practice. She was ahead of her time. I offer this book as a tribute to her work.
Events are moving quickly now, and this book comes, I hope you will agree, not a moment too soon.