Deputy Director, Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, is the second author of the just published paper 'Sustainability, virtue ethics, and the virtue of harmony with nature', published in Environmental Education Research. The paper is available to view here.
The first author, Karen Jordan, who is a PhD student at the University of Iceland, spent the autumn semester of 2014 as an Erasmus exchange student in the Jubilee Centre.
This article argues that the dominant sustainable development approach fails to acknowledge the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of social and environmental issues, and that sustainability requires a ‘transformational’ approach, involving a fundamental change in how humans relate to each other and to nature. The authors propose that virtue ethics, grounded in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, provides a framework with which to tackle such a transformation; to redress the human-nature relationship and help foster a more ecological perspective; to facilitate a more holistic and integrative view of sustainability; and to explore questions of how to live and flourish within a more sustainable world. Beginning with an overview of virtue ethics and critique of current approaches in environmental virtue ethics, this article proposes a new virtue, ‘harmony with nature’, that addresses the interconnectedness of our relationship with nature. This is followed by a proposal for the re-visioning of human flourishing as being necessarily situated within nature. The article concludes with some of the implications of a virtue ethics approach to sustainability, and the new virtue, for both sustainability education and moral education.