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The “War” Against Climate Change and Christian Eco-Justice: Ethical Implications of Martial Rhetoric

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Some climate activists and analysts appeal to martial language, emphasizing the seriousness of the problem by calling for a “war” against climate change. Drawing on a Christian ethic of eco-justice, this paper analyzes the implications of such rhetoric, measuring it against the norms of participation, solidarity, sufficiency, and sustainability. These norms reveal that martial rhetoric runs the risk of inspiring authoritarian, divisive solutions that distract from the genuine conflicts caused by climate change and the long-term changes required in response. While climate change is an urgent problem, a Christian ethics of eco-justice should encourage action on this issue with metaphors that are more empowering and inclusive than war.

Affiliations: 1: Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Av, Tacoma, WA 98447, USA, Email: obrien@plu.edu, URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

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