ECOLOGICAL AND ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF SUSTAINABILITY: towards an animal abolitionist education and legislation

Escola de Extensão Edital 8/PROEX/2017

In a time of intense instrumentalization of life, nature becomes a mere factory from which natural resources are withdrawn. This system is causing immense social, ethical and environmental impacts. Brazil has a fairly solid legislation protecting the environment. Nevertheless, there is a substantial gap between theory and praxis, usually due to conflicts of interest concerning economic issues. A robust legislation aiming at the protection of the environment is absolutely necessary, as well as public policies derived from such laws or ethical principles. Nonetheless, these externalities won´t be resolved only through coercive practices. In order to promote a genuine shift in paradigm we need a new education, one that exposes the connections between the pillars of our Western culture – dominated by an instrumental, mechanistic paradigm – and our present environmental, social, economic, political and ethical crisis. This seasonal school aims to show how speciesism-a prejudice concerning nonhuman animals, analogous to racism and sexism – is among other values which lie at the core of these impacts, and how mainstream education and legislation are failing to address these issues. In our present era – the “Anthropocene”- a genuine concern about the future of the planet and nonhuman animals involves questioning our narrow instrumental paradigm as well as our speciesist values, for both ethical and scientific reasons. This implicates moving towards new epistemological foundations such as biocentrism and holism.

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