PHIL303: Environmental Ethics as Liberatory Theory and Practice

Faculty Member

Sarah Dimaggio, Heather Cleary


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In the same way an addict rationalizes using their substance, environmental degradation has been framed as an unfortunate side effect of our inevitable progress towards a predetermined future. These tendencies are justified using a constructed narrative built on cultural techniques and global systems of oppression, conditioning our minds to be in a constant state of desire. By framing consumerism as an addiction, this analysis questions the source of our unbridled dysregulated desire, investigates potential harm reduction addiction interventions and applies them on a global scale as a treatment for our consumption craving. This path away from consumption dependency engages the difficulties of living simply, our fear of scarcity, and a critical long-term approach to pleasure in an attempt to imagine a future in which we consciously rehabilitate our relationship with the environment by healing our bodies and minds.

Publication Date

Spring 2023

Document Type

Research Paper


environmental ethics, addiction, desire, harm-reduction, voluntary simplicity, indigenous ethics, eco-feminism


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Psychology | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Open Access


Our Accumulation Addiction: The Harm of Overconsumption and Rehabilitation Treatments for our Minds and the Environment