Joint Publication Board of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science and Meadville Theological Seminary of Lombard College
Zygon vol:49 issue:3 pages:572-592
The value-action gap poses a considerable challenge to
normative environmental ethics. Because of the wide array of empirical research results that have become available in the fields of environmental psychology, education, and anthropology, ethicists are at present able to take into account insights on what effectively motivates
proenvironmental behavior. The emotional aspect apparently
forms a key element within a transformational process that leads to an internalization of nature within one’s identity structure. We compare these findings with studies on environmental activists, which appear to a significantly lesser degree hampered by the value-action gap, thereby attempting to understand what provides them with the
drive to act more consistently on their moral attitudes. Hermeneutics is found to play a crucial role in the processes that lead to lasting and consistent motivation toward proenvironmental behavior. An empirically informed hermeneutical approach could therefore provide a
promising impetus for contemporary environmental ethics.