About Us

Philosophers for Sustainability is an international group of philosophers that aims to encourage our profession to take leadership on climate change and environmental sustainability. We agree with the current scientific consensus that climate change is real, caused largely by human activity, already having significant effects, disproportionately impacting many of the groups that are underrepresented in philosophy, and poised to worsen dramatically within our lifetimes. We believe that everyone has a role to play in combating climate change and ensuring a sustainable future. And we believe that philosophers, despite our disproportionately large carbon footprints, are well positioned to think, teach, and lead effectively about the complex environmental issues we now have to face. We are attempting to integrate environmental issues into our work as philosophers, not only in our research, but, more immediately, in a wide range of philosophy courses and in our service to the profession. We have a few different projects underway, and are actively seeking new projects and new members. We welcome people from all areas of philosophy who are interested in stopping climate change and promoting sustainability in practice.

Our co-founders are Eugene Chislenko (Temple University) and Rebecca Millsop (University of Rhode Island). Our Membership Coordinator is Kaitlin Pettit (PhD, University of Utah), and our Technology Coordinator is Sarah (Sadie) Warren (University of Toronto). For more information, to join our email list for occasional announcements and updates, or to become a member, you can contact us at philosophersforsustainability@gmail.com.

Why We Care

According to the United Nations, “Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it.” Major countries are missing the targets of a 2°C (3.8°F) global temperature increase, and, by various estimates, heading toward somewhere in the range of 3-6°C (4.7-11.4°F) average increase, with drastic and destabilizing effects on the earth’s climate. Since 1950, according to a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research the number of floods had increased 15-fold, extreme temperature events 20-fold, and wildfires 7-fold. These changes will continue to worsen, perhaps somewhat, perhaps much more drastically. Human-caused climate change is tremendously and, to a large extent irreversibly, damaging the habitat of our students and children, not to mention us.

Stopping the worst of the damage requires the rapid spread of the idea that climate change is a priority. We need everyone to do what they can, starting with the skills and positions each of us already has. Philosophers have a unique set of skills for thinking about complex problems. Some of these skills put us in a good position to help bring out the rapid spread of an idea, especially when the idea has a compelling rationale. We would like philosophers to use our skills to take leadership in stopping the worst effects of climate change and ensuring a sustainable future.