Beyond Sovereign Territory: The Space of Ecopolitics by Thom Kuehls

By Thom Kuehls

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48)], not a ladder of predictable progress,"63 it becomes increasingly difficult to sustain theories that place humanity in an ontologically privileged position. The contingency of time problematizes our standing as—if not the pinnacle of creation—the pinnacle of evolution. "64 For many environmental ethicists, and ethicists in general, this thought is a particularly troubling one. If there is no necessity to human existence, if we do not have a purpose on this planet, there appear to be no limitations to human action.

64 For many environmental ethicists, and ethicists in general, this thought is a particularly troubling one. If there is no necessity to human existence, if we do not have a purpose on this planet, there appear to be no limitations to human action. From this position, vanquishing the shadow could not possibly offer a positive ecological stance. But this is only because these eco-ethicists cannot envision an ethic beyond the shadow of God. They feel that if no natural (read theological) limitations are placed on human beings—that is, if we do not have a specific role to play—we will be unleashed upon the earth to destroy it.

It is placed there by theorists of international relations who then set out to explain the actions of international actors by the presence of this structure. There is a self-fulfilling prophecy to this type of theorizing that recalls the discussion in chapter i, regarding the ecologist's equations: "No good ecologist ever forgot that his equations were vastly oversimplified versions of real phenomena. The whole point of oversimplifying was to model regularity. " 7 As with the "good ecologists" who are intent on modeling regularity, Waltz is intent on finding structure.

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