Riders in the Storm

Riders in the Storm

Ethics in an Age of Climate Change

(Anselm Academic 2015)
  • Read the Preface
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  • Named among the "best climate change book of all time" by BookAuthority.org

    Global warming isn’t coming; it is already here.  Human-induced global climate disruption is no longer a theoretical concern, neither is it an outcome that can be avoided if only the right policy is adopted or the right technology is invented. The oceans are rising and becoming more acidic, ice is melting, and droughts are becoming more prevalent. Determining how not only  to survive, but live a good life in an age of climate change is the most pressing challenge facing humanity. The fate of the human community and many of the organisms with which we have evolved hang in the balance.

    In Riders in the Storm professor of philosophy and environmental studies Brian G. Henning presents a clear and accessible introduction to why global warming is happening, why it is still debated in the popular media and in congress, and what the international community is doing to try to address it. He contends that the mainstream moral frameworks of “sustainability” and “stewardship” are welcome improvements over more destructive attitudes regarding humanity’s place in nature, but that they are ultimately insufficient. Encouraging a return to the roots of ethics, which for millennia has focused on examining the nature of the good life well lived, Riders in the Storm explores the “great work” of voluntary simplicity, wide sustainability, and humble self-stewardship. Equipped with colorful graphics and images, suggestions for further research and reading, and dialogue prompts, this text is a straightforward and engaging introduction to climate change.


    “The century's task, a task set for us by that implacable master physics – is to make ourselves smaller. This book is an eloquent reflection on that beautiful chore.” 
    -Bill McKibben
    Middlebury College

    We are now in the first century in the thirty-five million centuries of life on Earth in which one species can jeopardize the planet's future. In Riders in the Storm: Ethics in an Age of Climate Change, Brian Henning is right that the identity of the twenty-first century will increasingly be defined by long-festering ecological crises, made worse by political and market failures. Here is a basic introduction, full scale across science, politics, and economics, seeing climate change as both ethical failure and opportunity. His analysis is well researched and documented, well presented, and quite readable. Riders in the Storm joins the most forceful voices in this keystone concern on the global agenda.
    --Holmes Rolston III
    University Distinguished Professor and Professor of Philosophy
    Colorado State University

    In Riders in the Storm: Ethics in an Age of Climate Change, Brian Henning shows that we are called to rethink everything in view of the catastrophe we face so as to engage together in the great work to which Thomas Berry has been calling us. Central to honorable pursuit of this work is personal morality, and this morality must shape our lives to the needs of our times. Like every truly wise morality, what it calls for is not miserable sacrifice but joyful, responsible life.
    -John Cobb, Jr.
    Claremont School of Theology


    "Brian Henning ... intends to provide a teaching text that offers an analysis of the science, politics, economics, and ethics of global warming, and he does so admirably. He agrees with the cultural historian Thomas Berry that responding to human-caused climate change is the "great work" of our age. Thus, he provides an extended ethical argument that this great work requires a new way of thinking and acting, grounded in a new understanding of ourselves and our relationship to the Earth." 
    -J. Milburn Thompson, Bellarmine University
    Horizons 42.2 (2015) 485-487

    Table of Contents:

    Chapter 1: Climate Change Isn’t Coming—It’s Already Here
         On Thin Ice
         The Difference between Climate and Weather
         Rolling the Climate Dice
         Our Holocene Home
         Welcome to the Anthropocene
         Future Projections and Impacts
    Chapter 2: Understanding the Science of Climate Change
         What Science Is (and Isn’t)
         The Basics of Climate Science
         What If We Are Wrong?
    Chapter 3: The Political Response to a Changing Climate: The Market-Based Approach
         The International Political Process: Rio, Kyoto, and Beyond
         Kyoto and Its US Critics
         Outsourcing Morality to Economics?
    Chapter 4: The Sustainability Paradigm
         What Is Ethics?
         The Rise of the Sustainability Paradigm
         Beyond Sustainability
         Developing an Environmental Ethic
    Chapter 5: Ecological Stewardship and the Great Work
         From Despot to Steward
         The Great Work and the Ecozoic Era
         Voluntary Simplicity
    Chapter 6: Moral Idealism, Hypocrisy, and Pursuit of the Great Work
         Be Realistic
         Hypocrisy and the Pursuit of Moral Ideals
    Appendix: Eating Animals on a Warming Planet: A Case Study
         Meat Production’s Role in Climate Change
         Three Scenarios for Reducing the Climate Impact of Livestock