We can talk about something newsworthy. A decade ago, in your book, The Future of Life, you wrote about environmental ethics and argued that a stabilized world population with a decent quality of life could be attained along with compelling humans to restore natural resources. Now that climate change is accelerating, as is the loss of biodiversity that you mention in the new book, you write that we’re still capable of fixing things within a century. What is the path to get there?

Of course we’re capable of fixing it, but what we need to do is to call on two things more decisively. One is the self-interest of individuals and nations in saving biodiversity in frankly more selfish terms. But in addition, we need to have a powerful moral argument drawing on a reserve of moral arguments that has been built up through group selection. That is the propensity, the ability, and desire to serve a group and to give in some degree altruistically. We need to be able to do that for the whole world, not just people, but to say we need to behave more altruistically towards the rest of life. That’s the environmental ethic. And I think if we understand ourselves better, than we can reach that degree of understanding and effort. You’ve touched on one of the main reasons I wrote this book. Self-understanding of our species is an ingredient that develops an environmental ethic.

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