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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 6, 2022

Weird Environmental Ethics: The Virtue of Wonder and the Rise of Eco-Anxiety

  • Brian Hisao Onishi EMAIL logo
From the journal SATS


Recent discussions of “eco-anxiety” have brought attention to feelings of hopelessness and despair associated with climate change and ecological disaster. When we accept the claims made by science about climate change and realize that our near future is full of unprecedented ecological crisis it is difficult to avoid feelings of anxiety about the future of human life on our planet. While these discussions have largely taken place in the context of psychology and psychoanalysis, there is a need to engage in ethical deliberation about both “eco-anxiety” and “eco-trauma.” In this paper, I argue that an environmental virtue of wonder can help to articulate the intersection of environmental ethics and “eco-anxiety” by offering a mean between the excess of anxiety and the deficiency of boredom. I situate this discussion within trauma studies and make connections between the pre-trauma of climate change, wonder, and eco-cinema. More specifically, I argue for a weird environmental ethic that embraces fuzzy boundaries of entangled environments and show that the virtue of wonder allows for flourishing within this context. I use cinema, and specifically Eco-Weird cinema, to argue for a shift in narratives about our present and our future as it relates to climate change.

Corresponding author: Brian Hisao Onishi, Department of Philosophy, Penn State Altoona, 3000 Ivyside Park, Hawthorn 226, Altoona, 16601-3794, PA, USA, E-mail:


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Published Online: 2022-07-06
Published in Print: 2022-07-26

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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