Title: Urban desertification and a phenomenology of sustainability: the case of El Paso, Texas

Authors: Jules Simon

Addresses: Department of Philosophy, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA

Abstract: My thesis is that current cities and the way that cities are being developed is unsustainable and poses global problems for the long-term flourishing of the world's inter-related and interdependent economies, for matters of justice and happiness in socio-cultural relations between peoples, and for the health of our natural environments. I argue that 'urban desertification' happens in the complex relationship between cities (both urban and suburban) and rural environments that support them as both a natural and ethical phenomenon that I study using a form of analysis called phenomenological ethics. First, I briefly present sketches of phenomenology and sustainability in order to introduce the method of phenomenological ethics to develop a more adequate understanding of urban sustainability. Then, I make a connection between desertification and urbanisation. Finally, I focus on the city of El Paso, Texas in order to provide an empirical and relevant case study of the existing problems of desertification and sustainability.

Keywords: sustainability; phenomenological ethics; phenomenology; urban desertification; climate change; economic justice; environmental justice; environmental ethics; socio-cultural relations; El Paso; United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; philosophy; lived world; normative ethics; USA; United States; cities.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2014.063659

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2014 Vol.15 No.2/3, pp.160 - 182

Published online: 18 Jul 2014 *

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