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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

    ESEP prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00210

    Life’s potentiality as multispecies gift

    João Aldeia

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Contemporary political ecological problems reduce possibilities for future human and non-human life. These problems are the result of modern capitalist humans’ attempt to break away from multispecies bonds and turn non-humans into resources to be appropriated. These bonds are crucial for the continued generation of life, which can only result from intergenerational and interspecies shared time, effort, and energy. By expanding the works of Mauss’ intellectual heirs and Levinas towards multispecies interactions, this gift of life can be better understood. Life received by newborn humans entangles them in a multispecies gift cycle that obligates them to reciprocate the gift of life’s potentiality. This requires acknowledging humans’ ethical responsibilities for all others, human and non-human, currently alive or potentially born in the future. In turn, this responsibility can only unfold as political ecologically sustainable actions that keep multispecies communities healthy enough to keep giving life’s potentiality to future generations.