One of the questions that drew me into environmental philosophy was whether ecosystems could be healthy or sick. A lot of people around me were talking (and still do) about “restoring ecosystem health.” When I started my job with the environmental non-profit, I felt like I’d joined a clinic of nurses attending to patient Earth. So I wondered, does it make sense to describe an ecosystem as healthy or unhealthy? Is this merely metaphorical (as in a “healthy economy”), or can an ecosystem actually be unhealthy?
And once again, as with every step I take in environmental philosophy, I was surprised to learn that lots of people were actively debating this very topic.