March 2019 Philosophy Walk: The Environment, Ethics & Stewardship (Part 3)

Part 3 of our 3-Part Fall Philosophy Walk Series on the environment, ethics & stewardship took place on Sunday, March 24th at Ten Mile Creek Park.  Despite the weather being overcast (a change from the sunny day prior) and the trails a bit slushy from the recent melt, our adventure was beautiful and fun.  We also heard numerous bird calls from above — geese, gulls, northern flickers — and some fun dog calls (from our furry four-legged’s who joined us on the walk).

Sponsored in part by grants from The Philosophy Learning & Teaching Organization and Humanities Montana, our group shared dialogue about philosophical and other perspectives related to current and future environmental and conservation challenges, and featured special guest speakers philosopher Mark Smillie, conservationist Thomas Baumeister, and rancher & conservationist Tyrrell Hibbard.

What We Explored

Our group of 17 enjoyed a 2.25 mile walk & and great conversation about:

  • Environmental Ethics & Moral Ecology — Overview of various environmental ethics approaches, moral interests/who counts (and what), the human relationship to nature, and moral ecology
  • Our Relationships with Place and Our Subsequent Duties and Obligations — Connecting with our local landscape and an expanded sense of place, personal identity and collective identity, responsibilities
  • Development & Related Issues — Open space, economic forces, policy landscape, and conservation at policy level and stewardship level
  • The Topography of Climate Change & Resilience Responses — Changing landscapes and environments (forests, rangelands, other), different models of farming and the need for change, changing demographics, building resilience by building soil (ground ecology and the public good), 
  • Moral Motivation & the Virtue of Gratitude — External and internal motivation, the virtue of gratitude, how gratitude is developed by knowledge, and knowledge of place (which leads to love)
  • Pragmatism and Environmental Policy and Action — Conservation policy and action, the democracy of conservation in Montana
  • And more…

Guest Speakers/Philosophers-On-Trail

~ Thank you to our Guest Speakers/Co-Philosophers-on-Trail: Thomas Baumeister (Conservationist),Mark Smillie (Philosopher), Tyrrell Hibbard (Conservationist & Rancher).  Thank you also to Michael Chapman for capturing photos of the day. ~

Learn More About Our Guest Walk Discussion Leaders...

Thomas Baumeister co-founded and currently runs Access WILD, a business devoted to introducing people to the wilds of the West. As Faculty Associate at Carroll College and Arizona State University, he teaches courses on ​The Science, Ethics, and Practice of Animal Welfare​; Wild Animals & Society; The Human-Nature Connection​; and ​The Biomimicry Ethos—A Pathway from Practice to Philosophy​.  While serving as Conservation Education Bureau Chief for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Thomas facilitated the establishment of Montana WILD, wrote the state’s hunter education manual, and chaired the committee for the International Hunter Education Association to develop U.S. hunter education standards.  In addition to serving as Board President for Orion – The Hunter’s Institute, he also serves on the board of the Helena Hunters and Anglers Association and is chair of the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame.  Thomas has been recognized as “Professional of the Year” by the International Hunter Education Association and is a three-time recipient of the Montana Governor’s Award for “Excellence in Performance.” He holds two M.S. degrees and a Ph.D. in Biology and Wildlife Biology from Universities in Germany and Montana.

Mark Smillie is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Carroll College. He received a B.A. from Thomas Aquinas College, and a Ph.D. in 1992, from the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in medieval philosophy, the Philosophy of Human Being, and teaches applied ethics courses in Bioethics, Business Ethics, and Environmental Ethics.  He recently co-edited the book, Augustine and the Environment. He has given papers/presentations on Thomas Aquinas, Catholic Identity, End of Life Decision-Making, Artificial Intelligence, and other issues.

Tyrrell Hibbard is a rancher, business owner, and Helena native who enjoyed an agricultural upbringing in a generational ranch family where work and recreation often coincided. Montana’s rich character, natural bounty, and historic working landscapes inspired Tyrrell to expand on his background and pursue conservation on a scale larger than his family’s ranch. In 2009 he joined Western Sustainability Exchange where he has worked in market-based conservation and sustainable agriculture, and subsequently, in 2013, joined the board of Prickly Pear Land Trust. In 2015 Tyrrell began adding value to Montana agriculture commodities by distilling award-winning spirits, as a proprietor of Gulch Distillers. When not ranching, distilling, or developing markets for farmers and ranchers, Tyrrell chooses to enjoy the outdoors with his wife and two daughters, usually skiing, hunting, mountain biking, or fishing. He has every intention to preserve these opportunities for his community, his daughters, and the generations after them.



Thank You’s

Thank you to P.L.A.T.O. (Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization) & Humanities Montana for helping support our philosophy in the community programs and making events like this possible!

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