FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        Date:  January 30, 2001

Contact:  Cheryl D. Peck

Book on environmental ethics relates abstract ideas to real concerns

            SPRINGFIELD - A University of Illinois professor, who is recognized internationally for his scholarship on animal rights and environmental ethics, is the author of a new book titled Environmental Ethics Today.  Peter S. Wenz, professor of philosophy and legal studies, announced publication of the book this month by Oxford University Press.

            Essential reading for anyone interested in environmental protection and human health, the book employs an accessible, journalistic style to discuss current positions, controversies, and concepts in environmental ethics.  Each chapter begins with a real controversy or issue that readers might already care about, such as rising cancer rates, cruelty to domestic animals, cloning, prejudice against women, and road rage due to traffic congestion.

Wenz relates abstract matters to pressing personal and political concerns.  He often cites cases that center on particular individuals, such as a first-person account of a man running for his life to escape poison gas in Bhopal, India, a woman killing her newborn girl, and a zoo gorilla saving a man's life. These personal stories are related to more general controversies, to abstract concepts employed in those controversies, and to ethical principles and theories.

The author, who describes himself as "one of those aging, leftist, feminist, vegetarian environmentalists that one often sees jogging near universities," is also an adjunct professor of medical humanities at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

His other books include Environmental Justice (SUNY Press, 1988), Abortion Rights as Religious Freedom (Temple University Press, 1992), and Nature's Keeper (Temple University Press, 1996).  His current writing centers on global warming.

            Wenz was named University Scholar for 1999-2000, an award that honors and rewards outstanding teachers and scholars on the three U of I campuses. Since coming to UIS in 1976, he has distinguished himself by his innovative teaching methods, ability to engage students, and the close relationship between his scholarship and teaching.  His international recognition has taken him to England, France, Austria, and Australia to lecture and serve on panels.  He has also published dozens of articles and reviews in respected refereed journals and made numerous scholarly presentations.  His major intellectual interests concern how society can manage changes needed for environmental reasons with minimal harm to human beings, especially the poor and vulnerable.

            Wenz received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  He is a member of the Faculty Board of Directors for the U of I Press and serves on Memorial Medical Center's Human Values and Ethics Committee.

            Environmental Ethics Today is available at UIS' bookstore, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and on the web from large dot com companies.

            For more information about the book and Wenz' scholarly work, please contact him at 206-7429.

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