Environmental ethics in outdoor recreation has only relatively recently received attention from the research community. An empirical treatment of this shifting and multi-dimensional construct has proved challenging. This study attempts to capture the subtle and divergent qualities of environmental ethics by focusing on a range of foundational aspects evident in the field, such as degrees of non-anthropocentricism, zoocentrism versus ecocentrism, and religiously based obligations towards nature. A sample of rock climbers (N=70) in the Adirondacks and in Southwestern Vermont provided the context in which to understand environmental ethics for this study. Particular attention was paid to synthetic versus natural methods of introduction to the sport of rock climbing and different approaches to participation. An exploratory factor analysis of the data allowed for a new configuration of environmental ethics to emerge and for distinctions in ethics across types of climbers to be considered. This ethic gains strength from a form of environmental pragmatism that seeks to guide actions through a range of ethical theories and commitments. Finally, management implications based on these different configurations of environmental ethics and of differences in ethics based on climbing types are explored.
Stuessy, T. L.,
& Anderson, J.
Environmental Ethics of Rock Climbers in the Adirondacks: A Quantitative Approach.
Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 1(1).