“But once a climate of common understanding comes to be created around the threat to the environment, the situation changes. There remain, of course, battles between local groups and the general public. Everyone sees the need for a dump, but no one wants it in their back yard. Nevertheless, some local battles come to be seen in a new light, they come to be differently enframed. The preservation of some wilderness areas, for instance, the conservation of some threatened species, the protection against some devastating assault on the environment come to be seen as part of a new common purpose. As so often is the case, the mechanism of inevitability work only when people are divided and fragmented. The predicament alters when there comes to be a common consciousness.

          We don’t want to exaggerate our degrees of freedom. But they are not zero. And that means that coming to understand the moral sources of our civilization can make a difference, in so far as it can contribute to a new common understanding.”