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ERI researcher named 2021 Winner of Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy

The International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE) is pleased to announce publicly the winner of the 2021 Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy. This year’s honoree has made important contributions that provide a distinctive example of critical contemporary work in public environmental philosophy.

This year’s Light Award winner is Dr. Kian Mintz-Woo of UCC’s Environmental Research Institute and the UCC Department of Philosophy. ISEE established the award to promote work in public philosophy and honor contributions to the field by Dr. Andrew Light, who was recognized for his distinctive work in public environmental philosophy at ISEE’s 2017 annual summer meeting. With this award, ISEE strives to recognize public philosophers working in environmental ethics and philosophy, broadly construed, and who bring unique insights or methods that broaden the reach, interaction, and engagement of philosophy with the wider public. This may be exemplified in published work or engagement in environmental issues of public importance.

Dr. Mintz-Woo is an early career scholar who has already demonstrated a sustained commitment to publicly engaged philosophy. As a graduate student at University of Graz, Kian Mintz-Woo founded, organized, and contributed to the Climate Footnotes blog, bringing climate-related philosophical work to broader publics. In addition, he helped to develop a public art exhibition, Exhibition CliMatters, which was shown in multiple venues in Austria and drew over 1700 visitors.

As a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, Dr. Mintz-Woo collaborated with Professor Peter Singer on an article, “Put a Price on Carbon Now!” published in Project Syndicate on May 7, 2020. An expanded version of this article was published in 2021 in the journal Climate Policy. In his current post as a lecturer at UCC, Dr. Mintz-Woo has continued and expanded his public-facing work, with several notable contributions in the past year. These include a live radio interview with RTE’s Ryan Tubridy reporting from the United Nations COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland; a feature story co-authored with Dr. Simona Capisani (Princeton University) on talking with children about climate change in the Irish Examiner; and an article in The Conversation about carbon capture and storage.

Dr. Mintz-Woo has also engaged with policymakers, including through participation in a spring 2021 event organized by Canada’s Citizens’ Climate Lobby, “Creating a Balanced Future,” which addressed provincial parliamentarians. Moreover, Dr. Mintz-Woo encourages and supports public philosophical work and greater attention to climate change within the philosophical profession. In 2021, this work included an interview with Engaged Philosophy blog and an article in the Climate Matters series for the Blog of the American Philosophical Association.

Dr. Kian Mintz-Woo’s academic writing focuses on climate ethics, particularly carbon pricing, discounting, and the social cost of carbon. The Andrew Light Award recognizes both the social salience of this work and Dr. Mintz-Woo’s sustained efforts in fostering broader public conversations about climate change and climate policy.