Ecological Consciousness and Climate Change in Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Fairly Traceable | Assignment Collections |



This article substantiates the need for environmental awareness and education on ecological responsibility. It builds its argument on the paradigm presented in “Fairly Traceable” by Mary Kathryn Nagle. It follows the love tale of two Native Americans with different identities. The two young adults face the problem of integrating individual career goals with environmental advocacy. The difficult predicament is the result of one party’s ecological awareness and the other’s reluctance to value and safeguard the environment while witnessing the disastrous repercussions of climate change. Nagel utilizes their narrative to expose the culpability of huge oil firms, companies that pollute the environment, and climate change deniers. The playwright emphasizes the need for ecological awareness, motivating inquiry into the level of environmental awareness among Native American tribes. Various kinds of research provide the parameters necessary to evaluate the environmental consciousness of the populace. A study of the same indicates poor levels of ecological awareness. Diverse characters’ attitudes and acts demonstrate a lack of ecological education, which encourages environmental irresponsibility. The analysis demonstrates the need for ecological education in the pursuit of ecological consciousness among the characters in Nagel’s play. The desired outcome is to prevent potential environmental disasters through ecological thinking, environmental campaigning, and enhanced regulatory frameworks.

Keywords: ecological awareness, climatic change, ecological education, sustainable development, ecological thought, environmental responsibility


“Fairly Traceable” by Mary Kathryn Nagle elucidates the impending environmental catastrophe if no action is taken. The play is set in the future and tries to educate audiences about the potential consequences of failing to understand the ecology and to put a stop to all of the bad practices that irresponsible people engage in to enrich themselves while destroying the ecosystem (Nagle). Numerous cases dismissed by conservative courts on the basis of Justice Antonin Scalia’s ‘fairly traceable’ doctrine inspired the play. The idea has been abused on multiple occasions to excuse ecological irresponsibility and absolve liable individuals, further endangering the ecosystem. Such plays and other advocacy and informative techniques are required in today’s negligent society. Humans inhabit a world that values environmental irresponsibility. By driving fossil fuel-powered vehicles, using tractors in agriculture, consuming beef, and installing air conditioners, corporations and individuals normalize irresponsibility.

The 1992 Supreme Court decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia illustrates the irresponsible failure to safeguard the environment based on the assumption that all humans participate in harming the ecosystem. The argument at least misleads the world into believing that oil and gas companies and their equivalents are not responsible for environmental devastation. The concept exemplifies the erroneous notion that climate change is a hoax (Nagle). It protects corporations functioning in the corporate sector from the appropriate penal measures. It allows them to continue exposing the globe and oceans to alarming temperature increases. Nagle has no qualms about exposing this phony belief system. The acclaimed dramatist discusses the importance to safeguard land, water, and the atmosphere for future generations. She is acutely aware of the urgent need to maintain human welfare, beginning with the constitutional principles and the institutions intended to uphold them. She handles the delicate matter from an unorthodox position that shatters common views and introduces a worthy new viewpoint.

In the current era of massive environmental destruction and instantaneous effects, Nagle’s perspective is extremely pertinent. In contrast to the majority of people, the screenwriter regards the terrible outcomes as a lesson worth imparting to the world. She believes that despite big authority’s reluctance, regular citizens may force the government to take responsibility for the environment through legal means (Nagle). Her dramatic twist enables her to skip all other recognizable tragedies and rush directly to the famed environmental calamities that could have been avoided if the appropriate efforts had been done in a timely manner. The drama depicts the catastrophic circumstance in which a whole Tulane Law School campus had to be relocated in the future. The predicaments of the students are due to the environmental demise of New Orleans and several other coastal places (Nagle). It illustrates the prospect of such calamitous outcomes if people do not adjust their approach to environmental pollutants instead of justifying them with similarly uninformed doctrines. Importantly, the play emphasizes the necessity for environmental consciousness, which is intended in part to eradicate such misguided beliefs (Saeidi et al. 45). A central theme of the play is the idea of creating a society in which individuals take responsibility for their actions rather than imitating or outperforming others.

The message conveyed by Nagle’s Fairy Traceable is significantly more pertinent to the current day than what people superficially communicate on a daily basis. Just twenty years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated property and killed more than 1800 people (Nagle). South Korea and Pakistan are experiencing a similar situation in 2022. Continually, floods and typhoons destroy property, kill people, and displace others. All of the damage is a result of the failure to safeguard the environment and the careless propensity to shelter those who continually deface it. From Nagle’s perspective, the never-ending cycle of environmental catastrophes stems from the repeated errors humans make in addressing environmental challenges, and he urges global education on the subject. Fortunately, irresponsibility may be avoided if the proper actions are taken to address the problem (Saeidi et al. 45). Nagle advises looking for alternatives to the destruction of Native American sites. Hers is spreading the message that the globe can still be preserved if individuals are aware of the proper responses to environmental challenges. In her perspective, ecological consciousness and the dedication to learn and absorb its precepts are important in the fight against climate change.

The play by Nagle emphasizes the necessity for a balance between professional aspirations and environmental advocacy. The drama also emphasizes the possibility of Native American identity and environmental activism. It illustrates a gap between contemporary society’s views of the identity of Native Americans and environmental advocacy (Nagle). It raises the question of whether people can successfully balance being who they were born to be, doing what is economically advantageous, and maintaining a healthy environment. This question extends beyond awareness of what is happening to the environment to encompass environmental responsibility. It demands research on how knowledgeable people are about the health of the environment, their desire to advocate for the ecological system, and their capacity to modify laws that are incompatible with the fight against continued climate change. This study uses a variety of research methods to determine these factors in support of efforts to preserve the ecological system. It is founded on Nagel’s notion that people can and should adopt new identities that give them the freedom to make the law serve the ecology’s current and future well-being, rather than merely chasing profits. Awareness of the requirements of the environment is of particular relevance to the study, as it is the cornerstone of educated and successful advocacy.

Literature Review

It is unjust, in Nagle’s view, that the law can be used to defend environmental change perpetrators, when they should be held accountable for what happens to the victims. She views this as a form of disenfranchisement and feels the law should be modified to safeguard the environment and those affected by environmental change. Moreover, she believes that it is essential for Indigenous people to discuss the environment from their perspective. The fact that they have been defending the ecological system for a long time gives them a lot more credible perspective than newcomers. However, their knowledge of the subject is much more significant, as being knowledgeable about the past, present, and future forms the basis of their perspective. For instance, they require information regarding corporate environmental polluters, climate change deniers, and the culpability of big for-profit corporations. Ecological consciousness refers to the human relationship with the environment as a state of mind (Cherdymova 167). It investigates the philosophical capacity of humans in relation to the natural world. The complex composition of psychological endowment includes knowledge and application of environmental laws, emotions, and ethics, as well as all other overlapping components.

As a whole entity, environmental consciousness can be approached from a variety of valid angles. Given that they are all the creations of a single human and culminate in the finding of the ecological conceptions people possess, they all share a common technique (Yazevich, Kalinina & Zhironkina 2). Consciousness is a wide-ranging phenomenon that enables introspection, comprehension of associated rules, ecological system production, and a variety of other activities. The functions aid in determining whether or not a person is environmentally concerned. They also elevate an individual to the desired level of environmental consciousness. The functions are also the basis of ecological favorability knowledge, which determines how well an individual performs in meeting the needs of the environment. They assist humans in achieving their task of harmoniously interacting with the natural world and enhancing the ecosystem (Bührle & Kimmerle 3). In this way, environmental consciousness can be measured by the performance of each individual in each function. In addition, environmental awareness can be gauged by observing how individuals prioritize ecological system-related issues. People that are sincerely engaged in interacting positively with the environment typically prioritize the patterns of growing natural ecosystems (Bührle & Kimmerle, 2). It entails possessing the proper ideals and doing everything possible to improve the natural environment. Overall, ecological consciousness consists of both human-centric and environment-centric elements that drive decisions intended to promote the welfare of the environment.

People whose ideals allow them to interact with nature and the natural world are seen as ecologically conscious. Feeling and experiencing oneness with the ecological system is indicative of concern for the environment (Bührle & Kimmerle, p. 4). However, environmental education plays a significant role in fostering these values and maintaining the link. People at all educational levels, including preschool, high school, and university institutions, as well as other levels, require environmental education (subhi 192). Such education is crucial for ecological consciousness because it enables the development of an environmental culture among individuals of varying ages. It implies that ecological consciousness can be measured by carefully evaluating educational institutions. For instance, it is possible to examine the ecological consciousness of Native Americans by evaluating their educational system. This type of evaluation, while inconclusive, can provide information on the degree to which the culture of Indigenous peoples embraces and serves the natural world. For instance, the evaluation can include the ecological assessment of a certain population by determining whether the learning tools they employ are sufficiently optimized to foster and sustain an environmental culture.

The system of education should enable students to recreate environmental information content and methodologies. One can evaluate the system by determining whether it generates environmentally cognizant pupils whose environmental knowledge and values are distinct from their spirituality and morals (Gudmanian et al. 4). Students are successfully imbued with ecological consciousness due to the system’s capacity to implant ecological thinking, inspire ecologically oriented emotions, and elicit the appropriate behaviors. The protégés of such a system are likely to be environmentally conscientious and responsible (Liobikien & ePokus, p. 2). Students’ capacity to interact effectively with the environment is replicated through the use of modern learning technology. A system of education that is ecologically oriented assists students in reviving and expanding their environmental awareness, and ultimately in acquiring the appropriate level of the same. In this sense, one might determine the potential eco-centricity of a student by examining whether the system is designed to replicate students’ ecological thinking skills (Ma 62). When the products of the education system adopt the proper environmental practices, ecological education becomes the foundation of ecological consciousness. In the case of Native people, their educational system must be geared toward instilling sustainable development-oriented beliefs, emotions, and behaviors.

Ecological education is intended to alter the social standing of students. A person’s education should transform him or her from an individual who is not responsible for the environment to one who has the discipline to apply the principles of sustainable development in practice. Only if the system permits pupils to have the appropriate personal and cultural perspective of the environment can it be deemed successful in fostering ecological consciousness among Native students (Cherdymova et al. 167). The behavior of students who studied in such a system is indicative of those who avoid disturbing the natural order. Instead, the individual strives to maintain equilibrium in every manner imaginable. People that are environmentally conscientious are aware that the environment is a product of nature and a means of growth. Learning and internalizing this implies that the environmentally conscious person recognizes the environment as a gift from nature and executes all acts with a mindset of sustainability. For instance, if Native Americans are ecologically conscious, they recognize that nature is the source of their ecological system. To this end, ecologically conscious individuals advocate for sustainable actions and avoid anything that could negatively impact the environment. Understanding one’s responsibility to the environment and carrying it out are components of self-realization in which a person recognizes the interconnectedness of all acts. Useful and replicable are education systems that encourage the development of this consciousness.

Education designed to promote ecological awareness should aid individuals in gaining a comprehensive understanding of nature. Nature has multiple philosophical meanings, all of which should be internalized because they are the foundations of ecological consciousness. One of the definitions of nature is that it combines everything (Abakare 103). The definition considers the natural scientific approach that enables an objective understanding of nature. It proposes seeing the earth as an independent phenomenon distinct from humans. The separation permits the planet to be viewed as something that evolves independently, and this should be considered in studies. The second definition adopts an ecological perspective (Abakare 108). In this perspective, the concept of sustainable development supports the belief that the earth should be regarded as an ecosystem that serves as a habitat for humans. The concept takes into account the co-evolution of humans and the earth, which have distinct modes of natural existence and rules of development. The third definition adopts an existential stance. According to this viewpoint, nature is pervasive, making it important to the evolution of all naturally occurring phenomena. In this regard, humanity and the earth are separate components of nature. Their evolution is unique, but they also influence one another, making each state dependent on the other. The fourth definition examines an ontological perspective (Abakare 113). It explains that humans should consider their existence from the standpoint of natural existence. The approach teaches that humanity should be aware of self-nature as part of the planet and take an arbitrary standpoint in relating to it. It involves assuming responsibility for the planet and its development when considering the same elements for oneself.

The four definitions enable humans to comprehend their relationship with the world as an infinite phenomenon. They help humans surpass their understanding of their relationship with the planet beyond the current confines. Transcending the limited view is considered living in reality (Boccio 113). Except for the first definition, all others pursue the lesson that humans develop as products of the environment; comprehending this is the start of ecological consciousness. They advocate the notion that humans should integrate their knowledge of the planet from the perspective of dealing with concepts as opposed to happenings. Considering the nature of existence from an ideological standpoint elevates the level of human thought. Implementing the concept of sustainable development at higher levels is simple and possibly fruitful. People must be taught that they are a part of nature and that they interact with the earth as a unit. In this way, people see the need to care for the planet by viewing it as a component of nature whose health reflects that of humans. Consideration of nature’s unity is the beginning of ecological thought and the basis of ecological consciousness. People can form an ecological culture if they have this foundation.

Another aspect of ecological awareness is advocating for environmental law reform. The focus of Nagel’s play is the responsibility of oil companies. The notion of “reasonably traceable” is used to exonerate companies despite the fact that their negligence is the cause of hurricanes and other environmental calamities (Nagle). In this instance, the applicable law is permeable and unreliable. A high level of environmental irresponsibility is demonstrated by shielding guilty parties from the legal duty they should have for climate change victims. The legislation should be more effective in prosecuting all parties responsible for environmental devastation. Environmental rule of law seeks to address all the fundamentals of establishing order in the environmental sector (Wu & Tang 2). The resolution of environmental challenges goes beyond moral education. It necessitates the deployment of numerous measures to ensure the law’s successful implementation. Environmental regulations can be enforced using moral ideals as legal standards (Gudmanian et al. 5). As rules, moral standards can limit the connection between humans and the natural world. They can help reduce the harmful activities that individuals and corporations engage in to benefit themselves, but which ultimately hurt the environment. The development of a normative system is one of the objectives of environmental legislation. People learn and internalize the limits they should not surpass when interacting with the environment from the system. Learning the constraints and implementing them is a component of developing ecological consciosness.


The quest for understanding the Native characters’ ecological consciousness level in Nagel’s play necessitates an appraisal of the same. The documentary ‘Fairly Traceable’ focuses on the lives of Native American youth. Erin, a Chitimacha, meets Randy, a Ponca, and they attempt to create a balance between their career ambitions and environmental campaigning (Nagel). However, disagreements begin to emerge between the two young lovers. Nonetheless, different conceptions of environmental advocacy are crucial. Erin has a negative track record with climate change. She holds oil firms accountable for spewing poisonous gases into the atmosphere and leading to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which had devastating effects on her community. Erin’s resentment pushes her to sue the oil firms, one of which becomes the employer of her romantic partner. Erin and Randy’s conflict stems in part from their divergent environmental conscience. Their divergent historical experiences also add to the repercussions.

The play by Nagel demonstrates a lack of ecological awareness. Several characters in the play have a blatant disregard for the health of the world. For instance, Randy’s covert job search at an energy business indicates that he rejects the reality of climate change (Nagel). Since he watched the devastation caused by the two hurricanes, his actions are uninformed. However, he does not appear to blame the oil giants for their destructive deeds. Randy’s conduct renders him equally culpable. His refusal to embrace Erin’s environmental work portrays him as a climate change skeptic. His backing for a polluting corporation is sufficient cause to connect him with society’s culpable elements (Gudmanian et al. 5). It reveals much about his educational background. Unlike Erin, Randy’s actions demonstrate that his school system was not meant to create a sense of environmental responsibility. Additionally, as a Native, Randy should have been in the vanguard of efforts to protect the ecological system. Randy’s background indicates that he has some environmental consciousness. The education system did not, however, accentuate and replicate these ideals in him.

Randy’s behavior is indicative of a lack of psychological endowment, emotions, and ethics typical of ecologically conscious individuals (Tsabolova et al. 2027). In contrast to Erin, the young man is environmentally reckless, since he joins an oil firm that is partially responsible for the ecological calamities afflicting the land. If anything, he lacks the cognitive abilities required for ecological thinking, as he is aware of the disastrous effects of climate change, yet his action is unaffected by this knowledge. Due to a lack of ecological education, he speculates that his community may have a greater number of individuals with a similar lack of environmental awareness. Ecologically concerned individuals are more eager to fight for the environment’s welfare, a trait that Randy lacks (Nagel). Worse still, the young man’s unwillingness to sacrifice for the good of the world reveals that he is misinformed and unwilling to contribute to the development of a more favorable regulatory environment. The message of Nagel to the world is that it is possible to make productive use of one’s energies by campaigning for the modification of adverse laws. Taking on such responsibility may necessitate giving up certain things, such as career aspirations at an irresponsible oil company.

Arguably, the nature of capitalism will put one’s moral compass to the test. Fast-paced modern lifestyles are such that the pressure to keep up with the contemporary life requirements demands getting integrated into the reckless economic system. Not everyone will be willing to make hard choices or sacrifices for the sake of mother nature. However, people’s reluctance to address the causes of ecological disasters reveals a lack of ecological awareness of how dire environmental degradation truly is, particularly in highly industrialized societies. One could argue that modern society prefers to turn a blind eye until the issue becomes so dire that a response is required. In the play, the submerged city of New Orleans and the permanent submersion of Martha’s Vineyard represent the results of human and corporate actions (Nagel). In hindsight, this indicates that those who lived in the years preceding the disastrous outcomes did not recognize and alter the contributing factors. The failure of this generation to value the environment and pursue sustainable development demonstrates an inability to understand and act environmentally. The catastrophe was caused by a lack of proactiveness in this particular civilization, and nothing could be done to alleviate it in the event of the crisis. Nagel desires to abolish a worrying social condition well in advance of the impending consequences within the following two decades. She encourages the audience to evaluate their ecological awareness and potential to prevent looming disasters; in other words, to be proactive about the state of the environment in which they live.


The future’s conceivable states are used in Nagel’s play to emphasize the incorrect opinions the current generation has regarding the environment. The intelligent drama emphasizes the necessity for environmental awareness. The dramatist is eager to substantiate this necessity by illustrating the calamities and disparities that may occur in the future if people do not seek ecological consciousness and do everything it requires now. Nagel outlines what the current generation must do to preserve future generations. She begins by identifying the issue and then describes the difficulties of resolving it in an already troubled future. In addition, the screenplay examines the necessity for environmental awareness and identifies the symptoms of groups of people who lack ecological awareness. All of the material in the enjoyable play proposes diagnosing the community in order to determine its level of ecological awareness. It also involves modifying systems to align with intended outcomes and thereafter evaluating people’s behavior for signs of change.

The author demonstrates potential means of sabotaging an oncoming tragedy by way of illustration. She has at least assumed the duty of highlighting a subject that is frequently overlooked. She has also advised the globe against pursuing a path that will likely lead to catastrophes. The dramatist employs the medium of entertainment to highlight a flaw in the nation’s legal system. According to her, the law permits environmental irresponsibility to flourish under the principle of fair traceability. Allowing the vice demonstrates a lack of ecological awareness. She artistically presents an unfavorable portrait of ecologically unaware individuals, so presenting an opportunity to investigate the issue and identify potential remedial ways.

People, according to Nagel, should seek a strategy for developing an ecological culture. The culture empowers people to be ecologically responsible, teaches them to think with the world in mind, and permits them to employ legal tools to achieve environmental justice (Jiang, Wang, & Zeng 390). According to research, an ecological culture can be fostered in students if their education is appropriately geared towards that end. The primary recommendation is that societies use the educational system to foster a culture that prioritizes environmental health. Traditional and contemporary institutions should enhance learners’ environmental advocacy and impart additional skills to promote their development into responsible individuals. The activities of learners should demonstrate a change in their thoughts and feelings upon completion of the educational system. Despite these developments, the true definition of ecological consciousness is doing everything possible to conserve the environment and advocate for its preservation (Ma 60). Ecological awareness can only be demonstrated by actions. Some of the characters in Nagel’s “Fairy Traceable” are disqualified by this reality, as their actions lack these characteristics. Randy’s actions were detrimental to the environment, making him and those who resemble him, environmental offenders.


There are numerous effective proposals for enhancing ecological consciousness and environmental responsibility. Among them is the creation of an education system that effectively alters the social position of students. An in-depth examination of the proposed education system suggests that learning should be designed to alter the cognitive and emotional capacity of individuals. Education systems should be designed to assist students in altering their thought processes, emotions, and values (Schuman et al. 2). A successful system accomplishes this by encouraging students to prioritize the environment. The system should facilitate a sense of unity between students and the ecological system. It should deepen the learners’ interaction with the environment so that they can meet its requirements in the most effective manner. Doing so can guarantee a social status transition from an irresponsible identification to that of an individual who employs the ideas of sustainable development.

Changes can also be made to the educational system to make humans the focal point of the planet (Whitburn, Linklater, & Abrahamse 188). The majority of educational systems instruct that humans are the subjects and nature is the object. The subject-object interaction produces an unfavorable perspective in which the two are perceived as adversaries. The relationship promotes the evolution of a mindset in which humans develop an anthropocentric ecological consciousness and precipitate environmental catastrophes. However, reversing the relationship can convince humans of the need to consider the needs of the environment rather than only their own (Gudmanian et al. 7). It inculcates a sense of responsibility in a bid to attain a balanced ecological system. Ecological awareness should help humans recognize the necessity of caring for nature.

Legislating moral values is another viable strategy. Humans fail to maintain the environment in ‘Fairly Traceable’ because moral ideals are not incorporated into the law. Such laws should stem from a moral standpoint rather than enabling unchecked exploitation of natural resources. If the generation preceding the detrimental events considers adopting moral standards to create environmental regulations, the outcome could be different (Wu & Tang 2). There is a strong correlation between moral ideals and ethical behavior in individuals and corporations. Advocating for moral laws can mitigate the deleterious impacts of legal systems and doctrines that absolve environmental polluters of responsibility. In the highlighted instance, environmental campaigning can be more effective if the courts recognize the fair attribution of environmental damage to oil firms.


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