Dr. Cafaro's scholarly work centers on ethics, particularly environmental ethics and virtue ethics, and their intersection specifying a positive vision for people flourishing within nature, rather than overwhelming it. He is the author of Thoreau's Living Ethics: Walden and the Pursuit of Virtue and How Many Is Too Many? The Progressive Argument for Reducing Immigration into the United States. He is an affiliated faculty member of CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability and past president of the International Society for Environmental Ethics. He is currently writing a book exploring conceptions of virtue, or human excellence, among America's revolutionary generation, and their potential application to contemporary moral and political challenges.

For the past two years, Cafaro and Swedish ecologist Frank Gotmark have been co-principle investigators on a new effort, The Overpopulation Project, headquartered at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. With help from a generous grant from the Global Challenges Foundation, they have been studying the environmental impacts of overpopulation and exploring humane policies to end population growth around the world. Initial publications include “Aging Human Populations: Good for Us, Good for the Earth” in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and “Policy-based Population Projections for the European Union: A Complementary Approach” in Comparative Population Studies. Cafaro's full curriculum vita can be found here.