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Welcome[edit | edit source]

Welcome to Environmental and Bioethics - the forum to take responsibility for making the world a better place.

Environmental ethics involves recognition that our actions, however small, will impact upon the natural environment. Environmental Bioethics is particularly concerned with our affect on biota, the living world. Environmentally ethical behaviour is achieved when we minimise any deleterious effects.

The science of Environmental and Bioethics is more important than ever, for since the industrial revolution, mankind has contributed to a significant degradation of our world, with concurrent loss of many species. We are still losing species – many of which are yet to be described. To be environmentally ethical is to accept a moral imperative that results in our behaviour being both informed and sustainable. It involves making decisions – often difficult ones.

Environmental and Bioethics explains the theories that underpin the decision-making process, and with case studies, leads you through some of the choices, with possible outcomes. Importantly, your ideas and cultural perspectives will be of value to both fellow students and to us. As such we encourage discussion on the issues presented. The present course is self-assesed; however we are in the process of developing a peer-assessed programme, where links made with fellow students worldwide.

The course and its contents are an initiative of the International Centre for Environmental and Bioethics[1].

For Educators[edit | edit source]

Ethical practice, pertaining to the environment and living organisms, has for some decades been the focus of symposia in the developed nations. This focus follows recognition that the actions of humanity have lead to significant environmental degradation. Some excellent work has been done in curriculum development, wherein environmental ethics has become mandatory (e.g. in most engineering degrees). However, the message is yet to have wider currency, especially in developing nations and this is the objective of this course.

We encourage educators to direct their students to these courses, or to use the case studies presented to initiate debate within classrooms.

For a basic introduction to the ethical theories presented herein, refer to Philosophy 1100.

Case Studies[edit | edit source]

  1. Animal Rights and Conservation
  2. Dimethylmercury or CO2
  3. Life, but not as we know it
  4. The Tragedy of the Commons