As the destructive consequences of environmental problems such as global warming, water scarcity and resource and biodiversity destruction have been felt ever more heavily, people are becoming more aware of the importance of and their responsibilities towards environmental protection. The causes of our problems are anthropogenic. The number of people working in what might be termed 'environmental industries' or with environmental responsibilities in their day-to-day work has mushroomed. In many cases, however, individuals charged with protecting the environment have a set of empirical priorities: what is done, rather than moral priorities which consider what should be done. The need to harmonise environmental knowledge with ethical behaviour and thus achieve behavioural change and the internalisation of environmentally ethical values has never been more urgent.
Environmental Ethics, developed as part of an EU programme to diffuse the application of environmental ethics to decision-making on pollution control, is a response to the need for a restatement of environmental ethics and for a code of behaviour and set of values that can be internalised and adopted to guide the actions by individuals at the sharp end of protecting the environment: decision-makers and environmental experts/executives/staff working in municipalities and public/government organisations throughout the EU and Turkey. It is nothing short of an ethical training manual that will guide environmental experts/decision-makers in making sound judgements and decisions and will act as a bridge between environmental knowledge and environmental behaviour.
Environmental Ethics will be essential reading for decision-makers and experts working in local authorities and governmental organisations with responsibility for environmental protection: for both graduate and postgraduate students in environment-related disciplines and for vocational education teachers with a focus on the environment.
1. Introduction to environmental ethics
Lesson 1: The complexity of environmental problems
Lesson 2: The socio-economic background and environmental responsibility
Lesson 3: The history of environmentalism
2. Ethics: the search for decision criteria
Lesson 1: Towards a working definition of ethics
Lesson 2: Moral dilemmas
Lesson 3: Defining environmental ethics
3. The challenge to environmental ethics
Lesson 1: Three areas of environmental ethics
Lesson 2: Three levels of environmental reasoning
4. Main approaches to environmental ethics
Moral care for nature
Lesson 1: The anthropocentric view
Lesson 2: The non-anthropocentric view
Lesson 3: Ethical decision-making
5. The need for political and legal regulation
Lesson 1: Why we need political–legal regulation
Lesson 2: Principles for political and legal measures
Lesson 3: Regulation of environmental behaviour
6. From environmental ethics to sustainable decision-making
Lesson 1: Principles of sustainable development and cradle to cradle
Lesson 2: A step-by-step plan for sustainable decision-making
Lesson 3: Two methods for comparative assessment
Lesson 4: Shifting world-views and their contexts
Kees Vromans is a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Studies at HAS Den Bosch, a university for applied studies on animal, plant, nature and environment, where he has worked since 1983. The scope of the department has evolved towards sustainable development. After social work and working as a pastor, he studied philosophy, especially environmental ethics. He developed four modules based on the ideas of his professors Wouter Achterberg and Wim Zweers. The main goal of his work with students is clarifying values. Other fields of interest are sustainable development and internationalisation, the last inspired by the adoption of two girls from Guatemala. A back-to-the-roots trip in 2002 started a new never-ending journey: sustainable solutions worldwide. The next step is reflection on sustainable development using the ‘tools’ of environmental ethics. Kees is holder of a Working and Learning for Sustainable Development (WLSD) award; in 2003 he was winner of the Egg of Columbus, an award for sustainability and innovation by seven Dutch ministries; and in 2006 was nominated for the Sustainable Education in the Tropics (SET) award.
Gamze Isildar is an Assistant Professor at Gazi University, Turkey. She is an environmental engineer with a PhD in the field of environmental ethics. She teaches courses in pollution monitoring and control, environmental policies and legislation, environmental philosophy and ethics, and principles of environmental engineering. She has coordinated several national and international projects. Her areas of interest are environmental ethics, environmental policies, environmental training and public awareness, preparation of environmental management plans for sensitive zones, water quality and sustainable cities and campuses.
Rainer Paslack is a German sociologist, philosopher and human biologist. The main areas of his academic interests are bioethics, environmental ethics and technology assessment in gene technology, biomedicine and eco-sciences. From 1980 to 1994 he was a research assistant at the Institute for the History of Science and Technology of the University of Bielefeld; since 1994 he has been the Research Director of the Department of Technology Assessment at the Corporation for Innovation and Technology Transfer in Biomedicine (GBM) in Bad Oeynhausen (Germany). He has written several books and many articles about biotechnology, the history of science, and environmental ethics and is co-editor of the book series Medicine, Technology and Society.
Jürgen Walter Simon is a German lawyer and economist. The main areas of his academic interest are medical law, biotechnology law, economic law and environmental law. Since 1989 he has been a professor at the Leuphana University Lüneburg; he is a member of the Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences (CELLS) at the Medical University Hannover and Visiting Scholar at the University of London. He is also the Managing Director of the Academy of Finance, Insurance and Law (Hamburg). He has organised or been project partner for many international and national projects all over the world. He is the author of many books and articles, a series editor and co-editor and a member of the advisory board of academic journals.
Rob de Vrind is a Dutch biologist. After graduating from the University of Nijmegen he was a teacher of biology and health studies for 17 years and then worked as sustainability manager at the King William I College in ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. He been involved in many European projects, including Integral Care Systems, Curriculum Greening Europe, Enersol (solar energy), Zu Hause (hydrogen technology), Environmental Ethics, Cradle to Cradle, Our Common Future). He is the founder and chair of Sustainable Vocational Education and Training in the Netherlands and has lectured in Thailand, the USA and Canada. In 2009 he received the sustainability award from the province of Brabant and in 2011 the Prins Bernard Foundation culture and nature award.