Jul 15, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2013-2014 
Undergraduate Record 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

ISHU 4850 - The Ethics of Sustainability

The idea of sustainable development first gained currency with the release of the 1987 UN report on the environment and economic development, Our Common Future. Today many writers speak of a 21st century ‘sustainability revolution’ which aims at: 1) ‘correcting’ the negative environmental consequences of the industrial revolution, 2) continuing with but redefining ‘economic growth’, and 3) moving beyond the relatively narrow concerns of late 20th century ‘environmentalism’ by integrating environmental issues into issues of social and economic justice. All this means addressing not only such traditional ‘environmental’ problems as preserving biodiversity, upgrading air and water quality, and countering global warming, but also addressing such ‘non-environmental’ questions as how best to defend human rights, create an alternative to ‘consumerism’, restructure the contemporary corporation, combat pandemics like HIV/AIDS, alleviate ‘world hunger’, reform energy policies, and assess the welcome and unwelcome consequences of both globalization and nationalism. Indeed, some type of long term ‘social revolution’ is being contemplated under the banner of ‘Sustainability’. What would be the ethical justification for such dramatic change? Is it really necessary for human survival or the quality of human life? Is it politically feasible even in the long term? Such broad questions will be examined.

Credits: 3