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HUMANS AND

SUSTAINABILITY
AN OVERVIEW OF SCIENCE, ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY

There Are Different Philosophies


Concerning Right and Wrong
Behavior
There are several major moral
philosophical systems deal with the
concepts of what constitutes right and
wrong environmental (or other) behavior

Universalism
Plato

(427347 B.C.) and Immanuel Kant (1724

1804)
According

to this view, there are basic principles


of ethics, or rules of right and wrong, that are
universal and unchanging

God

or other sources of wisdom have provided


ethical guidelines

Others

believe that these rules can be discovered


through reason, experience, and knowledge

Utilitarianism
Jeremy

Bentham (17481832) and John Stuart Mill


(18061873)

action

is right if it produces the greatest


satisfaction or pleasure for the greatest number
of people

Critics

contend that this assumes that we can


somehow quantitatively measure happiness and
compare it among different people

Consequentialism
act

is morally right or wrong depends on its


consequences

we

determine correct moral conduct solely by


analyzing the beneficial and harmful
consequences of our actions

Thus,

an action is morally right if its


consequences as a whole are more favorable than
unfavorable

Relativism
ancient
they

Greek teachers called Sophists

disagreed with Platos universalist ethics

asserts

that moral values of right and wrong are


relative to cultures, eras, or situations

there

wrong

are no absolute principles of right and

Rationalism
Ren

Descartes (15961650), Benedict De Spinoza


(16321677), and Gottfried W. Leibniz (16461716)

philosophy
can

based on the power of reason

develop principles of right and wrong by using


logic to analyze ideas and arguments

Nihilism
Friedrich

Nietzsche (18441900)

concepts

of values and moral beliefs are useless


because nothing can be known or communicated

no

purpose or meaning to life except the struggle


to survive in which might is right.

Many Cultures and Religions


Have a Deep Respect for Life
and Nature
Shamanism

holds that all living


creatures have souls or sacred spirits
that should be revered and respected

Shamanism
holds

that all living creatures have souls or sacred


spirits that should be revered and respected

before

killing an animal or cutting a tree, one


should honor and placate the spirit or deity
residing in these forms of life

indigenous

tribal societies of North and South


America, Africa, Asia, and Australia

Shintoism
earliest
all

Japanese religion

trees, animals, and other forms of life and all


natural objects such as mountains, seas, rivers,
and rocks have divine spirits or deities that one
should respect and revere to secure their
continued favor

Shintoism (continuation)
most

prominent values are a sense of gratitude


and respect for life and a deep appreciation of
the beauty and power of nature

establishing

sacred shrines such as groves of trees


or parts of a river that are to be protected from
human degradation and destruction

Buddhism
later

Japanese religion

all

human beings have the potential to attain the


wisdom that can bring an end to suffering,
primarily by dismissing their attachments to
material things

respect

and compassion for life and the earth,


should not unnecessarily kill trees, animals, and
other forms of life, including spiders, rodents,
and forms of life many people regard as pests

Buddhism (continuation)
the

desire to own land and things is a form of


greed that promotes violent conflict,
environmental destruction and degradation, and
chaos

all

life as integrated into a web of mutual


interdependence

ecological

ethic based on restraint, simplicity,


compassion, loving kindness, calmness, patience,
generosity, nonviolence, and wisdom

Taoism
all

systems as coexisting in an interdependent


network which adapts and changes through
dynamic interactions between two opposite
forces, Yin and Yang

through

personal and social change we can


convert the destructive elements of life into
constructive elements and thus achieve harmony
and peace through nonaggressive and peaceful
coexistence

Taoism (continuation)
Taoists

call for us to respect and revere the earth


and all life, they do not believe in trying to
control or manage everything

instead

Taoists believe in preventing trouble


before it arises, focusing on simplicity, and
encouraging those who have too much to give to
those who have too little

Hinduism
developed
consists

in India during the past 3,000 years

of several thousand different religious

groups
calls

for respecting nature by living in harmony


with all life, instead of trying to change or
conquer it

Hindus

believe that a universal God (Brahman) is


present in all nature (including rivers, mountains,
lakes, and minerals), in all creatures, and in all
human beings regardless of their faith or lack of it

Hinduism (continuation)
therefore,

all of nature is sacred and should be


respected and celebrated with gratitude based a
tradition of simple living and nonviolence to
nature and one another

Hinduism

has great respect for the tree, which


helps to explain Indias long history of forest
protection

includes

respect for rivers, such as Indias Ganges,


as holy bodies of water

Abrahamic Religions
Judaism,
Human

Christianism and Islam

is the highest of all the creations

God

granted rights to humans to utilize and enjoy


the Earths resources

God

appointed the Humans to be the caretaker


of His creations, responsible to use it

A New Economic and Environmental Vision

Economic Systems Are Supported


by Three Types of Resources

Economic Systems today are sustainable?

Accountability?
An open ditch containing acid
runoff from a closed coal mine in
the U.S. state of West Virginia.
Often, it is difficult or impossible
to hold polluters responsible in a
court of law. (Photo: William
Campbell/Peter Arnold, Inc.)

Our Ethics, how


far we can extend
it ?

Worldviews?

Worldviews? We are ours?

Interdisciplinary

Natural Capital

Nutrient Cycling, one of


the important natural
services.

But In Reality?

But In Reality?
Global outlook:
comparison of developed
and developing countries,
2008. (Data from the
United Nations and the
World Bank)

Afamily of farmers with all their possessions.


Village in Shingkhey, Bhutan, in the Himalaya
Mountains

Typical U.S. family from Pearland, Texas, with


their possessions

Environmental and social scientists have identified five basic


causes of the environmental problems we face.
Question: What are three ways in which your lifestyle
contributes to these causes?

Sustainable Development

Photo:
Wikipedia

Science of Design!
Natural environment.
Peak District National
Park, England (Google
Earth)

Science of Design!
Built environment.
Bristol, England
(Google Earth)

(Left) Damaged
building by the
Great Sichuan
Earthquake in
China, 2010 and
(Right) landslide
damage on
Sichuan, China,
2010.

Science of Design

Science of
Design
Aerial view of
wastewater
treatment plant,
Davyhulme,
Manchester, UK
(Google Maps,
2012)

The AVAC System

Science of Design

Science
of Design
Noise Barrier
along M1 in
London,
England
(Google Street
View)

Science of
Design
Not just
cities but
mega-urbanregions (MURs)

Science of
Design
Left - Shanghai
MUR (Photo:
Ullstein Hiss/Peter
Arnold, Inc.) and
Right the Asian
Brown Smoke
(Photo:The
SeaWiFS Project,
NASA/Goddard
Space Flight
Center, and
Orbimage)

Science of Design!
Since 1984, citizens
have worked together
to make the city of
Chattanooga,
Tennessee, one of the
most sustainable and
best places to live in
the United States.
(Photo: Chattanooga
Area Convention and
Visitors Bureau)

Science of Design!
Biosphere 2, constructed near
Tucson, Arizona, was designed to
be a self-sustaining life-support
system for eight people sealed
into the facility in 1991. The
experiment failed because of a
breakdown in its nutrient cycling
systems. (Photo: PRNewsFoto /
Huron Valley Travel)

ASSIGNMENT
What are four
scientific
principles of
sustainability?
Explain how
exponential
growth affects
them.
Format
- Handwritten
only
- Short bond
paper only
DEADLINE: Next
Meeting

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