Earth Day 2013

To mark Earth Day 2013, we present a selection of our resources from the past year.

They cover a wide range of topics, including exploring how individuals, governments, and corporations can take on climate change and sustainability; the intersection of ethics and the mining and forestry industries; and the growing sustainability movement in Asia.


Ethics Matter: Environmentalist Bill McKibben on Climate Change
Bill McKibben,
It's wrong to say Americans are addicted to fossil fuel. The addicts are oil and gas company executives, who won't give up their profits. Until we put a price on carbon that reflects the damage it does in the atmosphere, we'll continue to have this catastrophic market failure and moral failure.
(Ethics Matter, October 2012, transcript, audio, video, TV show)

Garrett Cullity on Climate Change
Garrett Cullity, University of Adelaide
Since there is very little any given individual can do to address climate change, there is a problem drawing a line from collective responsibility to individual responsibility. Fortunately, philosopher Garrett Cullity has a solution for morally motivating individuals.
(Public Ethics Radio, July 2012, transcript, audio)

What I Talk About When I Talk About Sustainability
Josh Lasky, College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, University of the District of Columbia
The ease with which sustainability rolls off the tongue these days far surpasses our understanding of it or our implementation. A few changes in attitude could be helpful.
(Policy Innovations article, February 2013)


The Missing Ethics of Mining
Shefa Siegel, University of British Columbia
There is a maddening futility about speaking of "mining," as if it were singular or coherent. It is like talking about "Africa" or addressing the "international community" in the fashion of humanitarians, as if it is all one big thing. Rather, there are many mining industries, and each has its own culture, directives, structure, purpose, and pathologies.
(Ethics & International Affairs article, Spring 2013)

Shefa Siegel on the Ethics of Mining
Shefa Siegel, University of British Columbia
Mining harms the environment irreversibly, yet this is often ignored, and mining is on the increase, often without clear ecological or economic development benefits. "We're still using the model created at the end of the 19th century, but in a very different period, where the resources are increasingly scarce and the economy has changed dramatically."
(Ethics & International Affairs Interviews, February 2013, transcript, audio)

Mining Fair for the Fair-minded
Kenneth Porter, Alliance for Responsible Mining; Evan O'Neil, Carnegie Council
The Alliance for Responsible Mining is working to bring ethical gold to the retail jewelry market through a new Fairtrade and Fairmined Standard.
(Policy Innovations interview, February 2013)

Exporting Expertise: Lessons from Brazil's Forest Success
Doug Boucher, Union of Concerned Scientists; Evan O'Neil, Carnegie Council
It took a broad group of actors to reduce Brazilian deforestation by 75 percent in seven years. Now, their success can be emulated in other tropical countries.
(Policy Innovations interview, February 2013)

The Peculiar Politics of Energy
Ann Florini, Centre on Asia and Globalization, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
The provision of energy services is a matter of basic distributional justice, which the world is failing to achieve. But it would not be technologically impossible to transform the energy sector into one that does a much better job of meeting energy needs without imposing such great costs.
(Ethics & International Affairs article, Fall 2012)


Arctic Stewardship: Maintaining Regional Resilience in an Era of Global Change
Oran R. Young, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara
What sorts of harms arising from changes now occurring in the Arctic are actionable, and who can and should take the actions required to respond to these harms?
(Ethics & International Affairs article, Winter 2012)

Climate Justice and Capabilities: A Framework for Adaptation Policy
David Schlosberg, University of Sydney
This article argues that most well-known approaches to climate justice have two important weaknesses, in that they fail to take advantage of two crucial developments: one, the identification of social and political misrecognition as the key underlying condition of the maldistribution of goods and risks; and two, the influential capabilities approach, which focuses on the specific range of basic needs and capabilities that human beings require to function.
(Ethics & International Affairs article, Winter 2012)

Ethics, International Relations, and Global Environmental Governance
Lorraine Elliott, The Australian National University; See Seng Tan, Centre for Multilateralism Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Lorraine Elliott's recent lecture in Singapore drew on more than a decade of work to canvass ways in which we might understand--and indeed make sense of--the links between ethics and global justice, key organizing principles in international relations, and a critical-practical politics of global environmental governance.
(Report on lecture given in Singapore, November 2012)

Repairing the Shattered Sky
Steve Dorst, Dorst MediaWorks; Evan O'Neil, Carnegie Council
A new film looks at American leadership during the ozone crisis and compares it to the situation with global warming today. The clock is ticking for the United States to step up to the plate this time around.
(Policy Innovations interview, August 2012)

Building Bioregional Politics for an Ecological Civilization: Part 1, 2, and 3
Richard Evanoff, School of International Politics, Economics, and Communication Aoyama Gakuin University; Evan O'Neil, Carnegie Council
Bioregionalism proposes an alternative future in which overconsumption is drastically reduced, the natural environment is preserved, and proactive measures are taken to provide basic needs.
(Policy Innovations interview, August 2012)

Principle vs. Practicality: A Closer Look at the Ethics of Climate Change Adaptation Finance
Leif Wenar, Centre for Medical Law and Ethics, School of Law, King's College London
Mixing the principles of causality, vulnerability, and ability to pay into the negotiations over climate change adaptation is unnecessarily complicated. There are moral and political reasons to opt for a simpler approach.
(Policy Innovations article, June 2012)


Anjana Aravind, The Village International School, Kerala, India
"I live in a small town in India. People have a notion that consumerism is a 'first-world' problem but it is not. Wherever you come from, people measure wealth by how big your cars are and how many things you own. The richer you are, the more waste you generate. But in countries like mine, recycling is a term that is rarely used because there is no infrastructure for that."
(Co-Winner, High School Category, Student/Teacher Essay Contest, “Ethics for a Connected World,” 2012, February 2013)

Green Asia
Nobuo Tanaka, Institute for Energy Economics; Arthur Huang, MINIWIZ
Nobuo Tanaka sees diverse energy sources--including nuclear--as the key to Asia's future and Arthur Huang is the inventor of "POLLI-bricks." This pair of interviews illustrates Asia's commitment to finding sustainable technologies--a commitment perhaps greater than that of the U.S.
(Just Business, Apri 2012, transcript, audio)

Ma Jun: Information Empowers
Ma Jun, Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs; John Haffner, Haffner Group
Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun walks the line between transparency and activism in his quest to clean China's air, land, and water.
(Policy Innovations article, February 2013)