Environmental Ethics It's Not Just for Environmental Engineers

Environmental Ethics It's Not Just for Environmental Engineers

Engineering Principles For a Living Planet Bill Vitek Clarkson University June 14, 2007 The End of the World As We Know It Vital Signs

Up Carbon Creek With a Paddle The Task of Philosophy/Ethics in Times of Transition A Necessary Revolution: In Engineering, Education and Beyond High Stakes and a Long Shot The Paddle: A Failed Mental Model Applied Correctly Nature as Boundless Source and Sink

Human Mind/Knowledge as Sufficient Human Concerns First and Foremost Transgression of Limits Science Engineering Economics Ethical Vital Signs Doomsday clock two minutes closer to

midnight, reflecting global failures to solve the problems posed by nuclear weapons and the climate crisis. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that there is a 90% chance humans are responsible for climate change." Vital Signs

Peak Oil: first trillion barrels consumed in last 100 years; last trillion barrels in next 30 years. (A 22 year old today has lived through a time in which 540 billion barrels of oil has been consumed ~ 437 trillion lbs of new CO2 in the atmosphere). The current rate of species loss is being compared to the five known mass extinction waves. This sixth wave is anthrogenic. One billion people lack access to fresh water. Soil destruction now claims 24 million acres a year

world-wide, about half the size of Kansas, a quarter the size of California or 3.5 Marylands. Vital Signs Two of the most populous nations are becoming two of the largest economies. Human population growth continues to follow an exponential curve. There are currently 27 million slaves in the world, more than at any other time in

human history. Eight nations possess nuclear weapons, and two are working to acquire them. Problems in Carbon Creek Interconnected Technology often makes matters worse Early daylight savings increased energy use The recipe for success is broken Unleash human ingenuity

Harness and commodify natures immense and complex forces (90 million acres of US corn in 07) Enjoy the new and improved world that results Repeat A Trip To Exponentialville http://wolf.readinglitho.co.uk/mainpages/

http://www.oilcrisis.com/midpoint.htm http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/ http://www.susps.org/overview/ http://www.whole-systems.org/extinctions.html Beyond the Rock is a Hard Place We are nearly at the end of a line of

thinking that is no longer supportable by the material and energy conditions upon which it rests. We need to dismantle the worldview that is dismantling the world. Ethics Across the Curriculum is one way to describe it. Engineering Education is a great place to start.

Changing Our Minds/et New Conceptual Models New/Old Standards Renewed Respect for Boundaries Ethical Epistemological Ecosystemic What is Engineering? Engineeringis the direction of the sources

of the power of nature for the use and convenience of man. It is the link, the bridge between man and nature; a bridge over which man passes into nature to control it, guide it, understand it, and the bridge over which nature and its forces pass to get into mans field of interest and service Nicholas Murray Butler, Nobel Laureate and President of Columbia University, 1901-1945

What is Engineering? Engineering is the art of modeling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyze so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance. A.R. Dyes, British Institution of Structural Engineers, 1976

Assumptions Mind-Reality Interface Knowledge is Possible Knowledge is Power Divide and Conquer Nature is Passive The Whole is Equal to the Sum of its Parts

Assumptions Continued Technical and Scientific Knowledge are Value Free All Mistakes are Fixable Cross that bridge when we come to it Knowledge accumulates and drives out ignorance Assumptions Challenged Nature is not passive

Whole not equal to the sum of the parts Knowledge is not value free Ignorance increases with increased knowledge Some mistakes are less fixable than others Greater Knowledge=Greater Responsibility Engineering and Environmentalism Sources: 1880s-1940s Conservation

Sinks: 1950s-1980s Pollution Control Systems: 1990s-Present Sustainability Life Cycle Analysis Industrial Ecology Ethics and Environmentalism

Sources Conservation Utilitarianism Anthropocentrism Sinks Rights Individualism Systems

Species Ecosystems An Ecospheric Ethos Engineering* is a tool for living well in the world. This world is alive, interconnected and crowded. The tool is limited by ethics, ignorance, and the net primary

production of ecosystems. * Or science, politics, economics, etc. Proposition One: No Harm Thoughtlessly and/or willingly destroying life or limiting the diversity and co-evolution of life, especially at the level of species, is a moral wrong. Aldo Leopolds injunction to keep all

the parts. Proposition Two: No Hubris Human beings are the unintended offspring of evolutionary biology, and as such lack any special or pre-ordained tools for divining the worlds inner workings. We should behave as if our ignorance will always exceed our knowledge. It will.

(Dyes definition of engineering) Proposition Three: No Hurry All life depends on sunlight and the complex and integrated chemical and thermodynamic processes it powers. Net Primary Production (NPP) is the

term that describes the energic and organic material production of these ecosystem processes. Proposition Three: No Hurry NPP is constrained by many factors and cannot be substantially improved, increased or sped up over time without the addition of inputs from outside the system. (HaberBosch Process)

The Wells are more important than the Pumps. Proposition Three: No Hurry Across the board this drawdown is increasingly noticeable in the exploitation of soils, aquifers, oil and natural gas. These are one-time draw downs. We cant speed up natural processes.

Our only option is to slow ourselves down. Engineering 21st Century Curricula Acknowledge 19th Century Discoveries 2nd Law of Thermodynamics Evolutionary Biology Ecosystem Complexity Engineering 21st Century Curricula

Five Years Biology-Ecology Sequence Precautionary Principle Engineering Forensics Course History of Engineering Engineering 21st Century Curricula More Liberal Arts Public Service Requirement Public Orientation of Graduate

Education Limits Credo: No Harm, No Hubris, No Hurry Engineering 21st Century Curricula Integrate Green Engineering Principles http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/article.cgi/estha g-a/2003/37/i05/pdf/303anastas.pdf http://www.epa.gov/oppt/greenengineering/ pubs/whats_ge.html

Why This is So Difficult Flashy Brains Genesis Prometheus

The Enlightenment Manifest Destiny Geological Inheritance Crediting the Brains (the Pumps) rather than the Inheritance (the Well) Bacteria in a Petri Dish and the Evolutionary Disposition to Live to Excess http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/u/up_the_creek_without_a_paddle.asp

A Necessary Revolution A New Founding Revolutionary Thinkingand Action At the Outer/Inner Most Boundaries The Ecosphere The Human Mind Using the Tree of Knowledge to Protect the Tree of Life A True Test and Testament of a Well-Developed

Neo-Cortex Theres Still Time Revolutionary Thinking is in Our Heritage The most meaningful work that we can do is to Build receptivity into the still unlovely human mind.*

Beginning with our own.. *Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac The Precautionary Principle History Hippocrates (5th Century BCE): Do No Harm Public Health Germany in 1970s: Vorsorgenprinzip or Foresight

Principle The Precautionary Principle Definition from 1992 Rio Conference "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible

damage, full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation." Ref: http://habitat.igc.org/agenda21/rio-dec.html The Precautionary Principle Principles People have a duty to take anticipatory action to prevent harm. "If you have a

reasonable suspicion that something bad might be going to happen, you have an obligation to try to stop it. The burden of proof of harmlessness of a new technology, process, activity, or chemical lies with the proponents, not with the general public. Source: http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0398/et0398s4.html The Precautionary Principle

Principles Before using a new technology, process, or chemical, or starting a new activity, people have an obligation to examine "a full range of alternatives" including the alternative of doing nothing. Decisions applying the precautionary principle must be "open, informed, and democratic" and "must include affected parties." Source: http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0398/et0398s4.html

The Precautionary Principle In action EPA and OSHA in 1970s Canada: Federal Policy (2003) Quebec Pesticide Laws (2002) American Public Health Association endorsement (2000)

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