Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ethics for an ‘ecological civilisation'

Suvendrini Kakuchi in IPS: Leading Japanese ecologists are pushing for the concept of environmental "ethics" to influence the upcoming Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, an approach they contend will foster accountability towards sustainable development.

"(Environmental) ethics is based on the concept of making people accountable for the preservation of natural resources and biodiversity. By highlighting this aspect, we aim to combat the priority on economic growth that has hijacked previous Earth Summits," said Ryoichi Yamamoto, development expert and professor emeritus at Tokyo University.

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first United Nations summit on sustainable development, this year’s conference, dubbed Rio+20, will negotiate on a transition to a green economy in an effort to preserve the planet’s air, land, water and biodiversity.

But activists worry this crucial debate on the planet’s future will once again – as has been the case since sustainable development was launched as a global issue in 1992 – focus too heavily on anti-pollution technologies and the exploitation of natural resources in service of economic growth.  Such an approach, green activists say, has not adequately provided for protection of the planet’s scarce natural resources and delicate ecosystems.

...He told IPS that excellent scientific research, evaluating ecosystems’ vulnerability to economic growth, has provided ample knowledge to influence policy decisions.  "But what is missing is sustainable development based on the perspective of an ecological civilisation, a civilisation that could exist in harmony with natural systems," he said.  The call for an ethical approach to finding solutions in Rio has gained momentum in Japan after the massive natural disaster that hit the northeastern coasts of the country in March 2011. ...

Sento Imperial Palace, Kyoto, Japan - pond view through trees. Shot by Daderot, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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