Eco-ethics and the Biosphere

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Science and Society

Sustainable use of the planet is an attractive goal, especially concerning intergenerational ethics. However, a major ecological tipping point has been passed (e.g, melting glaciers) and, in the last three years, evidence has been growing that six interactive global crises are worsening: (1) climate change, (2) overpopulation, (3) loss of biodiversity, (4) ecological overshoot, (5) excessive use of fossil fuels, and (6) inadequate food and water. Earth's biosphere is being increasingly damaged, and all of its component species, including humans, are threatened with extinction. Eco-ethics and sustainablility ethics are key elements in reducing risks in this hazardous situation. Biospheres will continue on Earth as long as life persists, but humans evolved and flourished in the present biosphere and should nurture it. The present biosphere was shaped by and operates within nature's laws, which include evolution, carrying capacity, limits to growth, nutrient and energy cycling, and so on. Humankind's ethical relationship with the biosphere mut acknowledge that humankind is dependent upon natural capital and ecosystem services- impairing or destroying them is suicidal.

eco-ethics, biosphere, tipping points, climate change, overpopulation, loss of biodiversity, ecological overshoot