This is my first post here, so first, a brief introduction. My background's in engineering, which is why I'm here to talk about... ethics? Yes, ethics. Why should we spend time talking ethics? Because ethics is about what's right and wrong, and what we should do. What recommendations we make for handling climate change or biodiversity or any other ecological issue (or any other issue) depend entirely on what our ethical views are. More importantly, thinking through ethics can help us get better ideas for these recommendations- or at least that's what I've found, and I suspect you will too.
I've been drawn to ecological economics since I learned of it last fall because of its its desire to integrate engineering, ethics, and everything in between into one transdisciplinary body of knowledge that will help us solve our big problems. I also share a lot of eco eco's concerns with "mainstream" economics. I'm just starting out in Penn State's PhD program in geography, which is also a broad, integrative field. There, I expect to study the impacts of climate on quality of life. Finally, I'll be at USSEE's conference next week- hope to see some of you there.
But enough about me. Let's talk about us. Specifically, what do we value? Eco eco is (I think to it's credit) pluralist, so there may be no one answer to this question, but even if no consensus can be reached, we can make our own arguments stronger. I'm currently a utilitarian; I suspect many here may have similar views, but others may not. You're welcome to disagree with me, and perhaps you'll inspire me to change my views.
In that spirit of open discourse, let's begin. Here's an outline of some things I'm already planning to discuss, but in separate posts:
* Future discounting. Should we do so, and if so, how?
* Valuing non-human animals. Do they count for anything, and if so, how do we figure out how much?
* Valuing the environment. Does it have any intrinsic value, or is it only valuable as a means of supporting/improving our lives?
I'll make each of these into separate posts for more focused discussion, but feel free to post initial thoughts below and to suggest other topics.
However, what I'm most curious to hear from all of you is what, more generally, do you value? How much have you already thought about ethics? And what, if any, ethical views do you currently have? Also, what do you see as the ethical underpinnings of ecological economics? Should it be pluralist or should it strive for consensus here? As starting points, see for example the Draft ISEE Position on Economic Growth (pdf) or the CASSE Position on Economic Growth. Also, Wikipedia has a good section on ethics. This seems like a good place to begin discussion, especially since I'm new here and don't know yinz so well.
Note: "Yinz" is Pittsburghese for "y'all". Go Stillers!