Environmental Ethics & Justice

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Environmental Ethics & Justice

Finding equitable and just approaches to environmental challenges for human and non-human stakeholders is fundamental for sustainable development. Such approaches require an understanding of moral relationships with, and ethical and normative obligations to, both the natural world and other humans.

At SFS, investigation of environmental ethics and justice is undertaken in collaboration with community partners. This collaboration, along with the SFS model of place-based research Centers, allows for the long-term datasets and cultural awareness that are necessary to fully explore ethics and environmental justice issues.



Students are tasked with drawing upon environmental justice principles, national and regional policies, and developing customary legal norms to examine a range of scenarios which pose ethical conundrums. These include indigenous peoples’ access to natural resources and land rights, development in protected areas, waste management, and transboundary environmental harm. Students participate in field exercises for each scenario, which are often undertaken in collaboration with local government officials, NGOs, and private stakeholders.


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The Amazon is an amazing location to examine the ways in which environmental geography influences how power is gained, legitimized, exercised, and resisted. Students study the concept of environmental justice within the Amazonian region in terms of the particularities of place, culture, and history. They discuss the value of biodiversity, both intrinsic and extrinsic, and consider the environmental ethics of defining these values.


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