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Environmental Ethics


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The Center is situated at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, and many faculty and students at the Center focus on questions that relate to the surrounding environment. Such questions typically ask what nature is, whether nature has a value, what entities are morally considerable, and what the relationship between humans and nature is or should be.


The Center has a long history with environmental ethics, and has been home to many of the most widely-read environmental ethicists. Past faculty associated with the Center include Dale Jamieson, Marc Bekoff, and Alan Carter. Moreover, the Center has graduated some of the leading environmental philosophers of the recent past (including, but not limited to: Lori Gruen, Ned Hettinger, Jennifer Everett, Rob Figueroa, Steve Kramer, Jon Jensen, Amy Knisley, Sandy Askland, and Stephen Gardiner).


In 2002, the Morris Colloquium was dedicated specifically to questions in environmental ethics. Information about the 2002 Morris can be found here:


The University of Colorado is an ideal locale to conduct research in environmental ethics. Not only is it nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the plains, but it is surrounded by many environmental organizations and resource-intensive industries. Further, the University is renowned for its work in the environmental sciences, which provides for regular collaborative potential on matters of environmental ethics. The University is home to many environmental science and engineering initiatives and centers, including:


  • CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences), which is sponsored jointly by the University of Colorado at Boulder and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association.
  • INSTAAR ( Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research), which brings together faculty from CEA Engineering, Environmental Studies, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC)
  • CDWO (Center for Drinking Water Optimization)
  • Center for Advanced Decision Support in Water and Environmental Systems (CADSWES)
  • Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (CSTPR)
  • The Environmental Studies Program

Michael E. Zimmerman is the author of Contesting Earth's Future (1994) and the general editor of Environmental Philosophy (4th edition). He has published dozens of articles and book chapters about environmental ethics and environmental philosophy.


David Boonin has published work on two topics that are closely related to questions about our duties to the natural environment: our obligations to non-human animals and our obligations to future generations.


Benjamin Hale works primarily in the area of environmental policy and environmental ethics. He has published several articles on transgenic animals and the moral considerability of entities in nature.


John Fisher writes on the aesthetics of nature.


Daniel Sturgis works on questions of environmental aesthetics and the aesthetics of nature.

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