Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Fifteen statements in times of pandemics, the Anthropocene [*]

Within geosciences, the label geoethics refers to a school of thought that uses established philosophical concepts to promote responsible professional practices. Initially, geoscientists developed geoethics as an intra-disciplinary field of applied philosophical studies during the last decade. Geoethics reaching beyond the sphere of professional geosciences led to professional, cultural, and philosophical approaches to handle the social-ecological structures of our planet 'wherever human activities interact with the Earth system'; hence, when making the Anthropocene.

1. Although initially designed for professional use, geoethics should support citizens' individual, professional and civic dealings. Nowadays, the technosphere is a vital feature of the contemporary Earth System (or 'human niche'). In these contexts, conceptual benchmarks for geoethical thinking are needed to address i) the operational limits of aspirational stipulations and ii) a stronger socio-political and socio-economic anchorage of geoethical thinking.

2. By delivering analytical insights and resources for affective sense-making, geoethics may enable human agents to mitigate the challenges to sense-making and practices that complex-adaptive social-ecological systems pose for them.

3. Combining insights into complex-adaptive dynamics, social-ecological systems, semiotic-cultural psychology, and geoethics lead to a conceptual perspective of how geoethical practices may evolve into a societal feature.

4. Contemporary humans operate a planetary technosphere to secure their daily living. Nowadays, the technosphere is part of the Earth System. That feature is at the origin of the Anthropocene.

5. Furthermore, citizens need insight into how the Earth System works to make informed decisions. Therefore, the societal responsibility of geoscientists is central because geoscientific expertise is crucial for making anthropogenic change occur.

6. Geoethics can offer citizens cultural baselines (analytical and affective) when facing the human niche's complex-adaptive (wicked) features, such as anthropogenic pressure or participatory governance.

7. Geoethics is not geoscience-specific when promoting to act agent-centric, virtue-ethics-focused, responsibility-focused, and [geoscience] knowledge-based. Therefore, geoethics may shape societal practices beyond geoscience.

8. Geosciences are more than mere techno-scientific disciplines. Geoscience expertise ties geosciences
and people's social lives. Geosciences are relevant for the societies' functioning, namely, to operate a technosphere at local, regional and planetary scales. Therefore, geoscience expertise includes a school of philosophical thinking called geoethics.

9. Geosciences facilitate the understanding of the dynamics of social-ecological systems. Geoethics supports the sense-making of human agents, such as geoscientists acting in a professional capacity.

10. Geoscientific knowledge is a corpus of insights about the functioning of the abiotic systems of planet Earth. It enables contemporary technologies and cultures; hence, it co-shapes the technosphere. Likewise, geoscience knowledge enables people to evaluate anthropogenic changes in societal contexts, even as mere consumers of resources.

11. Geoscientists help achieve anthropogenic change and make the change global. Therefore, they are (like) assistant terra-formers. Subsequently, geoscientists should assume the responsibility that comes with their role as agents of technology-driven change. That is the essence of [geo]ethics and being a citizen.

12. The experiences with the COVID-19 health pandemic provide a lens to situate geosciences/earth-sciences in contemporary societies. The pandemic illustrates the essence of any possible Anthropocene, namely, less a geological epoch than a 'future World'.

13. The 'human niche' is a network of complex-adaptive social-ecological systems, which humans conceive and build to sustain themselves. Human sense-making and practices are intrinsic and non-separable parts of the human niche. The feedback of human sense-making and human practices is iterative. The resulting feedback loop is pivotal for the dynamics of social-ecological systems.

14. The impacts of anthropogenic change do call for strengthening the socio-political and socio-economic anchorage of geoethical thinking. Then geoethics may have societal relevance beyond geosciences.

15. The political philosophies of Bunge, Jonas and Kohlberg about people's social lives (Kohlberg, 'hierarchy of societal coordination (moral adequacy)'; Bunge, 'balance of individual happiness (well-being); Jonas,' 'imperative of responsibility for agents of change') offer foundations for a 'geo-ethical logic', namely act with: agent-centricity, virtue-focus, responsible-focus, reproducible/scientific knowledge, all-agent-inclusiveness, and universal-rights-base.

[*] drawing on: Bohle, M. (2021). A geo-ethical logic for citizens and geoscientists. Sustain. Water Resour. Manag. 7, 85. doi:10.1007/s40899-021-00557-1; Bohle, M., and Marone, E. (2021). Geoethics, a Branding for Sustainable Practices. Sustainability 13, 895. doi:10.3390/su13020895; Bohle, M., and Marone, E. (2021). Geo-societal Narratives - Contextualsing Geosciences. , eds. M. Bohle and E. Marone Cham: Springer International Publishing doi:10.1007/978-3-030-79028-8; Bohle, M. (2021). ‘Citizen, Geoscientist and Associated Terra-former’, in Global Threats in the Anthropocene: From COVID-19 to the Future, eds. L. Mercantanti and S. Montes (Il Sileno Edizioni), 169–186.; Bohle, M., and Marone, E. (2021). ‘Why Geo-societal Narratives?’, in Geo-societal Narratives (Cham: Springer International Publishing), 1–16. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-79028-8_1. ;Nagy, G. M., and Bohle, M. (2021). ‘Geo-scientific Culture and Geoethics’, in Geo-societal Narratives (Cham: Springer International Publishing), 191–199. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-79028-8_14.

No comments:

Post a Comment