Sustainability Ethics

  • Ethics is based on the assumption of equal rights and obligation for all humans. The resulting ethical guidelines, partially manifested in the laws, have to be obtained by societal discourse aiming at ensuring maximum wellbeing for everyone while minimizing the restrictions to our behavior.

  • Since human behavior influences the ecosystem of our planet earth, which in turn affects everyone, this feedback also has to be taken into account in the discourse. Our personal behavior, for which we are individually responsible, affects the wellbeing of everyone. It has to be realized that we don't have the right to only have rights. We also unavoidably have obligations, which here need to take e.g. sustainability into account.

  • A sustainability ethics has to take these hard boundary conditions into account, which can not be negotiated. Since the changes in our ecosystem will be rapid, we can not rely on traditions for our behavior or even traditions on how we develop and update an ethics. Instead it is upon us to actively foster a sufficiently fast discourse and to agree on new ethical guidelines that will foreseeably deviate from our previous traditions. It is only these traditions that have got us into the current situation with its global challenges.

  • In developing a sustainability ethics, we can not rely on unanimity but have to move faster. Thus new strategies in the discourse between developed and less developed regions are required leading also to more flexible structure and mode of ratification of international treaties.