Ethical Assessment on Ecological Footprint 2012


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Ethical Assessment on Ecological Footprint 2012

  1. 1. 1Based upon Commentary Article entitled “Measuring Sustainability: Why theEcological Footprint is Bad Economics and Bad Environmental Science”by Nathan Fiala, Department of Economics, University of CaliforniaSFGS 6123: Ethics and Sustainable Policies for Science, Technology & InnovationLecturer: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siti Nurani Mohd Noor Mohd Fadhli Rahmat Fakri (SMB 110010) Department of Science & Technology Studies, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya
  2. 2. » Introduction: Key Points & Scene-Setting» Moral Dilemma: Central Issue» 4 Ethical Test:  Harm Test  Mother/Faith Test  Professional /Organizational Test  Publicity Test» Preliminary Decision» Factors to Reconsider» Recommendations & Conclusion» References 2
  3. 3. » Ecological Footprints:A simple measure of thesustainability of a population‟sconsumption by converting allconsumption into the land usedin production, as well as thetheoretical land needed tosequester (seize/remove) the GHGproduced.» Sustainability:The ability of presentgeneration to meet their needswithout compromising theability of future generations to 3meet theirs.
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  7. 7. Country A Country B• Poor • Rich• Inefficient food • Very efficient food producer: imported producer: both internal from B and for exportResolution / Approach:Extensive – look out for more land to produce food (usedto calculate relative biocapacity)Intensive – increase production technology to increaseyield of food, thus not increase total land used.HIGHLIGHT #1: EF failed to address intensive production 7growth
  8. 8. Historical Data Other major categories of• 1961-2006 record on EF – built up land, natural production, yield and land resources, wood, animal area used for all cereals by production, GHG offsetting region (not increase much beyond current levels: inherent• Total World Production: value of intensive average rate of 2.17% investment. yearly, yield rates increasing at 2.06%/year HIGHLIGHT #2: calculating average land usage for• Total world land area used for housing a person: misleading all cereal production: for future land needs increased on average by 0.09% each year HIGHLIGHT #3: increased popularity of confined• DUE TO: strategy by increasing animal feeding operations 8 production intensively (CAFOs) decreases the land needed (more sustainable)
  9. 9. HIGHLIGHT #4: EF is a static Comparisons of Data onconcept; disability to capture Sustainability:such issuesHIGHLIGHT #5: very minimal According to van Kooten &correlation between different Bulte (2000), EF fails tomeasures of degradation and capture 1 of the mostHDI*, EF and carbon. important issues of sustainability; landHIGHLIGHT #6: the above willimposed this issue: more degradationdeveloped nations are notassociated with greater land • HDI: Human Development Index:degradation: lead to erroneous measuring lifearguments on sustainability of expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living worldwide which 9current and future consumption categorized them into 3 different groups:patterns Developed, Developing and Under- Developed Countries
  10. 10. » ‘Major Glitches’ of the Ecological Footprints (EF) :  Dominated by energy as over 50% of EF of most high & middle income nations is due to the amount of land necessary to sequester GHG.  Mis-specify current sustainability of a system by arbitrarily determining boundaries, esp. problematic for cross- country comparisons.  Misleading comparisons on the role of technology in calculating EF. 10
  11. 11. » EF is not the BEST TOOL for measuring sustainability due to its failure to be inclusive (disability to capture) of other important indicators.  IMMORAL: it reflects unfairness, injustice and „victimizing‟ those affected parties Economy Social Environment 11
  12. 12. » Aims to look for power inequalities on affected parties and try to answer the question of DOES EF DO LESS HARM?  Affected Parties: Countries opting for EF as part of their national agenda/vision Policy makers Farmer / Manufacturer Animal Ecology / Environment 12
  13. 13. » DOES EF DO LESS HARM? Affected Parties: Harm / Injustice: Status:1 Countries opt for EF Unsustainability issues Social Injustice as national agenda would not be able to be addressed efficiently: harmful to the society-at- large as certain policy was driving them to more losses in terms of environmental degradation and overutilization of natural resources2 Policy Makers Since the conception stage Misleading and of EF, EF has been widely Inefficient Policy ‘promoted’ / ‘oversell’ as will be one of the best tool that applied/amended turn out to be Guideline for 13 Policy makers regarding sustainability issues
  14. 14. » DOES EF DO LESS HARM? Affected Parties: Harm / Injustice: Status:3 Farmer / Both: ‘bounded’ with policy Denying their Manufacturer which in favor of EF rights: Farmer’s Rights Manufacturer: their ability in (International pursuing intensive approach Treaty on Plant in increasing their Genetic Resources production are simply for Food and ignored by EF Agriculture)4 Animal Habitat loss due to Breaching the Unaccountable EF - animal ethics as misleading information: they depend possibility of entirely on overexploitation natural environment and 14 humankind
  15. 15. » DOES EF DO LESS HARM? Affected Parties: Harm / Injustice: Status: 5 Ecology / Land Usage as Possible Unsustainable Environment Calamity of Future Management of Generation Natural Resources could lead to conflict among nations as issues of land usage and boundaries becoming more and more crucial 15
  16. 16. » Utilitarianism – EF should be able to meet the essential requirement of providing greatest benefits for the greatest number of people.  According to John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism holds the concepts of duty, obligation, and right are subordinated to, and determined by, that which maximizes benefits and minimizes harmful outcomes.» Planetary Citizenship (Henderson & Ikeda, 2004) – ID the earth as a whole and the whole of humanity, about working towards a collaborative instead of a competitive world, with a re-shaped economy driven by social and environmental need rather than financial pressures 16
  17. 17. » Environmental Ethics on human right to nature:  The World Commission on Environment and Development claims: “All human beings have the fundamental right to an environment adequate for their health and well-being” (1987b:9) Which includes basic natural givens: air, soil, water, functioning ecosystems, hydrologic cycles and so on. 17
  18. 18. » By assuming the role of the Counter Expert (referring to Religious / Beliefs)» ISLAM on Sustainable Natural Resource Management:  Hima (Management zones established for sustainable natural resource use)  Harim (inviolable sanctuaries used for protecting water resources)  Ihya Al-Mawat (practice of restoring neglected land) 18
  19. 19. Islam & Environment• Productive Use of the Environment• “Whosoever plants a tree, he will be rewarded with as much reward as is relevant to its yields” (Bukhari).• The Concept of Vice-Regency• The human being, in the Islamic perspective is considered a vicegerent of the environment and this vice regency carries heavy responsibilities to the future.• "Behold, your Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vice-regents on earth." (Qur’an, 2:30)• Concept of Amanah (Trust) as Khalifah (Vicegerent)• Main responsibility of man after he has agreed to shoulder the task as khalifah. Thus, his amanah is to build up a civilisation for the good of all humanity and his environment willed by the God.• “Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant” (Al-Ahzab: 72) 19
  20. 20. Islam & Environment• Living in Harmony with Nature• The ultimate objective of life for a Muslim is salvation which is achieved through peace and harmony.• "Salam, the Arabic root of the word "Islam," means "peace and harmony". Therefore, Islamic theologians argue that an "Islamic way of life entails living in peace and harmony" at individual and social as well as ecological levels (Hadith). 20
  21. 21. » CHRISTIAN*  10 commandments of Environmental Ethic 1) Nothing that exists in this world is outside the divine plan of creation and redemption 2) 2 fundamental: we should not reduce nature to a mere instrument to be manipulated and exploited AND we shouldn‟t make nature an absolute value 3) Environmental issues entails the whole planet, thus our responsibility toward ecology extends to future generations (sustainability) 4) We need to confirm both primacy of ethics and the rights of man over technology; in turn we should treat other created beings with respect 5) Nature must not be regarded as a reality that is divine itself; it is not illicit to modify ecosystem, so long as this is done within the context of a respect for its order and beauty, and taking into consideration 21 the utility of every creature.
  22. 22. » CHRISTIAN*  10 commandments of Environmental Ethic 6) Ecological questions highlight the need to achieve a greater harmony both bet. measures designed to foment economic dev. & those directed to preserving ecology; vice versa. 7) We should actively work for the integral dev. of the poorest regions: goods should be shared in a just and charitable manner: The Principle of the Universal Destiny of Goods 8) Collaboration (worldwide agreements) backed up by international law, necessary to protect environment; guided by demands of the common good. 9) Lifestyles should be oriented according to the Principles of Sobriety, Temperance and Self- Descipline; reforming our consumer mentality 10) A spiritual response must be highlighted, inspired as 22 such that creation is a gift from God that should be used responsibly and with loving care.
  23. 23. Christianity & EnvironmentPrinciple of Environmental Stewardship• God Expects Humans to be His Stewards with Nature Revelation 11:18. The nations were angry and your wrath has come. The time has come for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great - and for destroying those who destroy the earth.• Scripture clearly states that God created, blessed, protected and made a covenant with the different species. As stewards of His creation, Christian believers are called to do no less. It is their scriptural and moral duty to protect species and their habitat. 23
  24. 24. » Buddhism» Buddhist ethics are grounded in the truth and experience of the Law of Dependent Co-Arising.» Sila, or guidelines for moral action, are central to Buddhist practice in all traditions.» The Three Pure Precepts are vows to refrain from actions that ignore interdependence, to make an effort to act out of understanding of interrelationship, and to serve all beings in the interdepending web.» The five (Theravada) prescriptive precepts to not kill, not lie, not steal, not abuse sexuality or intoxicants spring from a fundamental recognition of relationship. One aims to act as respectfully and inclusively as 24 possible toward plant, animal, and human companions.
  25. 25. » It is a wise-suggestion that ‘partnership‟ with or being inclusive to what faiths has taught us ever since, could help us to go a long way towards meeting the goals of global biodiversity conservation and even poverty alleviation. 25
  26. 26. » The Earth Charter Initiative  “…a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century….a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values. The Earth Charter project began as a United Nations initiative, but it was carried forward and completed by a global civil society initiative. The Earth Charter was finalized and then launched as a people’s charter in 2000 by the Earth Charter Commission, an independent international entity”  Principles #1: Respect & Care for the Community of Life 1. Respect Earth and life in all its diversity. a. Recognize that all beings are interdependent and every form of life has value regardless of its worth to human beings. 2. Secure Earths bounty and beauty for present and future generations. a. Recognize that the freedom of action of each generation is qualified by the needs of future generations. b. Transmit to future generations values, traditions, and institutions that support the long-term flourishing of Earths human and ecological communities.  Principles #2: Ecological Integrity Protect and restore the integrity of Earths ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life. 26 e. Manage the use of renewable resources such as water, soil, forest products, and marine life in ways that do not exceed rates of regeneration and that protect the health of ecosystems. f. Manage the extraction and use of non-renewable resources such as minerals and fossil fuels in ways that minimize depletion and cause no serious environmental damage.
  27. 27. » Scientists Professional Code of Ethics Among other states that:  Act with skill and care in all scientific work. Maintain up to date skills and assist their development in others.  Take steps to prevent corrupt practices and professional misconduct.  Declare conflicts of interest.  Be alert to the ways research derives from and affects the work of other people, and respect the rights and reputations of others.  Ensure that their work is lawful and justified.  Minimize and justify any adverse effect your work may have on people, animals and the natural environment.  Seek to discuss the issues that science raises for society. Listen to the aspirations and concerns of others.  Do not knowingly mislead, or allow others to be misled, about scientific matters. Present and review scientific evidence, theory or interpretation honestly and accurately.Reference: 27
  28. 28. » Universal Declaration of Human Rights» Article 19 Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.» Article 22 Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co- operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.» Article 27 Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. 28Reference:
  29. 29. » Accountability: refers to the notion that people and organizations should be held responsible for the plans, behaviors and foreseeable results of commitments that they willingly pursue. E.g: difficulty in accessing relevant information (i.e. lack of transparency) often hinders accountability and lead to misuse/confusion.» Social Justice: fairness in the distribution of the benefits and burdens of social cooperation. 29
  30. 30. » Justice – ‘subjects’ (in this case all affected parties) should be treated according to what they entitled.» Organized skepticism – the way our experts/scientists work, should be made applicable for future usage, thus it should be open to be questioned, and let the truth should finally rest based upon comparison with observed fact. 30
  31. 31. » Is it SAFE to practice EF as Sustainability Issues Measurement tool???» EF should not be used for further usage as a measurement tool of sustainability (unless further improvement on the mechanism have been made) due to its disability (injustice and immoral nature). 31
  32. 32. » High possibility of misleading results of EF  Those with positive EF results could in fact have a very high land degradation;» High rates of possible land degradation (undetected via EF)  Faster rate of land usage, more harmful ways» EF has its uses but it should be opened for debate on the using of EF 32
  33. 33. » Improving / strengthening the technical knowledge and expertise needed to be able to conduct a rigorous, consistent, reliable and comparable EF study through lectures, providing opportunities for relaying information and holding discussions/debates on EF» Resolving the so-called twin issues of DATA COMPLEXITY and TRANSPARENCY of the methodology in conducting EF: consider training and proper medium for dissemination of information on EF to the public» Resolving issues of inconsistencies in the methodologies and results calculated: thus they should working more towards standardization, transparency and credibility by being more inclusive towards other important indicators» Alignment of EF accounting with the UN-SEEA: help us in standardizing the accounting processes and improve the accuracy of allocation; in turn make them available for further use in Input- Output Analysis (IOA)» Complementary indicators to monitor progress related to other environmental issues undetected by EF: one suggestion is through 4 basket indicators on the EU‟s Resource Strategy – EF, Environmentally-Weighted Material Consumption (EMC), Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP) and Land & 33 Ecosystem Accounts (LEAC)
  34. 34. » United Nations Indicator  Developed extensive sustainability measurement tools in relation to SD + System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (UN-SEEA)  system for organizing statistical data for the derivation of coherent indicators and descriptive statistics to monitor the interactions between the economy and the environment and the state of the environment to better inform decision- making.  Subsystems of the SEEA framework elaborate on specific resources or sectors, including: Energy, Water, Fisheries, Land and Ecosystems, and Agriculture.  Try to build bridges between the accounting community and the community of experts in each specific subject area. ˃ Reference: 34
  35. 35. » Benchmarks  Point of reference for a measurement to assess trends and measure progress. E.g: 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership» Indexes  An aggregate sustainability indicator that combines multiple sources of data. E.g: Consultative Group on Sustainable Development Indices 35
  36. 36. » Metrics  Monitorial Reference for the effect of human on biogeochemical cycles that are critical to life: water cycle, carbon cycle, etc.» Auditing  Sustainability auditing and reporting in evaluating entity using various performance indicators: ISO 14000, Natural Step, Triple Bottom Line Accounting, Input-Output Analysis (IOA) : widely expanded application of EF particularly in the area of policy formulation related to the distribution of human appropriation to biocapacity.» Accounting  Attempt to include environmental costs rather than treating them as externalities: Green 36 Accounting, Sustainable Value, Sustainability Economics
  37. 37. » After conducting all 4 ethical frameworks/assessment, the mechanism of EF as a tool of sustainability measurement is IMMORAL and thus, it should not be ‘oversell’ / disseminated to the public, UNLESS:  EF should be revised intensive-and-extensively by experts of such fields by being more open and taking accounts all criticism on EF for further improvement of the system.  Other options: considering other measurement tools which suits our own conditions (because one size does not fit all) and even better, combining them as to ensure the nature of inclusivity of such tools can be achieved. 37
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  39. 39. Online Article:» Environmental Ethics by Holmes Rolston, III (Blackwell Publishing, 2003)» Ecological Citizenship and Sustainable Consumption: Examining Local Organic Food Networks by Gill Seyfang (Journal of Rural Studies, Elsevier Ltd, 2006)» An Analysis of the Policy and Educational Applications of the Ecological Footprint by Dr. John Barrett (SEI, 2004)» On the Ethics of CSR – Considering the Paradigm of Industrial Metabolism by Jouni Korhonen (Journal of Business Ethics, Kluwer Academic Publishers: 2003)» The Ecological Footprint: A Non-Monetary Metric of Human Consumption Applied to North America by Maged Senbel (Global Environmental Change: Elsevier Science: 2003)» London‟s Ecological Footprint: A Review by Brook Lyndhurst (Greater London Authority: 2003)» A Review of the Ecological Footprint Indicator – Perceptions and Methods by Thomas Wiedmann & John Barrett (Sustainability Journal: 2010) 39
  40. 40. Online Article / Forum / Information on Mother / Faith Test derived from:» Buddhist contribution to environmental protection – Judge Weeramantry From» Islam, the environment and the human future - Judge Weeramantry from» Islam:» Confucian Ethics and the Environment by Li Tianchen* from The Culture Mandala, 6 no. 1. 2003. from» Buddhism:, learning/5minbud.htm» Acting with Compassion - Stephanie Kaza ENVIRONMENTALLY RELEVANT PRINCIPLES OF BUDDHISM – from» Buddhism & Environmental Protection By Ven. Sheng-yen from» Christian:» A Christian View of the Environment by Ray Bohl from» The Environment and the Dao by David Wright from 40
  41. 41. Other Relevant Information:»»»»»» &y=0» footprints/»»»»»» used in this presentation found from: ,,, glogste,,, brucenguyen181.wordpres,,,, youlive 41,, environment-clean-,,,
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