I would prepare students with an overarching ethic of care and skill sets for engagement at the many distinct levels they will likely work in — from very local to interplanetary contexts.
A: A century is a short period in the evolution of the basics of human culture. We will still be grappling with inequalities within and between societies, with human greed and the rapacious approach to our natural environment and planetary resources. We may have stabilized our human population growth but we will be struggling to meet rising aspirations while striving to sustain renewable resources and being less wasteful of non-renewable resources. So I would continue to teach the new generations how to analyze social phenomena, be cognizant and practiced in the development and use of social rules from local to global levels and shape policy and procedural responses. I would prepare students with an overarching ethic of care and skill sets for engagement at the many distinct levels they will likely work in — from very local to interplanetary contexts.
My collaborative research projects, carried out with representative constituencies and university students, will be seeking democratically acceptable ways to harness as-yet-undreamt-of technologies for maximum net social benefit and without runaway assaults on our fragile atmosphere, oceans and land resources.
A: I am a member of the six-person international Policy and Standards Committee (PSC) of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the leading independent voluntary third-party forest certification system.
My collaborative work with local and international journalists and researchers and tropical-forest-dependent peoples counters illegal logging and corruption through a rights-based approach to an ethical way of life. Our work provides daily usable tests for all our major decisions, both individually and as societies. We are showing that it is possible and practicable to combat short-term greed and rapacity, to stimulate public protest and legal action against corrupt appropriation and exploitation of common property assets.
As the political commentator and philosopher Edmund Burke noted more than two centuries ago: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The feasibility of continued co-existence among human societies and with other species demands respect for others and a holistic view of where we are, where we might go and what we can do without harming ourselves or our planet. Research and teaching in the grand tradition of humanism emphasizes intrinsic rights of living organisms and human society as vital elements for the continued existence of biota on this planet, so far as we know the only place where life as we know it has evolved and may continue to evolve.