Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions Librarian Kelly Laas (right) guides a student through the Ethics Center Library.

The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at Illinois Institute of Technology was founded in 1976 originally focusing on ethics in the professions. Recently, the Center launched a new project, Climate Change & Ethics, that questions our ethical assumptions around climate justice by bringing scholars and activists together to investigate the presuppositions in the current climate change debate.

A recent webinar in the Climate Change & Ethics series titled, “The Role of Governments and Societal Actors in Mitigating Climate Change,” illustrates the Center’s push towards collaborative investigation of the barriers that stakeholders face when trying to promote mitigation and adaptation measures. “We thought it is important to have a conference that reflects on the ethical assumptions implicit in discussions and actions around climate change,”  said Center Director Elisabeth Hildt, “For, in spite of the fact that everyone certainly agrees that concepts and principles like justice, solidarity, or sustainability are very important for climate change mitigation and adaptation, progress so far has been very slow.”

The depth and breadth of climate ethics covered in recent webinars and symposia — from stakeholder assumptions to the ethical challenges of risk mitigation in climate policy — give insight into how ethics education can shape the future progress of climate change by redirecting the conversation to one with multiple stakeholders at the table. Previous webinars, as well as a publicly available online library including climate ethics resources and more, can be found on the Center for the Study of Ethics’ website

Has ethics made a difference at your institution over time? Contact Alexis Jimenez Maldonado, alexismaldonado@fas.harvard.edu, with ideas for forthcoming Spotlights. 

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