Ethics of Planetary Sustainability

The concept of sustainability is widely acknowledged as a political guideline. Economic, ecological, social and cultural aspects of sustainability are already under discussion. The pressing problem of space debris and current space mining efforts demand that the discussion becomes a broader one about “planetary sustainability”, including the space surrounding Earth.

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To date, planetary sustainability has mainly been used with reference to Earth only and it will be extended here, elaborating on a similar NASA initiative.

NASA envisions:

  1. a world in which all people have access to abundant water, food, and energy, as well as protection from severe storms and climate change impacts,
  2. Healthy and sustainable worldwide economic growth from renewable products and resources and finally
  3. a multi-planetary society, where the resources of the solar system are available to the people of Earth.

While all of these dimensions are essential, the project will especially examine and ethically evaluate how realistic and meaningful the rarely researched third point is. The problem shall be assessed making use of the philosophical and theological approach of a constructive-critical realism.

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Picture Credits: NASA

Andreas Losch

Protestant. Theology. In Dialogue. With Science. Planetary. Sustainable. I and Thou., University of Bern