The Quest for Knowledge on Sustainability Ethics


The quest for sources that relate Monsanto to sustainability ethics is not a difficult one. Right away I was able to find numerous books and articles that seem to address the topic that I will be delving in to. I decided to find a new one using the methods suggested on the blog 9 prompt for this blog rather than ones that I have been looking into previously.

I didn’t have much luck navigating the past blogs, as I did not find many similar papers to mine. I am sure that there have been many on similar topics in the past years but this was not proving as an efficient method for me as I found myself more interested in reading past papers than successfully finding new applicable sources so I moved on to another method. I took our sustainability ethics reading from our October 20th session and used Orr’s book Hope is an Imperative: The Essential as my input on google scholar with the use of the word sustainability in order to focus on chapter 10: The Problem of Sustainability. This wasn’t necessarily the easiest path, but I did navigate my way to some successful results.

I sifted through the references that had sited Orr’s book but none of them seemed to stand out immediately as applicable. The second result on the page for Orr’s book, however, was a book called Embedded Sustainability. While I could only see the preview of this book, I thought that it seemed like the right path so looked into sources that had sited Embedded Sustainability. This is where I found the source “Moral and Ethical Foundations for Sustainability: A Multi-disciplinary Approach” from the Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education. While I can likely find many sources such as this one, and have a list starting already, this was more about the process for me, utilizing the new resource searching tactics that I am learning.

The author of this article, Basil Chen, attempts to integrate theories from numerous fields including philosophy, ecology, social psychology, sociobiology, anthropology, economics and strategic management in order to explain the concept and goals of sustainability. This is executed by presenting six propositions from different disciplines:

Proposition One (P1): Sustainability disposition is positively related (anchored and rooted) to morals and ethics.

Proposition Two (P2): The systemic conception of life, mind, and consciousness transcends disciplinary boundaries and this conception of life positively relates to flourishing and hence sustainability.

Proposition Three (P3): A Gross National Happiness (GNH) indicator provides for a more accurate measure of social well-being and relates positively to sustainability.

Proposition Four (P4): Strategic management fosters the germination and emergence of business creativity – “it is possible to do good and do well” and this positively relates to sustainability.

Proposition Five (P5): Sustainability leaders are anchored in virtue ethics and do not rely on rule-based ethics; they affirm that the essence of ethics is more than just rules – rules are subservient to virtue. The heart of a sustainability leader is imbued with virtue causing it to flourish.

Proposition Six (P6): There are ubiquitous virtues and values that converge across time, place, and intellectual traditions. Ubiquitous virtues undergird sustainability leadership.

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These propositions will take analysis and work to relate them to my paper but I believe that I will find this source very useful for my paper. As I do more research, my perspective and opinion on Monsanto’s contribution to society and the environment changes. I look forward to conducting more research as my preparation for this paper progresses.

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4 responses to “The Quest for Knowledge on Sustainability Ethics

  1. Again, if this article is giving you enough of a framework to analyze Monsanto, then you may not need much more.

    You can also, for example, use Orr.

    Or, look for a more general work on environmental ethics and sustainability. The two ideas are related and my guess is that sustainability grew, in some ways, out of the work done in “environmental ethics.” A basic issue is whether environmental ethics does enough to look at human systems; sustainability as an agenda asserts that it didn’t and that the “next wave” of environmental ethics is to integrate natural and human systems.

    That is my take. My hunch is someone has described this more eloquently. I haven’t found that source yet. Maybe you will.

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  2. THis book, from your article’s list, maybe worth looking at.

    Ehrenfeld, J. (2008). Sustainability by design: A subversive strategy for transforming our consumer culture. New Haven: Yale University Press.

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  3. Pingback: Blog Council: Ethical Resources | Stakeholders:Uncensored·

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