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Special Issue "New Advances on Geoethics and Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Geography and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 May 2022) | Viewed by 9278

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Silvia Peppoloni
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology) Rome, Italy
Interests: geoethics; philosophy of geosciences; natural hazards and risks; geo-education; geoscience communication
Dr. Giuseppe Di Capua
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology), Rome, Italy
Interests: geoethics; philosophy of geosciences; engineering geology; seismic hazard

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

The Earth, understood from a human perspective, is the physical place, but also the cultural and technological space, which humanity have the ethical duty to protect and transfer to future generations. There is a close connection between the social–ecological systems of the planet and their possible degradation if the thresholds of systemic sustainability are exceeded. The serious problems produced by Western development models, gradually accepted or imposed on a global level, cannot now find solutions through actions limited to local or national contexts—these need to be addressed through agreements on implementation methods and actions that are designed at a supranational level. For that reason, in this historical moment, it is essential to develop a global ethics towards the Earth that takes into account local contexts, but which is also able to provide a general vision of the common challenges to be addressed.

Geoethics has been defined as “the research and reflection on the values that underlie appropriate behaviours and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system”. It is proposed as a global ethics that identifies the values on which to base a more responsible and functional interaction between human beings and the planet understood as a system. Geoethics was born and developed to valorize geosciences from a social point of view and to make geoscientists aware of the role they can and have to play in society. At present, its conceptual and practical potentials are increasingly evident, as well as its ability to propose itself as an ethics capable of redefining the relationship between human beings and the Earth system on a global level. Geoethics specifies and qualifies responsible human action through concepts such as sustainability, geo-conservation, adaptation to changes, risk prevention, and geo-environmental education, which give operational concreteness to the modern ecological feeling and which underlie the cultural, technological, energy, and economic changes of our societies. 

Responsibility towards the Earth, its socioecological systems, and future generations introduces the fundamental concept of sustainability, which in turn implies the human capability to manage production and consumption mechanisms in a long-term perspective and to respect natural environments and processes in order to contribute to their ecological sustainability. Sustainability is based on the awareness that the natural resources of the Earth system are limited, that ecosystem services can be extremely delicate, and that their management by human communities must take into account planetary limits, so as to develop a safe operating space. A more sustainable society is a more just, equitable, inclusive, prepared, participatory, and ecologically oriented society, in line with the values expressed by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. 

This Special Issue aims to enrich and broaden the discussion on the concept of sustainability, analyzing it also in the light of the values of geoethics and considering its ethical, social, and cultural implications, so as to enrich the theoretical perspectives and practical applications of a global ethics towards the Earth. To this end, authors are invited to submit papers with scientific considerations, but also reflections relating to philosophical, historical, sociological, economic, and technological aspects, also with the help of practical examples and case studies. The Special Issue is promoted by the IAPG—International Association for Promoting Geoethics (http://www.geoethics.org).

Dr. Silvia Peppoloni
Dr. Giuseppe Di Capua
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • geoethics
  • sustainability
  • human niche
  • social–ecological systems
  • planetary boundaries
  • safe operating space
  • ecosystem services
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Earth system governance
  • Earth stewardship

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Science and Citizen Collaboration as Good Example of Geoethics for Recovering a Natural Site in the Urban Area of Rome (Italy)
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4429; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084429 - 08 Apr 2022
Viewed by 813
Abstract
Natural sites in urban spaces can have a key role in citizen well-being, providing fundamental ecosystem services to the population and assuring a multitude of benefits. Therefore, cities should guarantee a number of green areas and their conservation in time as an essential [...] Read more.
Natural sites in urban spaces can have a key role in citizen well-being, providing fundamental ecosystem services to the population and assuring a multitude of benefits. Therefore, cities should guarantee a number of green areas and their conservation in time as an essential part of urban architecture. In this framework, cooperation between scientists, decision makers and citizens is critical to ensure the enhancement of green public spaces. Social and scientific communities are called to work in a tuned way to combine scientific knowledge and methods to local socio-economic contexts, driven by the values of geoethics. The Bullicante Lake case study, discussed in this work, represents an example of application of geoethical values, such as inclusiveness, sharing, sustainability and conservation of bio- and geodiversity. This urban lake in Rome appeared following illegal excavation works in 1992 and remained closed until 2016 favouring re-naturalization processes. Over time, this site was often threatened by pending actions for building. The aim of this study was to highlight how fruitful cooperation between science and citizens is able to transform a degraded urban area into a place of knowledge, recreation, enjoyment and eco-systemic preservation. Moreover, on the basis of this experience, the authors proposed a generalised approach/strategy to be developed and applied in other contexts. The active involvement of citizens and the cooperation among scientists, artists and institutions were able to redress opportunistic behaviours well by preventing site degradation and its improper use, favouring environmental safeguarding and making possible the site’s recognition as a natural monument. The results of these actions led to the improved quality of citizen life, showing an excellent example of virtuous cooperation between science and society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances on Geoethics and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Geoethics to Start Up a Pedagogical and Political Path towards Future Sustainable Societies
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10024; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810024 - 07 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1702
Abstract
The development of geoethics is at a turning point. After having strengthened its theoretical structure and launched new initiatives aimed at favouring the spread of geoethical thinking, geoethics must deal with some issues concerning the social organization of dominant cultures, the existing economic [...] Read more.
The development of geoethics is at a turning point. After having strengthened its theoretical structure and launched new initiatives aimed at favouring the spread of geoethical thinking, geoethics must deal with some issues concerning the social organization of dominant cultures, the existing economic structures, and the political systems that govern the world. Nowadays geoethics must move towards the construction of a pedagogical proposal, which has a formative purpose, for future generations and the policy leaders, but also a political one, in the noble sense of the term, that is, concerning the action of citizens who take part in public life. The pedagogical and political project of geoethics will have to be founded on the principles of dignity, freedom, and responsibility on which to ground a set of values for global ethics in order to face planetary anthropogenic changes. Furthermore, this project must be inclusive, participatory, and proactive, without falling into simplistic criticism of the current interpretative and operational paradigms of the world, but always maintaining realism (therefore adherence to the reality of the observed facts) and a critical attitude towards the positive and negative aspects of any organizational socio-economic system of human communities. In our vision there can be no sustainability, adaptation, or transition in human systems that do not pass through an ethical regeneration of the human beings, who are aware of their inborn anthropocentric and anthropogenic perception/position and assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions impacting the Earth system. In fact, the ecological crisis is the effect of the crisis of humans who have moved away from their intimate human nature. Through this paper we want to enlarge disciplinary areas that should be investigated and discussed through the lens of geoethical thinking and propose geoethics for an ethical renewal of societies, making them more sustainable from a social, economic, and environmental perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances on Geoethics and Sustainable Development)
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Article
The Need for Geoethical Awareness: The Importance of Geoenvironmental Education in Geoheritage Understanding in the Case of Meteora Geomorphes, Greece
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6626; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126626 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1626
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to explore the young generation’s geocultural consciousness. The research uses the case of Meteora Geomorphes, which have been proposed as a geological heritage site and are known to students for aesthetic, cultural and religious reasons. The sample [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article is to explore the young generation’s geocultural consciousness. The research uses the case of Meteora Geomorphes, which have been proposed as a geological heritage site and are known to students for aesthetic, cultural and religious reasons. The sample of the research consisted of third grade Junior High school (Gymnasium) pupils, who have been taught Geography–Geology courses in previous classes, and students from departments of the University of Thessaly, Central Greece, wherein their subjects are taught cultural heritage courses. The data collection was conducted through a structured questionnaire that examines their knowledge, values, geoethical attitudes, behaviors and beliefs about geocultural heritage understanding. The result of the research shows the lack of understanding of the geological heritage in relation to cultural heritage and of the sense of responsibility for the environment and a code of ethics for protection and conservation. The need for strategic educational planning of geoeducation in school practice with the integration of geoheritage in the theme of environmental education (geoenvironmental education) is obvious. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances on Geoethics and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Exemplary Ethical Communities. A New Concept for a Livable Anthropocene
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5582; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105582 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1083
Abstract
This article argues that we need to look at living examples provided by non-state communities in various regions of the world that are, perhaps unwittingly, contributing to the maintenance of the Earth’s optimal thermal balance. These fully sustainable communities have been living outside [...] Read more.
This article argues that we need to look at living examples provided by non-state communities in various regions of the world that are, perhaps unwittingly, contributing to the maintenance of the Earth’s optimal thermal balance. These fully sustainable communities have been living outside the mainstream for centuries, even millennia, providing examples in the global struggle against the degradation of social–ecological systems. They have all, to varying degrees, embraced simple forms of living that make them ‘exemplary ethical communities’ (EECs)—human communities with a track record of sustainability related to forms of traditional knowledge and the capacity to survive outside the capitalist market and nation-state system. The article proceeds in three steps: First, it condenses a large body of research on the limits of the existing nation-state system and its accompanying ideology, nationalism, identifying this institutional–ideological complex as the major obstacle to tackling climate change. Second, alternative social formations that could offer viable micro-level and micro-scale alternatives are suggested. These are unlikely to identify with existing nation-states as they often form distinct types of social communities. Taking examples from hunter-gatherer societies and simple-living religious groups, it is shown how the protection and maintenance of these EECs could become the keystone in the struggle for survival of humankind and other forms of life. Finally, further investigation is called for, into how researchers can come forward with more examples of actually existing communities that might provide pathways to sustainability and resistance to the looming global environmental catastrophe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances on Geoethics and Sustainable Development)
Article
A Geoethical Approach to Unlock a Social-Ecological Governance Problem: The Case of the Tordera River (Catalonia, Spain)
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4253; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084253 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 953
Abstract
This paper introduces a geoethical dilemma in the coastal zone of the Tordera Delta as a case study with the objective of showing the contribution of geoethics to the governance of coastal social-ecological systems. The Tordera Delta, located in Costa Brava, Catalonia, constitutes [...] Read more.
This paper introduces a geoethical dilemma in the coastal zone of the Tordera Delta as a case study with the objective of showing the contribution of geoethics to the governance of coastal social-ecological systems. The Tordera Delta, located in Costa Brava, Catalonia, constitutes a social-ecological system that suffers from intense anthropization mainly due to tourist pressures causing a cascade of different environmental problems impacting the Delta functions. The massive sun and beach tourism brought human well-being and economic development to the region, but has caused an intense urbanization of the coastline that altered the coastal dynamics, eroded its beaches, and degraded many ecosystem services, a process that is being worsened today by the climate change events such as the rising sea level or the magnitude of the storms (“llevantades”), typical of the Western Mediterranean coast. Posing the problem of governance in terms of a geoethical dilemma enables discerning among the values connected to the intrinsic meaning of coastal landscapes and the instrumental values that see beaches as goods (commodities) for tourism uses. Finally, the paper reflects on options to overcome this dichotomy of values by considering meaning values as elements that forge cultural identities, contributing to highlighting this societal challenge in the Tordera Delta area, as a case study that can be useful for similar ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances on Geoethics and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Geoethics, a Branding for Sustainable Practices
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020895 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1280
Abstract
In struggles for cultural leadership, advocating a paradigm helps to disseminate, for example, a style of life, thinking, or common practices. Promoting a practice, that is, branding it, includes the use of a simple name or symbol (semiotic sign). Within geosciences, the label [...] Read more.
In struggles for cultural leadership, advocating a paradigm helps to disseminate, for example, a style of life, thinking, or common practices. Promoting a practice, that is, branding it, includes the use of a simple name or symbol (semiotic sign). Within geosciences, the label “geoethics” refers to a school of thought that uses established philosophical concepts to promote responsible professional practices. The outcomes that are available aggregate to a more general paradigm that calls for geocentric human practices. The label geoethics also sounds like a brand for those practices. As analysis shows, the notion of geoethics is not univocal. At first sight, that feature hinders using it as a brand for geocentric practices. However, the successful branding of the concept of sustainability, as a scientific and public paradigm, indicates the opposite. Although the notion of sustainability aggregates various concepts and is not univocal, it illustrates what cultural leadership can be achieved when a concept, paradigm, and brand use the same semiotic sign (name). Therefore, it is suggested that the school of thought, Geoethics, with its dedicated reference to the specific societal use of geosciences, should also be used as a brand: geoethics, the general application of geoethical thinking to promote geocentric human practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances on Geoethics and Sustainable Development)
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