Special Issue "New Advances on Geoethics and Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 16 May 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Silvia Peppoloni
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
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 papers will be 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 1900 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.


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

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Geoethics, a Branding for Sustainable Practices
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020895 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 430
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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