Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The need of an ethics of planetary sustainability

  • Andreas Losch (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

The concept of sustainability is widely acknowledged as a political guideline. Economic, ecological, social and cultural aspects of sustainability are already under discussion. Current space mining efforts demand that the discussion become a broader one about ‘planetary sustainability’, including the space surrounding Earth. To date, planetary sustainability has mainly been used with reference to Earth only and I will extend it here, elaborating on a similar NASA initiative. This article (1) sketches the contemporary economic–political initiatives which call for a special reflection of Earth's location in space, and then (2) discusses the meaning of the concept of sustainability in this context. Next, (3) I relate the discussion to the issue of planetary and environmental protection, before, (4) finally, presenting a philosophical and theological perspective that seems particularly able to broach the issue of the multiple dimensions of sustainability in this context. This is the concept of constructive-critical realism. My overview of the topic concludes with (5) a summarizing outlook.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The need of an ethics of planetary sustainability
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The need of an ethics of planetary sustainability
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The need of an ethics of planetary sustainability
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Author for correspondence: Andreas Losch, E-mail: andreas.losch@theol.unibe.ch
References
Hide All
Allen & Overy (2017) Luxembourg Space Resources Act: Paving the legal road to space. Available at http://www.allenovery.com/publications/en-gb/Pages/Luxembourg-Space-Resources-Act-Paving-the-legal-road-to-space.aspx (Accessed 4 October 2017).
Barbour IG (1994) Ethics in an age of technology, 1. HarperCollins ed., 2. [print.], The Gifford lectures, 1989-1991, 2, HarperSanFrancisco, New York NY, XIX, 312 S.
Bertka CM (2013) Christianity's response to the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligent life: insights from science and religion and the sociology of religion. In Vakoch DA (ed.). Astrobiology, History, and Society: Life Beyond Earth and the Impact of Discovery, Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics, Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer, pp. 329340.
Billings L (2007) Overview: ideology, advocacy, and spaceflight: evolution of a cultural narrative. In Dick SJ and Launius RD (eds). Societal Impact of Spaceflight, The NASA History Series, 4801, Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Office of External Relations, pp. 483499.
Bohlmann U (2011) Connecting the principles of international environmental law to space activities. Proceedings of the International Institute of Space Law 4, 301310.
Capova KA (2016) The New space Age in the making: emergence of exo-mining, exo-burials and exo-marketing. International Journal of Astrobiology 15, 307310. doi: 10.1017/S1473550416000185.
Catling DC (2013) Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction, Very Short Introductions, Oxford: Oxford University Press, s.l., 161 pp.
Clark BC, Baker AL, Cheng AF, Clemett SJ, McKay D, McSween HY, Pieters CM, Thomas P and Zolensky M (1999) Survival of life on asteroids, comets and other small bodies. Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere 29, 521545. doi: 10.1023/A:1006589213075.
Cockell C and Horneck G (2004) A planetary park system for Mars. Space Policy 20, 291295. doi: 10.1016/j.spacepol.2004.08.003.
Conley CA (2011) Planetary Protection. In Gargaud M and Amils R (eds). Encyclopedia of Astrobiology. New York: Springer, pp. 12791280.
Conseil d'etat du grand-duché de Luxembourg (2017) Avis 51.987 du 7 avril 2017: Projet de loi sur l'exploration et l'utilisation des ressources de l'espace. Available at http://conseil-etat.public.lu/content/dam/conseil_etat/fr/avis/2017/07042017/51987.pdf (Accesed 4 October 2017).
Crowe MJ(1999) The Extraterrestrial Life Debate, 1750-1900, Dover Books on Science. Mineola, NY: Dover Publication, 680pp..
Daecke SM (1993) Der Mensch als Mitschöpfer und Mitzerstörer: Ethische Überlegungen zur Gentechnologie und Reproduktionsmedizin, In Sutt T (ed.). Baer and modern biology: Proceedings of the International Conference; held in Tartu 29.02.-03.03. 1992, Folia Baeriana, 6, Tartu: Institute of Zoology and Botany of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, pp. 203210.
Di Pippo S (2017) To Space2030 and beyond: space as a driver for sustainable development. Available at http://europesworld.org/2017/01/31/space2030-beyond-space-driver-sustainable-development/ (Accessed 13 February 2017).
ESA (2017) What is Space 4.0?. Available at http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Ministerial_Council_2016/What_is_space_4.0 (Accessed 28 July 2017).
Francis (2014) Address of his holiness Pope Francis on the occasion of the inauguration of the bust in Honour of Pope Benedict XVI Casina Pio IV, Monday, 27. October 2014. Available at https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2014/october/documents/papa-francesco_20141027_plenaria-accademia-scienze.hml (Accessed 8 February 2017).
Francis P (2015) Laudato Si, Our Sunday Visitor, 1 online resource.
Graps A (2017) ASIME 2016 White Paper: IN-SPACE UTILISATION OF ASTEROIDS: Answers to Questions from the Asteroid Miners: https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.00709 (Accessed 8 February 1917).
Hawkes J (2001) The Fourth Pillar of Sustainability: Culture's Essential Role in Public Planning. Melbourne: Cultural Development Network, VII, 69 S.
Hefner PJ (1995) The Human Factor: Evolution, Culture, and Religion, [2. Print], Theology and the Sciences. Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress Press, 317.
Huberty M (2017) Doubts over space mining legal status. Available at http://delano.lu/d/detail/news/doubts-over-space-mining-legal-status/142567 (Accessed 23 May 2017).
Impey C, Spitz AH, and Stoeger WR (2013) Encountering Life in the Universe: Ethical Foundations and Social Implications of Astrobiology. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1 online resource (xi, 269).
Jonas H (1985) The imperative of responsibility. In Search of an Ethics for the Technological age, Paperback Edition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, [etc.], xii, 255.
Kfir S (2017). Is Asteroid Mining Legal?: The Truth Behind Title IV of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015. Available at https://deepspaceindustries.com/is-asteroid-mining-legal/ (Accessed 13 February 2017).
Lienemann W (2007) «Sustainability» in Ökumene und Theologien, in: Nachhaltigkeitsforschung – Perspektiven der Sozial – und Geisteswissenschaften: Recherche dans le domaine du développement durable - perspectives des sciences sociales et humaines. Kaufmann R, Burger P and Stoffel M (eds). Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes – und Sozialwissenschaften. Bern: SAGW, pp. 99122.
Losch A (2005) Our world is more than physics: a constructive – critical comment on the current science and theology debate. Theology and Science 3, 275290. doi: 10.1080/14746700500317271.
Losch A (2011) Jenseits der Konflikte: Eine konstruktiv-kritische Auseinandersetzung von Theologie und Naturwissenschaft, 1. Aufl., Forschungen zur systematischen und ökumenischen Theologie, Bd. 133, Vandenhoeck Ruprecht, s.l., 285 pp.
Losch A (2016) Planetare Nachhaltigkeit. Annäherung an ein Projekt, In Wustmans C. (ed.). Öffentlicher Raum: Theologische, religionswissenschaftliche und ethisch-normative Dimensionen. Sozialethische Materialien 4. Kamen: Hartmut Spenner, pp. 181188.
Losch A (ed.) (2017) What is Life? On Earth and Beyond. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Losch A and Krebs A (2015) Implications for the discovery of extraterrestrial life: a theological approach. Theology and Science 13, 230244. doi: 10.1080/14746700.2015.1023522.
Lovin RW (2009) Becoming responsible in Christian ethics. Studies in Christian Ethics 22, 389398. doi: 10.1177/0953946809340939.
McKay CP (2009) Planetary ecosynthesis on Mars: restoration ecology and environmental ethics. In Bertka CM (ed.). Exploring the Origin, Extent, and Future of Life: Philosophical, Ethical, and Theological Perspectives. Cambridge astrobiology, 4, Cambridge, UK, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 245260.
Meireis T (2016) Schöpfung und Transformation. Nachhaltigkeit in protestantischer perspektive. In Meireis T, Jähnichen T, Rehm J, Reihs S, Reuter H-R and Wegner G (eds). Nachhaltigkeit: Jahrbuch Sozialer Protestantismus 9, Jahrbuch Sozialer Protestantismus, 9, Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, pp. 1550.
Meltzer M (2010) When biospheres collide: A history of NASA's planetary protection programs, NASA SP, 2011-4234, NASA Aeronautics and Space Administration; For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O, Washington, D.C., xx, 522.
Moltmann J (1985) God in Creation: A new Theology of Creation and the Spirit of God, 1st U.S. ed., The Gifford Lectures, 1984-1985, Harper & Row, San Francisco, xv, 365.
NASA (2014) Our Vision for Planetary Sustainability. Available at: http://www.nasa.gov/content/planetary-sustainability-our-vision/#.WBgtmiTBZsl (Accessed 1 November 2016).
NASA (2011) COSPAR PLANETARY PROTECTION POLICY: with Explanatory Annotations. Available at: https://planetaryprotection.nasa.gov/file_download/65/IAA_COSPARPPPolicy%28v32411%29human_w_ExplAnnotations.pdf.
Niebert K (2016) Nachhaltigkeit lernen im Anthropozän: Wie Schule und Unterricht zu einer nachhaltigen Menschenzeit beitragen können, In Schweer MKW (ed.). Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung in pädagogischen Handlungsfeldern, Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang, pp. 7794.
Niebuhr HR (1963) The Responsible Self; an Essay in Christian Moral Philosophy. New York, Hagerstown: Harper and Row, 183pp.
Niebuhr R (ed.) (1968) Faith and Politics: A Commentary on Religious, Social, and Political Thought in a Technological age. New York: G. Braziller, 268pp.
Niles DP (2002) Justice, peace and the integrity of creation In Lossky N (ed.) Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement. Geneva: WCC Publications, pp. 631633.
Ottati DF (2009) The Niebuhrian legacy and the idea of responsibility. Studies in Christian Ethics 22, 399422.
Pass J, Dudley-Rowley M, and Gangale T (2006) The cultural imperative to colonize space: an astrosociological perspective. In Space 2006, Space 2006, San Jose, California: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, [Reston, Va.].
Persson E (2014) What does it take to establish that a world is uninhabited prior to exploitation? A question of ethics as well as science. Challenges 5(2), 224238.
Persson E (2017) Ethics and the potential conflicts between astrobiology. Planetary Protection, and Commercial Use of Space, Challenges 8, 12. doi: 10.3390/challe8010012.
Peters T (2013) Would the discovery of ETI provoke a religious crisis? In Vakoch DA (ed.). Astrobiology, History, and Society: Life Beyond Earth and the Impact of Discovery. Advances in Astrobiology and Biogeophysics, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 341356.
Peters T (2014) Astrotheology: a constructive proposal. Zygon® 49, 443457. doi: 10.1111/zygo.12094.
Planetary Resources (2017) Space Mining Law Passes in Luxembourg, Available at http://www.planetaryresources.com/2017/07/space-mining-law-passes-in-luxembourg/ (Accessed 28 July 2017).
Rummel JD, Race MS and Horneck G (2012) Ethical considerations for planetary protection in space exploration: a workshop. Astrobiology 12, 10171023. doi: 10.1089/ast.2012.0891.
Science and technology for human development (1974) The Ambiguous Future and the Christian Hope, Anticipation 19: November 1974.
Smith KC: The trouble with intrinsic value: an ethical primer for astrobiology. In Bertka CM (ed.). Exploring the Origin, Extent, and Future of Life: Philosophical, Ethical, and Theological Perspectives, Cambridge Astrobiology, 4, Cambridge, UK, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 261280, 2009.
Soini K and Birkeland I (2014) Exploring the scientific discourse on cultural sustainability. Geoforum 51, 213223. doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.12.001.
The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (2016a) Luxembourg to launch framework to support the future use of space resources. Press Release 03.02.2016. Available at http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/en/actualites/2016/02/03-space/index.html (Accessed 12 December 2017).
The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (2016b) The Luxembourg Government becomes a key shareholder of Planetary Resources, Inc., the U.S.-based asteroid mining company. Press Release 03.11.2016. Available at http://www.spaceresources.public.lu/en/press/press-release.html (Accessed 11 October 2017).
The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (2016c) Luxembourg's new space law guarantees private companies the right to resources harvested in outer space in accordance with international law. Press Release 11.11.2016. Available at http://www.spaceresources.public.lu/en/press/press-release.html(Accessed 2 October 2017).
The Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (2017) Luxembourg aims to Contribute to the Peaceful Exploration and Sustainable Utilization of Space Resources for the Benefit of Humankind. Available at http://www.spaceresources.public.lu/en.html (Accessed 28 July 2017).
UNESCO (2003) Planetary Sustainability in the Age of the Information and Knowledge Society for a sustainable World and Future, Paris.
United Nations (2015) Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to transform our world. Available at http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ (Accessed 21 October 2017).
UNOOSA (2017) Working Groups of the Committee and its Subcommittees: Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, Available at http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/copuos/working-groups.html (Accessed 23 May 2017).
Vogt M (2009) Prinzip Nachhaltigkeit: Ein Entwurf aus theologisch-ethischer Perspektive, Hochschulschriften zur Nachhaltigkeit, 39, Oekom-Verl., München, 555 S.
World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) Our Common Future, 1. publ, Oxford paperbacks, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, u.a., XV, 400 S.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Journal of Astrobiology
  • ISSN: 1473-5504
  • EISSN: 1475-3006
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-astrobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 20 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 203 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 10th January 2018 - 21st January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.