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Teaching at Venice International University

Laszlo Zsolnai taught a class on Environmental Ethics in the program “Sustainable Development” on July 5, 2010 in Venice, Italy. The program was organized by the Regional Environmental Center, Budapest and the Venice International University.

Venice International University

Zsolnai explored the different levels at which the economy affects the natural environment. At the level of individual biological creatures, awareness-based ethics is adequate. It implies that society should assure natural living conditions and a painless existence for animals and other sentient beings. At the level of natural ecosystems, ecosystem ethics is relevant. It implies that society should use natural ecosystems in a way that does not damage the health of the ecosystem during its use. At the level of the Earth as a whole, Gaian ethics applies. The implication here is that society should not contribute to violating the systemic patterns and global mechanisms of the Earth. Satisfying the above principles can assure sustainability in an ethically meaningful way