Working Toward Sustainability: Ethical Decision-Making in a Technological World

Anna L. Peterson
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Growing Concerns in Technology Ethics The digital age has brought undeniable gains in economic productivity and efficiency.

Anne Raudaskoski: Three stories about ethical decision making

It has greatly amplified the scope, speeds, and scales at which humans can communicate, socialize, and access information. It has led to numerous medical and scientific breakthroughs that would have been impossible without it. But it has also had damaging social effects and created many new or amplified ethical risks, such as:. The risks and challenges above are immensely complex and challenging to address; and as noted above, many of them require non-technological solutions and reforms.

Still, given that many of the harms above have been amplified by failures of technologists to anticipate and adequately respond to ethical issues, these risks can surely be reduced and mitigated by ethical reforms of technology practice. Key to such reform is cultivating more ethically skillful and responsive practices of technology design and engineering.

Programming paradigm. Real-time transcription. Citations Publications citing this paper. References Publications referenced by this paper.

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Mind the theoretical gap: interpreting, using, and developing behavioral theory in HCI research Eric B. Hekler , Predrag V.

Klasnja , Jon Froehlich , Matthew P. Working toward sustainability : ethical decision making in a technological world Charles J. Nearly 90 per cent of the increase in the developing world will take place in urban areas, the population or which in expected to rise from 1. Developing-country cities are growing much faster than the capacity of authorities to cope. Shortages or housing, water.

Working Toward Sustainability: Ethical Decision Making in a Technological World

A growing proportion of city-dwellers live in slums and shanty towns, many of them exposed to air and water pollution and to industrial and natural hazards. Further deterioration is likely, given that most urban growth will take place in the largest cities. Thus more manageable cities may be the principal gain from slower rates or population growth. Urbanization is itself part or the development process. The challenge is to manage the process so as to avoid a severe deterioration in the quality of life.

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Rent from Deepdyve. Now deeply rooted in the public conscience, sustainability has put its stamp on various institutions and sectors, from national to local governments, from agriculture to tourism, and from manufacturing to resource management. Performance and reliability cookies These cookies allow us to monitor OverDrive's performance and reliability. So if human life is not inherently good, the most logical means of sustaining life on earth in general would be to depopulate the earth of humans. There is no 'silver bullet' here; creating technologies that will promote human flourishing and sustainable life on this planet is hard and uncertain work, involving difficult tradeoffs, some inevitable failures, and challenges that defy simple and stable solutions. This is the reason science cannot prove that life or anything else is either good or bad.

Thus the development of smaller urban centres needs to be encouraged to reduce pressures in large cities. It needs are to be pier on a sustainable basis the Earth's natural resource base must be conserved and enhanced. Major changes in policies will he needed to cope with the industrial world's current high levels or consumption, the increases in consumption needed to meet minimum standards in developing countries, and expected population growth.

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It is part of our moral obligation to other living beings and future generations. Pressure on resources increases when people lack alternatives. Development policies must widen people's options for earning s sustainable livelihood, particularly for resource-poor households and in areas under ecological stress. In a hilly area, for instance, economic self-interest and ecology can be combined by helping farmers shift from grain to tree crops by providing them with advice.

Programmes to protect the incomes of farmers, fishermen, and foresters against short-term price declines may decrease their need to overexploit resources. The conservation of agricultural resources is an urge, task because in many parts of the world cultivation has already been extended to marginal lands, and fishery and forestry resourcing have been overexploited. These resources must be conserved and enhanced to meet the needs of growing populations. Land use in agriculture and forestry must be based on a scientific assessment of land capacity, and the annual depletion of topsoil, fish stock, or forest resources must not exceed the rate of regeneration.

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The pressures on agricultural land from crop and livestock production can be partly relieved by increasing productivity. But short-sighted. Ecologically more benign alternatives are available.

Future increases in productivity, in both developed and developing countries, should be based on the better controlled application of water and agrichemicals, as well as on more extensive use of organic mannures and non-chemical means of pest control. These alternatives can be promoted only by an agricultural policy based on ecological realities. See Chapter 5. In the case of fisheries and tropical forestry, we rely largely on the exploitation of the naturally available stocks. The sustainable yield from these stocks may well fall short of demand.

Hence it will be necessary to turn to methods produce more fish, fuelwood, and forest products under controlled conditions.

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Substitutes for fuelwood can be promoted. We live from this forest they want to destroy. And we want to take this opportunity of having so many people here gathered with the same objective in mind to defend our habitat, the conservation of forest, of tropical forest. In my area, we have about native products that we extract from the forest, besides all the other activities we have.

So I think this must be preserved.

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Because it is not only with cattle, not only with pasture lands, and not only with highways that we will be able to develop the Amazon. When they think of falling trees, they always think building roads and the roads bring destruction under a mask called progress.

Let us put this progress where the lands have already been deforested, where it is idle of labour and where we have to find people work, and where we have to make the city grow. But let us leave those who want to live in the forest, who want to keep it as it is. We have nothing written. I don't have anything that was created in somebody's office. There is no philosophy. It is just the real truth, because this is what our life is. Some of these problems can be met by increased use of renewable energy sources.

But the exploitation of renewable sources such as fuelwood and hydropower also entails ecological problems. Hence sustainability requires a clear focus on conserving and efficiently using energy. Industrialized countries must recognize that their energy consumption is polluting the biosphere and eating into scarce fossil fuel supplies. Recent improvements in energy efficiency and a shift towards less energy-intensive sectors have helped limit consumption. But the process must be accelerated to reduce per capita consumption and encourage a shift to non-polluting sources and technologies.

The simple duplication in the developing world of industrial countries' energy use patterns is neither feasible nor desirable. Changing these patterns for the better will call for new policies in urban development, industry location, housing design, transportation systems, and the choice of agricultural and industrial technologies. Indigenous people are the base of what I guess could be called the environmental security system. We are the gate-keeper of success or failure to husband our resources.

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For many of us, however, the last few centuries have meant a major loss of control over our lands and waters. We are still the first to know about changes in the environment, but we are now the last to be asked or consulted. We are the first to detect when the forests are being threatened. And we are the last to be asked about the future of our forests.

We are the first to feel the pollution of our waters, as the Ojibway peoples of my own homelands in northern Ontario will attest. And, of course, we are the last to be consulted about how, when, and where developments should take place in order to assure continuing harmony for the seventh generation. The most we have learned to expect is to be compensated, always too late and too little.

We are seldom asked to help avoid the need for compensation by lending our expertise and our consent to development. The prevention and reduction of air and water pollution will remain a critical task of resource conservation. Air and water quality come under pressure from such activities as fertilizer and pesticide use.

Each of these is expected to increase the pollution lead on the biosphere substantially, particularly in developing countries. Cleaning up after the event is an expensive solution. Hence all countries need to anticipate and prevent these pollution problems, by, for instance, enforcing emission standard that reflect likely long-term effects. The fulfilment of all these tasks will require the reorientation of technology he key link between humans and nature.

First, he capacity for technological innovation needs to be greatly enhanced in developing countries so that hey can respond more effectively to the challenges of sustainable development. Second, the orientation of technology development must be changed to pay greater attention to environmental factors. The technologies of industrial countries are not always suited or easily adaptable to the socio-economic and environmental conditions of developing countries.