The Crisis in Global Ethics and the Future of Global Governance
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The Crisis in Global Ethics and the Future of Global Governance

Fulfilling the Promise of the Earth Charter

Edited by Peter Burdon, Klaus Bosselmann and Kirsten Engel

This thought-provoking book stimulates dialogue and action on the role of global ethics in the governance of individual societies and the international order. Such inquiry is imperative given the extraordinary challenges that face the world today. Leading figures in environmental ethics, philosophy and law approach questions surrounding global ethics and governance from a range of cultural and philosophical perspectives.
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Chapter 11: J. Ronald Engels vision for achieving a sustainable world

Donald A. Brown


This chapter argues that a first order task that needs to be addressed before ethical principles such as those in the Earth Charter can play their needed role in shaping public policy is to open public policy making to express ethical reflection. This is a first order task because all throughout the world, those responsible for environmental and sustainable development policy making are following instrumental reason - a mode of reason which hides or ignores ethical questions - to formulate public policy on environmental and natural resource issues. Thus, this chapter argues that to implement Engel’s moral vision to achieve a just and sustainable global order, citizens and policymakers must demand that all arguments made in opposition to policies designed to achieve a just and sustainable be expressly examined through an ethical lens.

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