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Peppoloni Silvia and Di Capua Giuseppe (Eds.)
New Advances on Geoethics and Sustainable Development 
Sustainability, 2022

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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.

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

Papers published (6):

Procesi M., Di Capua G., Peppoloni S., Corirossi M. and Valentinelli A. (2022). Science and Citizen Collaboration as Good Example of Geoethics for Recovering a Natural Site in the Urban Area of Rome (Italy). Sustainability, 14(8), 4429.

Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G. (2021). Geoethics to Start Up a Pedagogical and Political Path towards Future Sustainable Societies. Sustainability, 13(18), 10024.

Georgousis E., Savelides S., Mosios S., Holokolos M.-V. and Drinia H. (2021). The Need for Geoethical Awareness: The Importance of Geoenvironmental Education in Geoheritage Understanding in the Case of Meteora Geomorphes, Greece. Sustainability, 13(12), 6626.

Conversi D. (2021). Exemplary Ethical Communities. A New Concept for a Livable Anthropocene. Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5582.

Bellaubi F., Mallarach J.M. and Sardá R. (2021). A Geoethical Approach to Unlock a Social-Ecological Governance Problem: The Case of the Tordera River (Catalonia, Spain). Sustainability, 13(8), 4253.

Bohle M. and Marone (2021). Geoethics, a Branding for Sustainable Practices. Sustainability, 13(2), 895.

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