History of ISEE

The International Society of Environmental Ethics (ISEE) was founded with its first programs and business meeting on December 28, 1990 at the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, Boston, in a packed room. A constitution was adopted at that time. The founding officers were: Holmes Rolston, III, President; Eric Katz, Vice-President; Laura Westra, Secretary; and Peter Miller, Treasurer. Two overseas representatives were appointed: Andrew Brennan for the UK and Europe; Robert Elliot for Australia and New Zealand. The list of representatives has greatly expanded since. The ISEE Newsletter had, in anticipation of formal organization, already printed Volume 1, 1990, with Holmes Rolston as Editor. At the start up, about 350 persons had expressed their support for founding ISEE, in 20 different nations, a number that has since indicated the approximate membership.

Sessions followed in March 1991 at the APA, Pacific Division, and at the Central Division, Chicago in April 1991, setting a pattern for the last decade. ISEE has also sponsored sessions at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, at the Society for Conservation Biology, at the American Institute of Biological Sciences, at the Society of American Foresters, and a number of similar organizations. There have been a number of sessions sponsored in the UK at the Joint Session of the Mind and Aristotelian Societies, in Canada at the Canadian Association of Learned Societies, and in Australia at the Australasian Association for Philosophy. ISEE has been well represented at both the World Congresses of Philosophy in the 1990s, the XIX Congress at Moscow in 1993, the XX Congress at Boston, 1998.

ISEE was an official observer NGO at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, June 1992. Holmes Rolston and J. Baird Callicott were the delegates. ISEE participated in the United Nations Conference on Ethical Issues in Agenda 21, January 1994, at the United Nations in New York.

ISEE now maintains this website, which includes the largest bibliography in the world on environmental ethics, over 16,000 entries. Newsletters over the last twenty years are also available, and by consulting these a full historical record may be obtained. For current events and contacts, read the latest newsletter.