CFP: Holmes Rolston III Early Career Essay Prize in Environmental Philosophy

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2021 Call for Papers

Holmes Rolston III Early Career Essay Prize in Environmental Philosophy

The International Association for Environmental Ethics is issuing an essay prize open to its members who are scholars in an early stage of their career.

The prize is named in honor of Professor Holmes Rolston III, for his pioneering work in the field of environmental philosophy. Papers are invited on all aspects of environmental philosophy or environmental affairs (with a strong theoretical component).

A prize of $500 will be awarded to the winning essay. All submitted papers that qualify (see conditions) will be reviewed by an Essay Prize Committee of ISEE Officers in consultation with the Editorial Board of Environmental Ethics. The winning essay will be published in the journal Environmental Ethics.

Scholars who have earned their doctorate no more than five years prior to submission are invited to submit an essay. Submissions must be accompanied by a one-page CV to provide evidence of early career status. Only ISEE members are eligible for ISEE awards and prizes.

The word limit is 60,000 characters (including spaces), including notes and references. An abstract of 100-150 words should also be included. Essays must be prepared for blind review.

The essay should not be under consideration for publication elsewhere, and should not be submitted to any other journal until the outcome of the competition is announced.

Email submission to ISEE President Allen Thompson at <allen.thompson@oregonstate.edu> The closing date for submissions is June 1st, 2021.

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: 2021 Victoria Davion Award for Intersectionality in Environmental Ethics

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International Society for Environmental Ethics

2021 Victoria Davion Award for Intersectionality in Environmental Ethics

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

To help build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive field of environmental ethics, the

International Society for Environmental Ethics seeks to highlight intersectional scholarship in

environmental philosophy. To this end, we established an award in recognition Dr. Victoria Davion, who made cutting-edge contributions to interdisciplinary work in feminist and environmental ethics and was the founding editor of the journal, Ethics & the Environment. At the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Society, Dr. Chris Cuomo delivered a keynote address and was the inaugural recipient of the award.

With this call, the Society seeks nominations for the 2021 Victorian Davion Award for Intersectionality in Environmental Ethics. The award honors scholars engaged in intersectional work that describes, considers, or responds to overlapping forms of exclusion, discrimination, or injustice – such as the interplay of race, class, and gender in environmental injustice, or the relationship between colonialism and climate inequities.  Eligible candidates will be those whose work may be characterized, for example, as examining relations between environmental philosophy and feminist or gender studies, critical race theory, Indigenous studies, or disability studies. We aim to recognize work in research, teaching, and service that extends the scope of environmental ethics to incorporate perspectives and methods that have been historically marginalized or excluded from environmental philosophy as a discipline, and that address questions of epistemic justice, such as the devaluation of certain forms of knowledge within academic environmental philosophy, barriers to and opportunities for developing more inclusive perspectives, and approaches to respectfully collaborating across perspectives and traditions. In general, we seek to honor and advance work that brings different threads of philosophy and environmental thought—within and beyond formal academic discourse—together.

The award is open to individuals at all to stages of their career; however, candidates should demonstrate a sustained commitment to intersectional scholarship, or more broadly, to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of environmental ethics and beyond. Self-nominations are welcome.

Nominations should include:

  1. A letter of nomination, listing the name, affiliation (if any), and contact information of both the nominee and nominator. The letter should explain how and why the nominee qualifies for the award.
  2. The nominee’s curriculum vitae or professional resume.

Nominations may also include:

  • Descriptions, representative samples, or links to relevant work.
  • Additional letters of endorsement for the nomination, no more than two.

Please assemble the nominating materials into one PDF file. Nominations are due by April 15, 2021. They will be evaluated by ISEE Officers and members of the ISEE Nominating Committee.

Send nominations to ISEE President Allen Thompson: allen.thompson@oregonstate.edu

Announcement of the winner and finalists will be made at the 2021 Annual ISEE Meeting in June 2021.


Teaching Webinar

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The International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE) Mentoring Initiative is pleased to

 announce that our first webinar, Teaching Environmental Philosophy: Engaged

 and Inclusive Pedagogies, will be held on

Friday, November 6 from 4-5 pm PT/7-8 pm ET

The webinar, which features Chris Cuomo (University of Georgia), Rebeka Ferreira (Green River College), Ben Hole (Pacific University), and Clair Morrissey (Occidental College), will offer both new and experienced faculty the opportunity to explore engaged and inclusive teaching approaches in environmental philosophy.  The discussion will address stand-alone courses in environmental ethics and environmental philosophy, as well as ideas for integrating environmental dimensions into other courses, such as political philosophy, philosophy of science, aesthetics, and epistemology. The event will include a short presentation by each panelist, followed by Q&A and general discussion.  After the webinar, participants are invited to an informal social gathering in Spatial Chat. 

Both the webinar and gathering are free and open to all, but participants are asked to register in advance, here:  

https://coloradocollege.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMscuqhrzIrG9UzK9OLTPQewjmDatG4txaw

Meeting connection information will be provided by email upon registration. Any questions about the webinar can be directed to ISEE Mentoring Director Simona Capisani (scapisani@fas.harvard.edu) or ISEE Vice President Marion Hourdequin (mhourdequin@coloradocollege.edu).

CFP: International Society for Environmental Ethics

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CALL FOR PAPERS

for the

International Society for Environmental Ethics

18th Annual Summer Meeting

Wednesday, 30th June

to Saturday 3rd July, 2021

at the

Archipelago Research Institute,

Centre for Environmental Research,

University of Turku,

Seili Island, Finland

on questions of

Space, Relations, and Populations

The 18th annual summer meeting of the International Society for Environmental Ethics will convene from Wednesday 30th June to Saturday 3rd July 2021, at Seili island, Finland, situated in Finnish Archipelago, in a historical 17th century leper-colony-turned-mental-asylum-turned-research-station.

This call for papers solicits 500-word proposals for presentations in any topic in environmental philosophy. However, special attention will be given to proposals for talks concerning issues related to the philosophical investigation of the intersection of environmental conditions of space, relations, and populations.

The planet is becoming more and more populated with human beings, which reduces the space available to other species and displaces them from their traditional habitats. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic seems to intersect with the way we occupy the space available – the expansion of human populations into previously wild places promises to only increase the threat of new pandemics. The corona virus is transmitted via shared social spaces, so we combat transmission by isolation and physical distancing. Are emergent and contested norms about “social distancing,” then, a new framework for coordinating collective action? Would some kind of “ecological distancing” be a logical next step? Questions about how we occupy space and our spatial relations to other beings, on an increasingly crowded planet, call for articulation and philosophical analysis.

We are exceeding the carrying capacity and limits of this planet in multiple and very tangible ways. There seems to be a need, then, for more space. How should we think about occupying the space available? Should we prioritize protection and restoration of habitats for the conservation of endangered species? Should the abundant human population be squeezed more tightly into urban spaces? Or should we learn to share the landscape with wild animals, domestic animals, ecosystems, and other humans? Won’t this call for control of human population growth? Is space exploration and colonization ultimately the key to solving our environmental problems on this planet, or is it just a technological fantasy?

Possible topics include questions relating to biodiversity loss, environmental protection and conservation, population ethics, anthropocentric land use, space exploration and colonization, and pandemics. We encourage imaginative thinking about how questions about spatial relations could shed new light upon questions in environmental ethics and philosophy.

To accommodate discussion on population and space, the meeting is hosted in a place which itself is an intriguing combination of secluded, restricted human population and abundant, verdant nature. The nature of Turku Archipelago offers exotic experiences of achingly lush yet ascetic Finnish summer, while the nearby city of Turku offers cultural experiences all the way from 13th century to this day. In addition to the beautiful natural environment, Seili island has a dark yet interesting history of isolation as a former leper colony. The venue itself, located in the island, is an old 17th century hospital building and its utility buildings, now used by the researchers of University of Turku. These historical buildings will accommodate us for the meeting. Off-session, we can enjoy the Nordic and Finnish nature, culture and history of the area. To reach the island and back to mainland, we will share a two-hour ferry through the picturesque archipelago, departing from Turku city center.

For more information about the venue, see https://www.visitseili.fi/en/accommodation/

Proposals prepared for blind review should be submitted via email to Mikko M. Puumala,

<mimapuu@utu.fi> no later than December 15th, 2020. Decisions will be announced by February 30th, 2021. Draft papers for pre-read by conference participants will be due May 31st, 2021.

Please note that while the meeting is planned to take place live, we are closely following the COVID-19 situation in Finland and other countries. We will put updates to ISEE website: https://enviroethics.org/

CFP:ISEE sessions at the 2021 APA Pacific Meeting

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Call for Papers

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

2021 Pacific Meeting of the American Philosophical Association

 Submissions are invited for the International Society for Environmental Ethics group sessions at the 2021 Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA). The meeting will be held March 31 – April 3, 2021, at the Hilton Portland Downtown in Portland, Oregon.

The ISEE invites submissions of individual papers (approximately 20 minute presentations) or proposals for themed sessions (particular topics, author-meets-critics, etc.).

Please include any interest in chairing a session as well.

People working in any area of ethics concerning environmental issues are encouraged to submit proposals.

Submission Procedure:

  • For individual paper submissions, please submit either: (1) a 300-word abstract, or (2) a full paper (approx. 3000 words).
  • For themed sessions, please submit the proposed session title, a brief description of the session, names of all those participating, and titles for each paper. Paper abstracts (of up to 300 words) are strongly encouraged. Participants should be confirmed as willing to attend if the session goes forward.
  • Materials should be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF format to: Alex Lee (ISEE Secretary) at aplee@alaskapacific.edu 
Please include “ISEE/APA” in the subject line.
  • The deadline for submitting proposals is September 30, 2020.

AWARD ANNOUNCEMENT:Victoria Davion Award for Intersectionality in Environmental Ethics

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AWARD ANNOUNCEMENT:

Victoria Davion Award for Intersectionality in Environmental Ethics

Chris Cuomo Keynote Presentation at 17th Annual ISEE Meeting

To help build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive field of environmental ethics, the International Society for Environmental Ethics seeks to highlight intersectional scholarship in environmental philosophy. This includes, but is not limited to, work that examines linkages between environmental philosophy, feminist and gender studies, critical race theory, Indigenous studies, and disability studies. ISEE aims to support research, teaching, and service that extend the scope of environmental ethics to incorporate perspectives and methods that have been historically marginalized or excluded from environmental philosophy as a discipline, and that address questions of epistemic justice, such as the devaluation of certain forms of knowledge within academic environmental philosophy, barriers to and opportunities for developing more inclusive perspectives, and approaches to respectfully collaborating across perspectives and traditions. We seek to honor and advance work that brings different threads of philosophy and environmental thought together.

In support of these aims, we establish the Victoria Davion Award for Intersectionality in Environmental Ethics.

Victoria Davion was raised in New York City, earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1989 and joined the department of Philosophy at the University of Georgia in 1990. She became the first woman to become a full professor in Philosophy at UGA, and the first woman to be appointed department head in 2005, a position she held until her death in 2017. She became widely known for her cutting-edge interdisciplinary work in feminist and environmental ethics, where she made truly transformative contributions, and was a beloved teacher and mentor to many who were inspired by her engaging, accessible, and innovative teaching methods. She presented and published on a breadth of philosophical areas including political philosophy, power and privilege, healthcare, nuclear deterrence, artificial intelligence, abortion, whiteness, and technology. She co-edited The Idea of a Political Liberalism: Essays on Rawls (2000) and was an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics (2009). A lover of nonhuman animals, music, and travel, as well as a witty, engaging, generous, and astute person, Vicky also made a far-reaching impact as the founder and editor of the journal, Ethics & the Environment , which she first published in 1995 and which continues as a highly influential journal today.

In helping to catalyze and bring forth intersectional understanding within environmental philosophy, her contribution inspires this Award and all those whose accomplishments it recognizes.

ISEE is pleased to announce that Prof. Chris Cuomo is the recipient of the inaugural Victoria Davion Award for Intersectionality in Environmental Ethics. Dr. Cuomo is Professor of Philosophy and Women’s at the University of Georgia, where she is an affiliated faculty with the Institute for African American Studies, the Institute for Native American Studies, the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program, and the Initiative on Climate and Society. Cuomo has made substantial contributions in the areas and intersections of feminist theory, environmental philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of race, climate justice, postcolonial thought, Indigenous knowledge, and activism.

In addition to many journal articles and book chapters, Cuomo is the author of Feminism and Ecological Communities: An Ethic of Flourishing (Routledge 1998) and The Philosopher Queen: Feminist Essays on War, Love, and Knowledge (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2002), co-author of the Feminist Philosophy Reader (McGraw Hill 2007), and co-editor of Whiteness: Feminist Philosophical Reflections (Rowman & Littlefield 1999).

On October 16, 2020 Prof. Chris Cuomo will deliver the keynote presentation at the 17th Annual ISEE Conference and will be awarded with the 2020 Victoria Davion Award for Intersectionality in Environmental Ethics.

Call for Nominations: 2020 ISEE Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy

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Call for Nominations for the

2020 ISEE Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy

 The International Society for Environmental Ethics established an award to promote work in public philosophy and honor contributions to the field by Dr. Andrew Light, who received the inaugural award in his name at our 2017 annual summer meeting.

With this call, the Society seeks nominations for the Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy. We strive to recognize public philosophers working in environmental ethics and philosophy, broadly construed, those who are working to bring unique insights or methods to broaden the reach, interaction, and engagement of public philosophy with the wider public.  This may be exemplified in published work or engagement in environmental issues of public importance.

The award is offered without prejudice to stage of career and may be demonstrated by singular work, or engagement of importance, or over a career.  It is important to note that early career scholars are viable candidates and their nominations strongly encouraged. Self-nominations are welcome.

Nominations should include:

(a) A letter of nomination, listing the name, affiliation (if any), and contact information of both the nominee and nominator. The letter should explain how and why the nominee qualifies for the award;

(b) The nominee’s curriculum vitae or professional resume.

Nominations may also include:

(c) Descriptions and representative samples of work in public philosophy, such as op-eds, public presentations, descriptions of philosophically driven civic interactions, or alternative media engagements (blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.) or work about the public importance of environmental philosophy in professional journals;

(d) Additional letters of endorsement for the nomination, no more than two.

 

Nominations assembling these materials into one Adobe Acrobat PDF file are strongly preferred.

Nominations previously submitted for the 2019 Award may be reactivated. Please contact us, as below.

Nominations are due by October 1, 2020. They will be evaluated by ISEE Officers and members of the ISEE Nominating Committee.

 

Send nominations to ISEE President Allen Thompson via email:  allen.thompson@oregonstate.edu

Announcement of the winner and finalists will be made at the ISEE group session meeting during the Eastern Division American Philosophical Assoc., Jan. 4-7, 2021. The award includes a financial prize.

2019 Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy

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The International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE) is pleased to announce publicly the winner and finalists for the Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy.  ISEE established the award to promote work in public philosophy and honor contributions to the field by Dr. Andrew Light, who was recognized for his distinctive work in public environmental philosophy at ISEE’s 2017 annual summer meeting.

With this award, ISEE strives to recognize public philosophers working in environmental ethics and philosophy, broadly construed, and who bring unique insights or methods that broaden the reach, interaction, and engagement of philosophy with the wider public.  This may be exemplified in published work or engagement in environmental issues of public importance.

This year’s honorees have made important contributions and provide distinctive examples of the work in public environmental philosophy that is happening today.

This year’s winner is Professor Paul Thompson of Michigan State University.  Professor Thompson’s work in public philosophy spans multiple decades, and he has made distinctive contributions to agricultural and environmental ethics over the course of his career.  He began working collaboratively with farmers in the 1980s to develop industry reforms that benefited both animals and the environment.  Throughout his career, Professor Thompson’s research has informed and been informed by cross-disciplinary collaborations and community engagement.  He is the author of numerous books, including books aimed for broad audiences, such as From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).  Professor Thompson has served on National Resource Council committees and with the National Academy of Engineering’s Center for Engineering Ethics and Society, and he’s played a key role in developing ethical food standards such as American Humane Certified.  In addition, he has helped to build the field of public philosophy and has mentored others developing careers in this field.  As two of his colleagues wrote in their nomination letter, “Many environmental philosophers have come to value public engagement by observing how Paul Thompson incorporated insights from his public work into his more traditionally philosophical articles and books, and we have come to better understand how to become publicly engaged ourselves through his mentoring. Paul, we believe, is an exemplary public environmental philosopher who has made significant contributions at various levels and with various groups, from policymakers, researchers and academic colleagues, to farmers, consumers and environmentalists.”

This year’s finalists are Associate Professor Adam Briggle of University of North Texas, Professor Christopher Preston of University of Montana, and Dr. Gwynne Taraska, Climate Program Director at Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C.

Adam Briggle, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at University of North Texas, describes himself as a “field philosopher.”  In his book, A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking, he argues that “the role of a field philosopher is to excavate and examine the ethical, aesthetic, and even metaphysical presumptions that are inevitably packed into the black box of expert discourse and political messaging.”  Briggle has centered his career around publicly engaged philosophy.  In addition to his academic writing, he has published work in Slate, Salon, and The New York Times, and he is highly active in his community.  His work as founder and President of the Denton Drilling Advisory Group led to a successful campaign to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton, Texas.  Professor Briggle also serves on the Governing Board for the Public Philosophy Network, and is a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council.

Christopher Preston, Professor of Philosophy at University of Montana made a distinctive contribution to public philosophy with his recently published a book, The Synthetic Age: Outdesigning Evolution, Resurrecting Species, and Reengineering Our World (MIT Press, 2018). The book, which won a 2019 Nautilus award, aims to spark discussion about the technologies that are reshaping human relations with the broader world.  Preston also runs a related blog – The Plastocene – that aims to generate broader public dialogue about “the big decisions about how to approach a world that has already been impacted so greatly,” because “[d]ecisions about the world we want to create belong to everyone.”  Professor Preston’s public philosophical work has included writing for the BBC, Aeon, The Conversation, and the Center for Humans and Nature, and he has been featured in interviews for numerous news sources, including the BBC, LA Times, and The Guardian.

Gwynne Taraska earned her PhD in philosophy at University of Washington, and shortly thereafter, began to apply her philosophical acumen in the policy arena.  She is currently Climate Program Director at Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Taraska previously served as Director of Policy and Research at Climate Advisers, and as Director of International Climate Policy at the Center for American Progress.  She has worked on a wide range of issues, including climate diplomacy, international climate finance, international ocean diplomacy, the Paris Agreement, and climate loss and damage.  Her work and expertise have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, The Hill, Vox, and Energy & Environment.  As one colleague noted: “Gwynne clearly represents the kind of pioneer that we need in public philosophy: someone who has used core philosophical skills to break new ground in the policy community.”

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Research Fellow, Synthetic Biology, Western Sydney University

Ref 1427/21 Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology, Institute for Culture and Society

Western Sydney University is a modern, forward-thinking, research-led university, located at the heart of Australia’s fastest-growing and economically significant region, Western Sydney. Boasting 11 campuses – many in Western Sydney CBD locations – and more than 200,000 alumni, 49,500 students and 3,500 staff, the University has 14 Schools with an array of well-designed programs and degrees carefully structured to meet the demands of future industry. 

The University is ranked in the top two per cent of universities worldwide, and as a research leader, over 85 per cent of the University’s assessed research is rated at ‘World Standard’ or above.  

About Us 

The Institute for Culture and Society carries out research on the transformations in culture and society in the context of contemporary global change. It operates as a leading international centre for interdisciplinary, engaged and collaborative scholarship in the humanities and social sciences for a digital age. Research at the Institute for Culture and Society is organised around an integrated program of research focusing on a number of broad themes including Automated Worlds; Borders & Diversity; Cultural Infrastructures; Environment and Technology; and Urban Futures. 

The Institute is one of four Research Institutes at the University, and the only one predominantly focused on the discipline area of the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS). 

An important role of the Institute is to help develop the University’s overall research performance through external income generation and high-quality publications. It also conducts profile-raising activities through organising major conferences, developing a network of similar research entities nationally and internationally, hosting visiting scholars, and forging strategic partnerships with external organisations and communities. Public and community engagement is an integral aspect of the Institute’s work. 

The Institute for Culture & Society hosts the Western Sydney University node of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology (CoESB) (http://www.coesb.com.au). The CoESB is a new, cross-disciplinary, and national research centre, which aims to create the knowledge and strategies necessary for Australia to develop a vibrant bioeconomy building on the nation’s strengths in agriculture. 

The Centre will combine engineering with molecular biology to design and construct novel biological systems that can convert biomass from agriculture or waste streams to biofuel, bioplastics and other high-value chemicals. The Centre brings together leading researchers in the humanities, social and technological sciences in an international industry, research and civil society network. 

Funded by the Australian Research Council for seven years from 2020 to 2026, CoESB is hosted at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, with nodes in seven other Australian universities (University of Western Australia, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, University of Newcastle, Australian National University, University of NSW, and Western Sydney University). Research in the CoESB is focused upon Centre’s three capabilities: Systems Bioengineering, Industrial Translation, and Social Dimensions. 

The Role – Research Fellow in CoESB 

The Research Fellow will be actively engaged with research associated with the Social Dimensions capability, which embeds expertise and analysis from law, ethics, philosophy, the arts, political science, and the social and behavioural sciences within the science and engineering of synthetic biology. With a focus on ethical issues and values, legal frameworks and cultural shifts, this team of scholars explores some of the central questions arising from the CoE, such as what problem are we trying to solve and is synthetic biology even the right solution? And how does the promise translate into practice, policy and benefits for society? The Research Fellow will work with Dr Josh Wodak, the CoESB node leader at Western Sydney University. 

The position will conduct and manage primary research on ethical issues and values, and cultural shifts with respect to synthetic biology, with a particular focus on biodiversity conservation and/or climate change mitigation; publish research in high-quality outlets; engage and translate research with collaborators, international colleagues and industry partners; assist with project management and administration of project research; supervise research assistants and, where appropriate, co-supervise PhD students. This research-focused role does not include a teaching load, but opportunities for developing and maintaining a teaching profile may be available during the course of the Research Fellowship. 

This is a Full-Time, Fixed-Term position for 3 years based at the Parramatta Campus.

Remuneration Package: Academic Level B $125,306 to $147,860 p.a., (comprising Salary of $105,885 to $125,030 p.a., plus Superannuation and Leave Loading) 

Position enquiries: Dr Josh Wodak via email J.Wodak@westernsydney.edu.au 

To Apply 

To be considered for this position, please submit: 

1. Your CV 
2. A 2-page cover letter outlining your experience and how you will contribute to research within the Social Dimensions capability, about ethical issues and values, and cultural shifts with respect to synthetic biology, with a particular focus on biodiversity conservation and/or climate change mitigation. 
3. Response to the selection criteria 

Closing Date: 8:30pm, Monday 31 May 2021.

Please click here to view Position Description 

How to Apply:

Western Sydney University is committed to diversity and social inclusion. Applications from people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; equity target groups including women, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTIQ; and people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, are encouraged. 

If you require assistance in using the System, please email recruitmentpartnerships@westernsydney.edu.au or phone the Recruitment Helpline on (02) 9852 5422. Please note, we do not accept applications for roles to the recruitmentpartnerships@westernsydney.edu.au email.  This site is optimised for all the latest browsers including Internet Explorer 11.0, Edge, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. Note that earlier versions of any of the browsers mentioned are supported, but likely to demonstrate slower response times.

THE REFLECTION POND – The Perils of Destiny: an Important Lesson of the COVID-19 Pandemic

We are re-sharing essays submitted to ‘The Reflection Pond,’ the opinion section of this past year’s ISEE newsletter. This submission was part of s series on Covid-19 and Environmental Ethics.

THE PERILS OF DESTINY: AN IMPORTANT LESSON OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

by Phil Cafaro

The current global pandemic, devastating as it is, has the potential to teach people some useful environmental lessons, if we’re willing to pay attention. One is that commercializing wild animals and selling them in unhygienic “wet markets” is an invitation to epidemiological disaster. Another is that the current global economy is toxic: when this novel coronavirus drastically ratcheted back economic activity, fish returned to Venice’s canals and New Delhi residents breathed easier and could once again see the Himalayas.

Perhaps the most important environmental lesson COVID-19 can teach environmentalists is that increasing the density of human populations is not the answer to our environmental problems. Even in normal times, excessive density harms people’s physical and mental health. During a pandemic, density can quickly turn deadly. Stories from France to India to Brazil have detailed how difficult it is for people in crowded cities to practice safe social distancing. For poor slum dwellers, living packed in one or two rooms and sharing communal water sources and toilets, it is literally impossible.

In recent years, “smart growth” advocates in the U.S. and Europe have been saying that increased density is the key to creating more ecologically sustainable societies. Fill in those unused city lots with more houses and office buildings. Re-zone detached, single-family housing areas to allow apartments. Re-zone areas designated for three or four-story apartments to allow six or eight-story ones. Build in! Build up! Yes, in my backyard! Smart growth will supposedly allow us to continue to grow, creating environmental efficiencies, while leaving land outside designated growth areas to remain for wild nature.

Such an approach is bound to fail. All those people crammed into cities still need resources from the countryside. So, in fact, more city-dwellers do not translate into more land left to nature, but instead to more land developed to grow food and host energy infrastructure, more wetlands filled in and more forests managed intensively—and more second homes built out in the country for those rich enough to afford them. As our cities, towns and populations grow, we inevitably take more resources from other species and gobble up habitat they need to survive.

Similarly, density’s touted environmental “efficiencies” turn out to be less than valuable than advertised. It’s true that New Yorkers have some of the lowest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the country, due to more mass transit use and apartment living—a function of high density. But the metro area generates the highest total greenhouse gas emissions of any similar area in the country—a function of its excessive population. When YIMBYs urge Americans to get with the program, like NYC and San Francisco, and embrace denser development, they really are urging us to increase our overall greenhouse gas emissions. As a consolation prize, we will get to virtue signal that our per capita emissions have gone down. But it is total emissions that ultimately count when it comes to climate disruption.

In the same way, from an environmental perspective, what matters is overall water consumption, overall demand for food, overall land paved over in concrete, overall air miles flown. More people mean more of all these environmental stressors. Children in New York have higher asthma rates than children in less populous parts of the country, since higher population densities lead to worse air pollution. Year in and year out, that takes a toll on many kids’ ability to live a normal, healthy life. It doesn’t matter if per capita particulate emissions are lower in NYC than in smaller cities and towns—NYC children’s lungs are still worse off because of the crowding, with emissions from many persons per unit area.

None of this means that sensible zoning, alternating denser with less dense areas and undeveloped areas, is not necessary for effective environmentalism. But increased density should not become an end in itself, or a substitute for setting limits to human demands on nature. It should not become an excuse for more population growth in places like California that are already groaning under excessive human numbers. Then “smart growth” becomes a way for clever people to continue to do dumb things: a bait and switch tactic to hide the fact that we continue to damage the environment. That’s the path humanity treads today, as climate disruption, ocean acidification, mass species extinction, and other ecological stressors driven by excessive human numbers threaten the entire planet. The evidence is clear that this path is not sustainable.

Phil Cafaro is Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University and former ISEE President.

CFP: Philosophy in the Wild

Call for Abstracts

Philosophy in the Wild invites abstract submissions for presentations at our inaugural workshop, the theme of which is environmental philosophy, very broadly construed.* This event is an outdoor, technology-free event.

From July 16th to 18th, 2021, participants will camp at Poe Paddy State Park in central Pennsylvania. Activities will include (though will not be limited to) keynote presentations, participant presentations/discussions, and hiking (optional). No prior camping experience is necessary; Philosophy in the Wild can work with participants to help arrange gear rentals.

This event is wheelchair accessible, although the campsite grounds include gravel. 

The event will follow the relevant local directives regarding Covid-19, and plans will be adjusted as needed. 

Please contact philosophywild@gmail.com with any inquiries.

*Environmental philosophy includes, but is not exhausted by, the following themes:

  • Environmental ethics; environmental aesthetics
  • Environmental political philosophy; environmental justice
  • Environment and capitalism
  • Postdevelopment and postcolonial theories
  • Philosophy of nature and metaphysics
  • Environment and social identities, including disability, indigeneity, race, queer ecologies, and ecofeminism
  • Social ecology and ecoanarchism
  • Climate change; sustainability; future generations
  • Urban ecology 
  • Environment and technology
  • Environment and religion
  • Animal ethics and critical animal studies
  • Environment and human flourishing

Abstracts should be approximately 500 words. Please submit your abstract in .pdf format, prepared for anonymous review, to philosophywild@gmail.com. In the body of the email, please include your name, university affiliation, and paper title. Papers should be suitable for a 25-minute presentation and a 25-minute Q&A session. Submissions from members of underrepresented groups in philosophy are especially encouraged.

Submission deadline: February 1, 2021

Decisions announced: April 1, 2021

Date of Workshop: July 16-18, 2021

Keynote Speakers:

Brendan Cline (CSU Channel Islands)

Karen Kovaka (Virginia Tech)

Organized by: Philosophy in the Wild; https://agoffz.wixsite.com/phil-in-the-wild

Contactphilosophywild@gmail.comhttp://bit.ly/2Rv2cRa 

ISEE Sessions at APA Eastern

For those attending the Eastern Division virtual meeting of the APA, ISEE Group Sessions will be as follows:

Thursday, Jan. 14, 11 am-12:50 pm (U.S. Eastern Time)

12L. International Society for Environmental Ethics

Topic: Animals and the Environment: Rights, Responsibilities, and Reverence

Chair: Marion Hourdequin (Colorado College)

Speakers:

  • Keith Hyams (Warwick University) Winner, Andrew Light Award for Public Philosophy
  • Kimberly Dill (Santa Clara University) “A Call to Environmental Reverence”
  • Corey Katz (Georgian Court University) “Scanlon’s Contractualism and Animal Ethics”
  • Connor Kianpour (Georgia State University) “Protections without Rights”

Friday, Jan. 15, 11 am-12:50 pm (U.S. Eastern Time)

16K. International Society for Environmental Ethics

Topic: Perspectives on Anthropocentrism, Non-Anthropocentrism, Agency, and Value

Chair: Marion Hourdequin (Colorado College)

Speakers:

  • Suvielise Nurmi (University of Helsinki) “Environmental Responsibilities as Responsibilities for Relational Moral Agency”
  • Espen Dyrnes Stabell (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) “Why Environmental Philosophers Should Be Buck-Passers about Value”
  • Akinpelu Oyekunle (Adekunle Ajasin University) “On the Idea of an African Environmental Philosophy: Arguments for Complementary Environmental Ethics”

In addition, after the Thursday session, ISEE will hold an informal social gathering on Spatial Chat from 1-2 pm Eastern time (over the meeting’s “lunch break” for those who happen to be on Eastern time!), to enable opportunities for further conversation.  More information will be sent out next week.