Introduction: Linking Ecology and Ethics for an Interregional and Intercultural Earth Stewardship

  • Ricardo RozziEmail author
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
  • J. Baird Callicott
  • S. T. A. Pickett
  • Mary E. Power
  • Juan J. Armesto
  • Roy H. MayJr.
Part of the Ecology and Ethics book series (ECET, volume 2)


Earth Stewardship implies a paradigm shift in linking facts and values, multiple forms of ecological knowledge and practices, and broadening the mission of the ecological sciences. However, two core limitations need to be addressed: (i) geographical gaps in the coverage of long-term ecological and socio-ecological research (LTER, LTSER, and other long-term environmental research networks) across the planet; (ii) philosophical gaps in the epistemological, political, and ethical dimensions of LTSER. If the rates of anthropogenic damage to the biosphere are to be reduced, both research and its application on a planetary scale requires transdisciplinary as well as inter-hemispheric, and intercultural inputs. Also both scientific and traditional ecological knowledge are dynamic. The integration of biocultural diversity is not an integration of a collection of biological, physical, or cultural objects; it is the incorporation of dynamic, often conflictive, processes of intercultural dialogue, negotiation, and poetic creativity. These intercultural, interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and international processes generate forms of ecosystem co-management, which constitute Earth stewardship. Three areas of discussion contribute to finding the way forward: (1) embracing the multiple forms of understanding and co-inhabiting the biosphere; (2) undertaking the transdisciplinary work of long-term socio-ecological research networks; and (3) integrating ethics and ecological sciences through environmental citizenship. Bringing these broad areas together will contribute to overcoming the geographical and philosophical gaps that limit effective Earth Stewardship.


Biocultural ethics Ecological economics Environmental justice Intercultural Long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER) 


  1. Attfield R (1983) The ethics of environmental concern. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Ball I, Goodal M, Palmer C et al (eds) (1992) The Earth beneath. A critical guide to green theology. SPCK, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Berry W (1981) The gift of good land. Counterpoint Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  4. Callicott JB (1994) Earth’s insights: a survey of ecological ethics from the Mediterranean basin to the Australian outback. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  5. Chapin FS III, Kofinas GP, Folke C (eds) (2009) Principles of ecosystem stewardship: resilience-based natural resource management in a changing world. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapin FS, Power ME, Pickett STA et al (2011a) Earth stewardship: science for action to sustain the human-earth system. Ecosphere 2:89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chapin FS, Pickett STA, Power ME et al (2011b) Earth stewardship: a strategy for social-ecological transformation to reverse planetary degradation. J Environ Stud Sci 1:44–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dussel E (2003) Algunos Principios para una Ética Ecológica Material de Liberación (Relaciones entre la Vida en la Tierra y la Humanidad). In: Pixley J (ed) Por un mundo otro. Alternativas al mercado global. Quito, Ecuador, Comunidad Cristiana Mesoamericana y Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias, pp 29–44Google Scholar
  9. Haberl H, Graube V, Díaz-Delgado R et al (2009) Towards an integrated model of socioeconomic biodiversity drivers, pressures and impacts: a feasibility study based on three European long-term socio-ecological research platforms. Ecol Econ 68:1797–1812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hessel DT, Ruether RR (eds) (2000) Christianity and ecology: seeking the well-being of Earth and humans. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  11. Leopold A (1949) A sand county almanac and sketches here and there. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Lui J, Dietz T, Carpenter SR et al (2007) Complexity of coupled human and natural systems. Science 317:1513–1516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Northcott M (1996) The environment and Christian ethics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ohl C, Krauze K, Grünbühl C (2007) Towards an understanding of longterm ecosystem dynamics by merging socio-economic and environmental research: criteria for long-term socio-ecological research sites selection. Ecol Econ 63:383–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Palmer C (1992) Stewardship: a case study in environmental ethics. In: Ball I, Goodal M, Palmer C et al (eds) The Earth beneath. A critical guide to green theology. SPCK, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Parr TW, Ferretti M, Simpson IC et al (2002) Towards a long-term integrated monitoring programme in Europe: network design in theory and practice. Environ Monit Assess 78:253–290CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Petrie A (2000) Releasing heaven on Earth. God’s principles for restoring the land. Baker Book House, Grand RapidsGoogle Scholar
  18. Poole AK, Hargrove E, Day P et al (2013) A call for ethics literacy in environmental education. In: Rozzi R, Pickett STA, Palmer C et al (eds) Linking ecology and ethics for a changing world: values, philosophy, and action, ecology and ethics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 349–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Power ME, Chapin FS III (2009) Planetary stewardship. Front Ecol Environ 7:399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rasmussen L (1996) Earth community, Earth ethics. WCC, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  21. Redman CL, Grove JM, Kuby LH (2004) Integrating social science into the long-term ecological research (LTER) network: social dimensions of ecological change and ecological dimensions of social change. Ecosystems 7:161–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rolston H (1985) Valuing wildlands. Environ Ethics 7:23–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rolston H (2013) Foreword. In: Rozzi R, Pickett STA, Palmer C et al (eds) Linking ecology and ethics for a changing world: values, philosophy, and action, vol 1. Springer, Dordrecht, pp vii–xiGoogle Scholar
  24. Rozzi R (2013) Biocultural ethics: from biocultural homogenization toward biocultural conservation. In: Rozzi R, Pickett STA, Palmer C et al (eds) Linking ecology and ethics for a changing world: values, philosophy, and action, vol 1. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 9–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rozzi R, Armesto JJ, Gutiérrez J et al (2012) Integrating ecology and environmental ethics: Earth stewardship in the southern end of the Americas. BioScience 62(3):226–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rozzi R, Pickett STA, Palmer C et al (eds) (2013) Linking ecology and ethics for a changing world: values, philosophy, and action, vol 1. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  27. Sagoff M (2008) The economy of the Earth: philosophy, law, and the environment. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Singh SJ, Haberl H, Chertow M et al (eds) (2013) Long term socio-ecological research. Studies in society-nature interactions across spatial and temporal scales. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  29. Steffen W, Jansson Å, Deutsch L et al (2011) The Anthropocene: from global change to planetary stewardship. Ambio 40:739–761CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo Rozzi
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
    • 4
  • J. Baird Callicott
    • 1
  • S. T. A. Pickett
    • 5
  • Mary E. Power
    • 6
  • Juan J. Armesto
    • 7
    • 8
  • Roy H. MayJr.
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religion StudiesUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Ecology and BiodiversitySantiagoChile
  3. 3.Universidad de MagallanesPunta ArenasChile
  4. 4.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  5. 5.Cary Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA
  6. 6.Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  7. 7.Departamento de EcologíaPontificia Universidad CatólicaSantiagoChile
  8. 8.Institute of Ecology and BiodiversitySantiagoChile
  9. 9.Departamento Ecuménico de Investigaciones (DEI)San JoséCosta Rica

Personalised recommendations