Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

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Environmental Ethics

Fashioning a more sustainable world is one of Santa Clara University's strategic goals, which the Ethics Center supports through our longstanding interest in environmental ethics.

Overview of Environmental Ethics

Environmental ethics applies moral thinking to the natural world and the relationship between humans and the earth. Moral reasoning is not a substitute for science, but it provides a powerful complement to scientific knowledge about the earth. Science does not teach us to care. Scientific knowledge does not, by itself, provide reasons for environmental protection. Science and economics provide data, information, knowledge. Environmental ethics turns to this information and asks: how then, should we live? Why should we care? Environmental ethics builds on scientific understanding by bringing human values, moral principles, and improved decision making into conversation with science.


Learn about campus sustainability, climate change, eating ethically, and more.

Additional Resources

An introduction to the key features of environmental ethics.