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Environmental Ethics

Adam Smith Center via FutureLearn


Understand why ethics and morality are important in environmentalism

Environmentalism and climate change issues are typically seen today through a purely scientific lens. While natural sciences play a critical role, the reason people disagree on the climate crisis is due to deeper ethical and moral differences.

This five-week course from the Adam Smith Centre will introduce you to environmental ethics as well as different perspectives to uncover the link between ethics and environmentalism. By the end of the course, you’ll understand how morality and ethics drive environmental activism.

Discover how scientific facts and ideas are interpreted through a moral lens

Climate change and other environmental issues originate at a scientific level. We are presented with facts and data about our ecosystem, and we have the responsibility to make a difference.

However, it is our moral and ethical principles that drive the action itself. On this course, you’ll examine how moral beliefs can provoke a sense of responsibility or environmental consciousness, and how this spurs activism.

Explore humanist, modernist, and other environmental perspectives

There are various schools of thought surrounding environmentalism, each with distinct ideologies and approaches to environmental solutions.

You’ll examine contrasting perspectives to analyse how ethics influences each approach. With this knowledge, you’ll also expand your own views and find an approach that aligns with your beliefs.

Recognise humanity’s role in repairing the natural environment

Examining the causes of climate change, it is clear that humanity has contributed to the state of our environment.

By exploring different ideologies such as deep ecology and eco-socialism, you’ll develop an intrinsic understanding of how humanity can repair this damage and create a more sustainable future.

This course is designed for students pursuing studies in environmentalism, economics, business, public policy, and other socio-economic fields.

It will also be beneficial for professionals in the sustainability, public policy, public or private sectors.


  • Introduction to humanity and the natural environment
    • Course introduction
    • Environmental ethics
    • End of Week 1
  • The science of climate change
    • Introduction to Week 2
    • The science of climate and climate change
    • End of Week 2
  • Religion and climate change
    • Introduction to Week 3
    • Religion and climate change
    • End of Week 3
  • Deep ecology and eco-socialism
    • Introduction to Week 4
    • Deep ecology and eco-socialism
    • End of Week 4
  • Eco-modernism
    • Introduction to Week 5
    • Eco-modernism
    • End of Course

Taught by

Bryan Cheang


3.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 4 ratings

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