Professional Development Fellowship: Ethics and Values of Ecosystem Restoration
Alan Rabideau Principal Investigator
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This project funded by the Science, Technology & Society program supports a professional development fellowship for an environmental engineer to study with an environmental ethicist. Modern environmental problems are fundamentally different from the historical concerns of environmental engineers, including the ubiquity of "wicked" problems that defy the application of traditional engineering tools. This reality is evident in the difficulty experienced by engineers in applying cost-benefit analysis and risk analysis to problems with ecological components, a difficulty that will only intensify with the emergence of global climate change as the defining environmental problem that shapes and influences a range of other environmental problems. These trends require that engineers engage in interdisciplinary collaborations with scholars from other disciplines. This fellowship provides an opportunity for an engineer to become immersed in philosophical literature relevant to the topics of environmental and ecological restoration.<br/><br/>The fellowship provides for 1-year of leave from the University at Buffalo to relocate to the Washington DC area to study and conduct research under the direction of Dr. Andrew Light at George Mason University. Light, a recognized leader in the field of environmental ethics, has written extensively on the ethics of ecological restoration. Specific fellowship objectives include: (1) Develop a deeper appreciation for and understanding of the field of environmental ethics with a focus on how this form of applied philosophy can contribute to the resolution of modern environmental problems, particularly the restoration of the Great Lakes ecosystems. (2) Utilize the fellowship experience to enhance contributions to the development and management of interdisciplinary environmental programs at the University at Buffalo. (3) Contribute to the fields of environmental ethics and environmental engineering by developing two collaborative research papers. (4) Develop a meaningful contribution to the public discourse surrounding national efforts to restore the Great Lakes.