Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Participants in a national seminar on ‘Ethical Concerns in Environmental Sustainability’ organised by the Department of Philosophy, Government College for Women here recently, stressed the need for a multi-disciplinary approach in designing conservation projects.

Integrating values

Speakers at the seminar called for integrating scientific and technological knowledge with ethical values.

In his presentation, noted environmentalist Satheeshchandran Nair focussed on the relationship between traditional values and the environment. He called for a cultural revamp to meet the challenges of environmental sustainability. The seminar consisted of six sessions focussing on pre-modern traditions, socio-economic and scientific terms, health and hygiene systems and ethico-spiritual dimensions.

Moral ecology

Presenting a paper on the topic, N. Gopalakrishnan said Indian traditions considered nature as part of human collectivity. Moral ecology, he said, was the sum total of belief systems, conventions and ways of life prompted by immediate awareness of the surrounding ecosystem.

Ecology of superstitions

Another participant, M. Ramakrishnan observed that ecological concerns were expressed and practised through superstitions and taboos in Indian tradition. U. Nandakumaran Nair of Annamalai University spoke on the problems relating to genetic-environment interactions and chemical pollutants affecting public health. V. Mohanan Nair stressed the role of ethical committees in research programmes. He called for integrating ethical principles like informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, accountability and transparency, and maximisation of public interest into contemporary research.

Political ecology

Speaking on the concept of “political ecology,’ K. Ramachandran Nair said that sustainable development was driven not solely by economic compulsions, but by socio-political and cultural aspects as well.