Ethics and the Environment

Environmental issues can be a source of heated debate, as we know all too well from past and present local controversies. People sometimes take up entrenched positions on opposing sides of an issue, and in a small community this can become personal and divisive. How can philosophy help? 

I believe we can all benefit from enhancing our critical thinking abilities, learning how to recognise the assumptions behind our own positions and those of others we disagree with, and trying to formulate our arguments in such a way as to find as much common ground as possible with others.

Whether we are concerned about global problems of climate change, pollution, and using up finite natural resources, or about balancing the needs of humans with those of other species here on Waiheke and in our coastal waters, philosophical questions arise. Why does the environment matter? What do we owe to our own and other species, to ecosystems, and to future generations? 

These are among the questions we’ll explore together in a new course that I’m offering next term at Waiheke Adult Learning, ‘Ethics and the Environment’, as part of the Community Education programme.  

The course will be held on Thursday evenings from 31st October till 28th November, 7.00pm-8.30pm, and costs $80 per person.

To enrol online, follow this link:

You may also book in person at the Waiheke Adult Learning Centre, Waiheke High School, Monday to Thursday 9am-2pm or contact them by phone 372-9868 or email

Hoping to see you there,

With best wishes,

Jane Cooper