Internationales Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften (IZEW)

Welcome to the 10th Congress of the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics (EurSafe) 2012

Tübingen, 30th May - 2nd June 2012

Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Ethical Perspectives on Land Use and Food Production

Find the program here.

Climate change is one of the major framing conditions for a sustainable development of agriculture and food production. This is connected to ongoing changes in and of land-use practices which are related to local, regional and global scales, often dubbed as 'glocal' situations. That characterisation also applies to the closely related land and waters use domains of forestry and fisheries.

In this context, agricultural and food ethics (and adjacent fields) need to address well known, but aggravated 'old' problems. These are, among others, desertification boosted by temperature increase, changing precipitation regimes, unsustainable and/or unfair land-use and water regimes, pressure on arable land due to the loss of coastal areas, soil degradation and suburban sprawl, and the strain placed on both environment and animal welfare as a consequence of a growing worldwide demand for animal products. All these phenomena and their manifold socio-economic implications on justice and fairness need to be investigated and reflected from ethical perspectives.

At the same time, however, climate change creates some specific difficulties: There are and will be new irreversible changes of natural and anthropogenic systems, which are associated with a high degree of uncertainties with regard to their consequences. Furthermore, mitigation and adaptation measures to counter or slow down climate change have already resulted in considerable changes in agri- and silvicultural land-use. This is mainly but not only due to the significant increase in growing plants for energy supply ("biofuels"). Another perspective is the purchase or long-term tenancy of arable land or of water rights in the countries of the global south by wealthy nations and by transnational enterprises. In the case of animal production, specific dilemmas arise when a narrow focus on carbon efficiency favours intensive production systems which are decoupled from many traditional agricultural considerations. And there are the citizens’ perspectives on issues of both governance frameworks as well as lifestyle and consumption patterns with regard to adaptation and mitigation.

These issues are some of the many dimensions which demand reflection from an agricultural and food ethics perspective and thus examination by the community of scholars involved in the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics (EurSafe; The 10th EurSafe Congress in Tübingen, Germany, is dedicated to this spectrum of themes around climate change and sustainable development.

The Tübingen conference will follow the well-established successful format of EurSafe meetings with invited plenary speakers and some 70 papers in parallel sessions. These will be documented as short papers in the conference volume which all participants will receive at the beginning of conference. In order to foster and enlarge EurSafe networks, next to the already existing Scandinavian NorSafe committee, a new sub-group of EurSafe members in the German speaking committee is going to have its initial meeting and a workshop with a group of high-ranking visitors from Thailand and India will explore the possibilities of an Asian Pacific network. Furthermore, there are suggestions to introduce new elements like a plenary session designed by students and a movie presentation.

The accompanying social program entails punting on the river Neckar and two receptions, one by the city mayor and the University president respectively, and a surprise cultural program at the conference dinner.

Hope to meet you in Tübingen!

With best regards,

Matthias Kaiser
President of EurSafe; University of Bergen – Norway

Thomas Potthast
Director of the EurSafe 2012 Congress Organising Committee; International Centre for Ethics in the Science and Humanities (IZEW), Tübingen University – Germany

Conference Volume

The conference volume can be purchased via Wageningen Academic.