This module was designed to introduce you to some fundamentals of ethics and democracy. Ethics is the study of value, and how we reason and make decisions about how to act according to those values. Important issues include how decisions should be made; what the consequences of our decisions should be; and to what extent humans, ecosystems, and nonhuman animal welfare should be considered as we make these decisions.
Sustainability is ultimately grounded in some notion of ethics because sustainability decisions have a profound effect on humans and non-humans alike. Given disagreements over ethics, we need the knowledge to constructively engage with others, a procedure for making collective decisions about human-environment issues. Democracy is often the system we use. Democracy involves both voices - speaking up with our knowledge and views - and vote. Both of these facets of democracy have strong geographic features and are quite important to human-environment systems, as is ethics in general.