Human-Environment Interactions

Environmental ethics and regional sustainable development

  • Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China

Received date: 2011-06-21

  Revised date: 2011-10-08

  Online published: 2011-12-26

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41071060; No.40701009; No.40830741; National Key Technology R&D Program, No.2008BAH31B01; Key Project of Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZCX2-YW-322-5


The scientific environmental ethics plays a key role in the recognition of the human- environment interactions. Modern environmental ethics is the philosophical re-thinking of modern human race environmental behavior. The development of environmental ethics theory, as well as its application in reality, determines the viewpoints of environmental ethics. Sustainable development implies harmony on human-environment interactions and inter- generation responsibility, with emphasis on a harmonious relationship among population, resources, environment and development, so as to lay a sustainable and healthy foundation of resources and environment for future generations. The harmonious society construction in China that is raised by the Chinese central government should be covered by environmental ethics. The connotation of open environmental ethics includes a respect for nature, care for the individual human race, and respect for the development of future generations, which means giving consideration to natural values, individual and human race benefits and welfare across generations. The role of environmental ethics in regional development consists of cognition, criticism, education, inspiration, adjusting, legislation and promoting environmental regulations. The major problems in regional development are extensive resource exploration, fast population growth, irrational industrial structure, unfair welfare distribution and the twofold effects of science and technology development. The formulation of environmental ethics that aims at regional sustainable development, can not only harmonize the relationship of population, resource, environment and economic development, but also guide behavior selection, push social and political system transformation, strengthen the legal system, and raise environmental awareness of the public.

Cite this article

ZHENG Du, DAI Erfu . Environmental ethics and regional sustainable development[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2012 , 22(1) : 86 -92 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-012-0913-6