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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP Book 1

ESEP Books, an offspring of the international journal Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics (ESEP), publication organ of the Eco-Ethics International Union (EEIU), presents:


ESEP Book 1

Goals and Conditions for a Sustainable World


A collection of papers by

John Cairns, Jr.



Free download for personal use, PDF format, 1.1 MB

Sale not permitted





  1. Defining Goals and Conditions for a Sustainable World, 7
  2. Eco-societal Restoration: Re-examining Human Society's Relationship with Natural Systems, 21
  3. Restoration of Urban Waterways and Vacant Areas: The First Steps Toward Sustainability, 35
  4. Environmental Monitoring for Sustainable Use of the Planet, 39
  5. Sustainability, Ecosystem Services, and Health, 45
  6. What Sustainability Is Not! 59
  7. Malthus Revisited: Sustainability and the Denial of Limits, 64
  8. The Zen of Sustainable Use of the Planet: Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, 77
  9. Estimating the Risks Associated with Implementing Goals and Conditions for Global Sustainability, 87
  10. Balancing Ecological Impairment and Repair for Sustainability, 99
  11. Assimilative Capacity — The Key to Sustainable Use of the Planet, 107
  12. Exemptionalism vs Environmentalism: The Crucial Debate on the Value of Ecosystem Health, 114
  13. Is the Quest for Sustainable Use of the Planet Unworldly? 123
  14. Maintaining the Habitable Condition of the Planet: Balancing Technological and Ecosystem Services, 128
  15. An Epic Struggle: Sustainability and the Emergence of a New Social Contract, 135
  16. Increased Longevity, Quality of Life, and Carrying Capacity on a Finite Planet, 144
  17. Sustainability and the Future of Humankind: Two Competing Theories of Infinite Substitutability, 150
  18. World Peace and Global Sustainability, 158
  19. Topics for Public Debate: Immigration, Sustainability, and the Precautionary Principle, 171
  20. The Role of Reservoirs in Sustainable Use of the Planet, 181
  21. Speculative Scenarios: Is There a Way to Use and Sustain Our Planet? 191
  22. Environmental Monitoring for the Preservation of Global Diversity: The Role in Sustainable Use of the Planet, 199
  23. Sustainability, Exemptionalism, and Exceptionalism, 217
  24. Ethics in Environmental Politics and Sustainable Use of the Planet, 226
  25. Equity, Fairness, and the Development of a Sustainability Ethos, 236
  26. Exceptionalism and Globalism, 245
  27. Exuberant Optimism vs the Precautionary Principle, 252
  28. Reexamining the "Inherent Worth and Dignity of Every Person" Paradigm in an Interdependent Web of Life Context, 258
  29. Monitoring the Restoration of Natural Capital: Water and Land Ecosystems, 271
  30. Sustainability and Sacred Values, 293





John Cairns, Jr.

University Distinguished Professor of Environmental Biology Emeritus, Department of Biology


Director Emeritus, University Center for Environmental and Hazardous Materials Studies



Professor Emeritus John Cairns, Jr., Department of Biology, Mail Stop 0406, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA

Telephone: (+1) 540-231-8010, Email:


The book My Quest for Sustainable Use of the Planet describes the increasingly important role eco-ethics and sustainability ethics played in Professor John Cairns, Jr.'s professional career. From a modest beginning they became his primary career interest, as did membership in the EEIU. The book is available at no charge at


Next in the ESEP Book Series:

ESEP Book 2: Eco-Ethics and Sustainability Ethics, by John Cairns, Jr.



Citation format:

Cairns J Jr (2002) Goals and Conditions for a Sustainable World. ESEP Book 1. Inter-Research, Oldendorf/Luhe, Germany. Available at


Published 2002 by



Nordbunte 23, 21385 Oldendorf/Luhe, Germany


© Inter-Research 2002. The articles in this E-book are reproduced with permission of their original publishers. The E-book may be downloaded, stored, and redistributed (electronically or on paper) free of charge, provided that the contents remain unchanged and that the source is acknowledged. Neither the entire E-book nor any of its contents may be republished, sold or commercially distributed, except with permission of Inter-Research and of the original publishers.


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