Focus Area: Environment
Humans exert great pressure on the natural world. At the same time, human health and well-being face huge environmental challenges, particularly from the relentless rise of greenhouse gases driving climate change. Paying attention to human health and well-being is crucial as we contemplate how to help our environment. But there are tradeoffs between protecting the environment and advancing human well-being. Social injustices may arise when certain populations are affected more acutely by harm to the environment. Where do we draw the line between concepts of individual liberty and the common good? How much do we owe to future generations who will inherit the planet we leave them? The Hastings Center’s work in this focus area emphasizes the need for public deliberation on these and other questions and advances ways to bring public voices into the policymaking process.