MIAMI VICE OR VIRTUE: Climate Change and Social Ethics

Course Description:

This seminar will examine our ethical and political responsibilities as we confront imminent environmental crises, such as global warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification, salt water intrusion, and extreme weather events.  We will first examine the latest reports on the extent of these problems and their likely impacts.  We will then consult the history of moral and political thought in order to examine the ethical and social dimensions of these problems.  How will the costs and harms of climate change be distributed within and across communities, and to future generations?  How should responsibility for addressing these problems be shared within and across societies?  As south Florida is one of the regions in the U.S. most threatened by climate change, Miami and its surrounding communities will provide us a case study for thinking about our civic duties and individual rights as we face the challenges ahead.

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