The Rock Ethics Institute

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Rock Ethics Institute Featured in "We Are: A Magazine of Penn State Philanthropy"

This issue offers a look at the impact of private giving within Penn State. One of the featured gifts from the "Grand Destiny" (1997-2003) campaign led to the creation the Rock Ethics Institute.

A seminar: Inventing Atmospheric Science: The Quest for Prevision and the Gordian Knots of Meteorology

Climate Change Seminar with Jim Fleming Flyer Jim Fleming (B.S. astronomy Penn State, M.S. atmospheric science Colorado State, Ph.D. history Princeton) is professor of science, technology, and society at Colby College, a research scholar at Columbia University, and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. His books include Meteorology in America (1990), Historical Perspectives on Climate Change (1998), The Callendar Effect (2007), Fixing the Sky (2010), and Inventing Atmospheric Science (2016). He is series editor of Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology. In 2015 he participated in the NRC study of Climate Intervention, received a distinguished alumnus award from Colorado State, and was awarded the Eduard Brückner Prize for interdisciplinary climate research.

Penn State researchers assess the impacts of changing weather on Pennsylvania

Image of PA Climate industry changes Penn State researchers assessed the effects of changing climate conditions on agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, water resources, forestry, energy and human health in the 2015 Pennsylvania Climate Impact Assessment Update. The experts also made recommendations to help Pennsylvanians prepare and respond. The 2015 Update was released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The 2015 Update projects that given current emissions trends, the statewide average temperature will be 5-6 °F warmer by mid-century than it was from 1971 to 2000, with precipitation increasing by 8% annually and by 14% during the winter. Wetter winters and springs are expected, with more rain than snow.

Researcher travels to New Orleans 10 years after Hurricane Katrina

One by one, they spoke about loss and devastation, about hope and perseverance. They remembered losing their homes when Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans and wondered how they can better prepare for the future. It’s been 10 years since the deadly storm, and Doug Bessette, a post-doctoral scholar in Penn State’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, recently saw the indelible mark Hurricane Katrina made on those hardest hit.

The Rock Ethics Institute invites submissions of proposal for papers or posters on any topic relating to genetically modified organisms (GMO)

The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State invites submissions of proposal for papers or posters on any topic relating to GMOs. For individual papers, please submit an abstract of 300-500 words. For poster presentations, please submit descriptions of 150-300 words. Individual papers are to be approximately 20 minutes reading time.

Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering (SRPoiSE) opens the call for proposals for the Second Annual Meeting

Submissions are invited for the Second Annual Meeting of SRPoiSE, to be held at Michigan State University Detroit Center, March 27- 28, 2015. This conference seeks to convene presentations, panels, and discussions that serve to promote better understanding of the opportunities and barriers for improving the capacity of philosophers of all specializations to collaborate and engage with scientists, engineers, policy-makers, and a wide range of publics to foster epistemically and ethically responsible scientific and technological research and policy-making. The meeting will be structured so as to encourage dialogue and catalyze future collaborations in this important area of research and practice. The meeting welcomes graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who are already doing this work or who wish to do this work in the future and are looking to explore ways to do so. Presentations and discussions will be on:

Seven local residents cycling to DC; raising awareness about climate change

The trip is sponsored by Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light (paipl.org), a state-wide non-profit that has its main offices in State College. The bikers will be staying overnight in church basements and giving talks to colleges and religious communities along the way. Cricket Hunter, executive director of PA IPL, said “Morality is for everyone, but religious people have a special responsibility to speak out about injustice in the world. We want to energize congregations to begin acting on their moral principles, and this trip is a great step in that direction.”

Rock Ethics Institute to host panel discussion on genetically modified organisms

The panel discussion will take place at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13, in the Foster Auditorium (102 Paterno Library) on the University Park campus.Registration to attend the event in-person is recommended. However, if you are unable to attend in person, a live stream of the event will be available. We will also take questions and send out real time updates through our Twitter page during the event. This event is free and open to the public.

Registration now open for the Fall 2014 RISE UP Graduate Ethics Course

This course introduces a broad concept of research ethics that includes training in the responsible conduct of research as well as the wider impacts of ethics as embedded in and through scientific and engineering research and practice.

Nancy Tuana to speak at the United Frameworks Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC Conference of the Parties Side Event

UNFCCC COP 20 Side Event flyer The United Frameworks Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP 20) takes place from December 1 to December 12, 2014 in Lima, Peru. Nancy Tuana, Nancy Tuana Directorship in the Rock Ethics Institute andDuPont/Class of 1949 Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies, will be speaking on the challenges for robust decision making on climate change science during a Side Event at the Conference. Joining her from Penn State will be Dr. Petra Tscharkert

Penn State conference explores reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions… to zero

Goal: for Penn State, already a leader in Greenhouse Gas reduction, to reach zero effective emissions.

Nominees sought for the Rock Ethics Institute's 2015 Stand Up Awards

Nominees sought for the Rock Ethics Institute's 2015 Stand Up Awards The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State announces a call for nominations for its Eighth Annual Stand Up Awards in recognition of undergraduate students at Penn State’s campuses who have demonstrated ethical leadership in taking a stand for a person, cause or belief. The goal of the award is to recognize courageous individuals and to inform the entire Penn State community of how often the extraordinary act is possible in ordinary circumstances.

Know a Penn State Undergraduate Student who is an Ethical Leader? Nominate them for the 2014 Stand Up Award.

used in a news item Nominate a Penn State Student and help these undergraduate ethical leaders receive recognition for their accomplishments. The Rock Ethics Institute inaugurated the Stand Up Award to honor Penn State undergraduate students who have demonstrated courage, fortitude, and ethical leadership by taking a stand for a person, a cause, or a belief. This award and the individuals it honors should remind the entire Penn State community of how often the extraordinary act is possible in ordinary circumstances.

Faculty appointments to position Penn State as leader in ethics literacy

Penn State is embarking on a transformative effort to establish itself as a leader in interdisciplinary ethics research and ethical literacy, with plans to make 12 tenure-track appointments across an array of academic disciplines over three years. The positions will be co-funded by the University and the academic colleges.

Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering (SRPoiSE) opens the call for proposals for the Second Annual Meeting

Main logo used for SRPoiSE events Submissions are invited for the Second Annual Meeting of SRPoiSE, to be held at Michigan State University Detroit Center, March 27- 28, 2015. This conference seeks to convene presentations, panels, and discussions that serve to promote better understanding of the opportunities and barriers for improving the capacity of philosophers of all specializations to collaborate and engage with scientists, engineers, policy-makers, and a wide range of publics to foster epistemically and ethically responsible scientific and technological research and policy-making. The meeting will be structured so as to encourage dialogue and catalyze future collaborations in this important area of research and practice. The meeting welcomes graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who are already doing this work or who wish to do this work in the future and are looking to explore ways to do so.

Rock Ethics Institute to host panel discussion on genetically modified organisms

Large GMO Header. The Rock Ethics Institute will host the Research Ethics Lecture Series for a second year. The first event of this year’s series will be a panel discussion that will focus on the environmental impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The panel discussion will take place at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13, in the Foster Auditorium (102 Paterno Library) on the University Park campus. Registration to attend the event in-person is recommended. However, if you are unable to attend in person, a live stream of the event will be available. We will also take questions and send out real time updates through our Twitter page during the event. This event is free and open to the public. Much of the public debate around genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has been the subject of hot debate. Environmental impacts of GMO development have often been overshadowed by concerns about food safety. This is in spite of consistent scientific evidence that such concerns are more driven by hype than understanding.

Join moral leaders and put faith in clean air

In the middle of the great recession Pennsylvanians may not feel wealthy, but we are the 1 percent. Each year, Pennsylvania pumps out 1 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide, helping to make the United States the largest historical producer of greenhouse gases. One percent may not seem like much, but Pennsylvanians use more carbon than 190 other countries. One-quarter of the world’s population is so poor that they use no fossil fuels at all. They drive no cars, have no air conditioning and never fly in planes. Compared to them, we are carbon wealthy, yet they are the ones to suffer first from the effects of climate change.

Gender Justice and Global Climate Change Network Participates in Side Event at Durban Climate Change Conference

The Gender Justice and Global Climate Change Network participated in a Side Event at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), COP 17, in Durban, South Africa, on November 30. For coverage of the session, "Gender, Justice and Social Learning: Exploring Theory and Practice in Adaptation," please go to visit our event page.

Chinese University Hosts First Conference in China on Climate Change Ethics

Nanjing University of Science Information and Technology in collaboration with the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State University organized the first conference on climate change ethics in China that was held on October 29 and 30 in Nanjing.

Investigating the Moral Challenges of Solar Radiation Management

Recently, several Penn State faculty participated in the workshop, "The Ethics of Geoengineering: Investigating the Moral Challenges of Solar Radiation Management," sponsored by the Center for Ethics at the University of Montana. Listen to interviews with workshop participants, including Nancy Tuana, Director of the Rock Ethics Institute, and Petra Tschakert, Assistant Professor of Geography, and view public lectures online.

The Guardian publishes article by Donald Brown

"Is climate science disinformation a crime against humanity?" Although there is an important role for scepticism in science, for almost 30 years some corporations have supported a disinformation campaign about climate change science. While it may be reasonable to be somewhat sceptical about climate change models, these untruths are not based upon reasonable scepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science.

The New York Times Opinion page cites ClimateEthics.org

The Worst Ethics Scandal on Capitol Hill? Donald Brown, the ethics professor at Pennsylvania State University who runs the ever-interesting Climate Ethics blog, has posted a provocative piece positing that the recent flurry of ethics investigations in Congress has missed the biggest lapse—failure to put responsibility ahead of politics and meaningfully address global warming.

Donald Brown Interviewed on the Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change

Donald A. Brown, Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law, and Director, Collaborative Program on Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change, was recently interviewed on two public radio programs. Wisconsin Public Radio, July 28, 2010 Radio Smart Talk, WITF Harrisburg, August 4, 2010

Going Green From the Pulpit

Green-tinged sermons peppered with wise-use and conservation endorsements might seem unusual, but the movement is growing as religions begin to see resource management as mercy works no less blessed than feeding the hungry or clothing the naked.

ClimateEthics.org Named One of Time/CNN's Top 15 Green Web Sites

In its April 28, 2008, online issue, Time/CNN named the Rock Ethics Institute's Web site on climate change, ClimateEthics.org, one of the top 15 Web sites addressing environmental issues. The 10-month old site, a joint venture with RealClimate.org, looks at the ethical questions raised by climate change.

"Climate-change solutions lie beyond self-interest"

Unlike many other states, Pennsylvania has no climate-change strategy. This is a moral and ethical failure. Yet the ethical duties of Pennsylvanians to reduce their carbon footprint are not part of the current political debate. In his movie "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore says three times that climate change is a moral problem, but does not say what kind of moral problem it is or what makes global warming a moral problem. Climate change is a clear moral problem for three reasons:

"Pennsylvania Assembly Passes First Global Warming Law"

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania, July 3, 2008 (ENS) - Global warming legislation will be enacted for the first time in Pennsylvania when Governor Ed Rendell signs the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act as he is expected to do. The measure was overwhelmingly approved today by both houses of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.