In the second online lecture of the lecture series “Is Bioeconomy our future? – Approaches, Point of Views and Perspectives of the Bioeconomy” took place on the 23rd of September during lunch time. In this online seminar guest lecturer Dr. Eugen Pissarskoi, from the International Center for Ethics in Science, University of Tübingen tackled the topic of ethics and how it is represented in the concept of bioeconomy.
Visions of a bioeconomy conceive a way of doing business in which plants form the economic raw material basis and make it obsolete to use oil, gas or coal. Its proponents expect a transformation to a bio-economy to make an important contribution to sustainable development while at the same time securing economic prosperity, but also to contribute to other social challenges of the 21st century, such as combating malnutrition in the Global South or improving health care.
If, however, everything we produce today from oil, gas and coal is made from plants, agricultural land worldwide will be subject to even greater competition for use than it already is today. This, in turn, seems to bring with it an almost unmanageable wealth of ethically highly relevant considerations: Use of the land for food production versus climate protection versus nature conservation versus human infrastructure (e.g. mobility, housing) versus materials (bioplastics) etc.
In view of these considerations, however, the question arises as to how this can be reasonably decided at all. Dr. Eugen Pissarskoi reflected on this in his lecture and posed the following questions: Despite the supposed abundance of ethically relevant conflicts, how should we reflect on the question of how the transformation to a bioeconomy should be equitably structured? He argued that we – part of the public interested in a just transformation to the bio-economy – cannot avoid discussing fundamental moral-philosophical questions, namely what we understand by good or successful life, how its realization should be made politically possible, and which principles of justice should set limits on the realization of good life.
It was also discussed that the bio-economy strategy has so far been developed by official political bodies. And whether it is not possible to make this process more participatory. At present, the aim would be precisely to initiate a public and participatory debate. There are already a number of projects that are implementing this. In addition, it would be important to broaden our perspective and to include the global South in the debate.
The event took place, as developed in the co-creation process, as part of a series event “Is Bioeconomy our future? – Approaches, Point of Views and Perspectives of the Bioeconomy” and is a cooperation of the University of Düsseldorf, the Cluster of Excellence for Plant Sciences CEPLAS, Wissenschaftsladen Bonn e. V. and Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen.