Neither biologists nor nonbiologists in today's society are paying adequate attention to the escalating ethical issues raised by the human predicament, and the expertise of biologists seems to demand they make additional contributions to environmental ethics, broadly defined. Massive environmental destruction and the development of biological and nuclear weapons have changed the world; cultural evolution of ethics has not kept pace. “Bioethics” must be expanded from its focus on medical issues to consider such things as the ethics of preserving natural capital for future generations and those of dealing with overconsumption. Bioethics should examine issues as diverse as the ethics of invading Iraq to increase the role of the rich in generating climate change and the ethics of the Lomborg affair. Achieving a sustainable global society will require developing an agreed-upon ethical basis for the necessary political discourse, and the time to start is now.
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Vol. 53 • No. 12