The Centre for Ethics and Poverty Reserach (CEPR) is happy to welcome Małgorzata Dereniowska as our first Visiting Fellow in 2018. She will stay at the CEPR from January to April 2018 and work on a project on the relation of environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation.
Małgorzata holds a PhD in Philosophy, MA in Social Communication, and BSc in Ecology from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznań, Poland). She is co-editor of special issues for Ethics in Progress and International Journal of Sustainable Development, and of the World Economics Association Pedagogy Blog “Perspectives on Economics & Society.” She is co-author of Positional Analysis for Sustainable Development: Reconsidering Economics, Policy and Accounting with Judy Brown and Peter Söderbaum (Routledge 2017). She serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education and Environment, Space, Place. She has written on a variety of topics in ethics, environmental thought, normative aspects of economics, and sustainable development.
Environmental sustainability for poverty alleviation: Ethical and philosophical aspects
The idea of sustainable development, or sustainability, was developed to address the mutual causality between socio-economic inequalities and environmental degradation. In essence, sustainability is a concept of intergenerational justice aimed at poverty alleviation and at minimizing environmental burdens in a way that allows meeting the essential needs of people now and in the future. It emphasizes the need to integrate social, environmental, and economic dimensions of development and well-being, implying collective responsibility.
Attention to the environmental aspect of poverty broadens the scope of normative approaches towards poverty and social exclusion. It also strengthens the case for ethically-founded approaches to alleviation strategies. But sustainability has a wide variety of meanings and interpretations, and necessitates trade-offs in balancing the well-being of contemporaries and future people. As a result, different views of sustainability render different metrics and indicators for public policy, and leave open the question about what type of relationship between well-being and poverty alleviation is implied by the concept of sustainability.
In this project I seek to answer this question, and examine the importance of an environmental dimension of poverty broadly construed. To this end, I analyze major economic and philosophical approaches to sustainability, arranged within the needs-satisfaction, freedom-oriented, and preference-based approaches. In the course of investigation, I will address the following questions: Is focusing on human needs enough for defining sustainability? Can sustainability be a functioning among others, or should we rather think of it as a meta-capability? Is introducing the idea of collective capability and collective moral responsibility enough to provide a satisfying framework for concrete decision making in terms of sustainability? My main objective is to lay out the elements of multidisciplinary approach to poverty alleviation that addresses sustainability justice, and individual and collective aspects of responsibility in a multicultural world under environmental uncertainties.