On April 10th, 20 members of the Philosophy club and Bioethics club came together for their second to last meeting for the Spring 2018 semester to discuss environmental ethics and eat pizza.
This meeting was conducted by Dr. Lydia York, visiting assistant philosophy professor. York says that William Paterson University students should “think big…then, think small” about environmental ethics.
“Study across the curriculum how climate and geopolitics lead to war, famine, and mass migrations,” said York on thinking big. “Then think small, about the personal habits that will allow you to tolerate fewer luxuries and more unwanted feelings.”
This meeting was on environmental ethics, with a focus on eco-spiritual tourism and Pachamama, a goddess of the indigenous people of the Andes. York’s presentation was titled ‘Hands off, colonizer!’. In 2012, Bolivia made the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. This gives ‘Mother Nature’ the same rights as a human being.
York also made the connection with the popular and loved movie, Black Panther. She argued that the western world needs to listen to the Pachamama and their approach on climate change. This idea is similar to Wakanda, the fictional African nation in the Marvel Comics movie. Wakanda has the strongest technology in the world. This is attributed to their awareness and harmony of technology and nature.
Environmental ethics is a subject that the west is egocentric towards and will not open their eyes to a third world country’s, like Bolivia and Ecuador, view on the destruction of the planet.
The Bioethics club was founded during the summer of 2015, however they started enrolling students during the 2015- 2016 academic year.
“The Bioethics Club at WPU aims to promote the exchange of ideas and foster an awareness of ethical, social, legal, and public policy issues arising from advances in science and medicine,” said Dr. Elizabeth Victor, philosophy professor and director of the Liberal Studies Program. “The Executive Board and I collaborate with a number of other student government organizations and academic departments to host at least one meeting each month during the academic year.”
“The philosophy club is pretty old,” said Dr. Pete Mandik, Acting Chairperson at William Paterson University’s Department of Philosophy. “I’ve been at WPU since 2000, and the philosophy club was around since way before that.”
“The philosophy club is very informal and perhaps technically not even a club,” said Mandik. “It’s a gathering of interested students and faculty who, once a month, talk about philosophical topics outside of the classroom. All members of the WPU community are welcome.”
Having an open environment for students to share their thoughts and answer the bigger questions that philosophy raises is dire for academic growth.