Ron Engel

Global Ethics and the Earth Charter

Who is Ron Engel?
Ron Engel is Professor Emeritus at Meadville Lombard Theological School, at the University of Chicago. He was a founder of the Ethics Working Group of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and a core member of the international drafting committee for the Earth Charter. He has been a high school biology teacher, park ranger, community organizer, Unitarian Universalist minister, international environmental activist, university professor, and author. His books include Sacred Sands: The Struggle for Community in the Indiana Dunes, Ethics of Environment and Development: Global Challenge, International Response, and The Crisis of Global Ethics, and The Future of Global Governance: Fulfilling the Promise of the Earth Charter. He has a Ph.D. in Ethics and Society from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.

Quick Overview
Born in the 1930s, Dr. Engel first experienced hope for a democratic society during his secondary education, until he realized the values taught were not necessarily carried out. His interest to explore the field of ethics emerged out of his reaction to the social injustice and environmental deterioration he saw as a young man. He takes an integrated, covenantal approach to ethics, combining both justice and virtue. Regarding the role of ethics in education, he shares some of his experience as a professor of ethics and prompts us to ask a profound question: “To what do we remain faithful to the end?” Dr. Engel shares some thoughts on the content and drafting process of the IUCN’s Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living, and the Earth Charter, as he played an instrumental role in the development of both.

Questions Addressed in this Episode

  1. When and how did you become interested in the study of ethics?
  2. What is ethics and why is it important?
  3. What was your personal involvement in the creation of Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living (1991).
  4. Can you share some stories behind certain principles in the Earth Charter?
  5. What is the gist of the chapter “Summons to a New Axial Age: The Promise, Limits and Future of the Earth Charter” in the book The Crisis in Global Ethics and the Future of Global Governance: Fulfilling the Promise of the Earth Charter (2019).
  6. What is the role of ethics in education? How is ethics taught?

Listen to this Episode:

Duration: 1:01:40