Ethical Considerations in Scholarship and Science

Toronto, November 8 and 9, 1991. Co-sponsored by New College, Victoria University, University College and the Centre for Bioethics in the University of Toronto; Norman Bethune College and MacLaughlin College in York University; and Science for Peace.

The Toronto Resolution

In November 1991, following on from discussions at an international symposium on academic freedom, six academic institutions and Science for Peace co-organized a meeting on codes of ethics.

Preparing for a Substainable Society

A conference bearing the above title was held at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute on June 21-22, 1991. Several members of Science for Peace — Ursula Franklin notable among them — contributed papers to the conference. The thrust of the conference was perhaps epitomised in Dr. Franklin’s address entitled ‘What the future asks of engineers’. The topic of the conference ‘Preparing for a sustainable society’ may have been chosen with great deliberation — it was, in any case, a good topic, better than ‘sustainable development’ which we hear of so often, and which inevitably seems to imply endless economic growth. True, some speakers referred to ‘sustainable development’ but many, very many, seemed to appreciate that, at bottom, such a concept is untenable, and to discuss instead how the world’s societies can, at best, hope to keep going without terminal economic crashes, final environmental degradation and eventual exhaustion of natural resources. Indeed, the general message was clear, and many speakers seemed to come to the same broad conclusion: the world and its human populations are in danger from centuries of economic over-exploitation, waste of resources, pollution, the population explosion and the cruel discrepancies between the material well being of the nations of the North and of the South. As one attending and participating, I found this a really excellent conference, was greatly impressed by the humanistic attitudes and ‘raised consciousness’ displayed by the many engineers who took part, and also by the almost inevitable air of agreement about so many dire human and societal problems that arose, regardless of the different background positions taken by those attending. But I cannot claim the take-home message was an upbeat one. It was generally appreciated that the world is in many ways profoundly endangered, and that the hour is late.
— A. H. Weatherley