Advancing principles of environmental ethics in law and life.



Welcome to CEEL

Every decision has ethical underpinnings. Which laws or policies are created - or not created? Implemented - or not implemented? Enforced - or not enforced?

Climate change is an ethical issue. Biodiversity loss is an ethical issue. Consumption, production, and development are ethical issues.

How we choose to act defines who we are - as individuals, as organizations, and as governments.
4-6 July 2018 - CEEL at the 16th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. The Academy is a network of nearly 200 higher education institutions around the world that recognize the key role of environmental legal education to the rule of law and environmental governance. This year, the theme was
The Transformation of Environmental Law and Governance: Innovation, Risk and Resilience, and was hosted by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

In partnership with the Ecological Law and Governance Association and the Ethics Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, CEEL Expert Advisor Klaus Bosselmann and Executive Director Katy Gwiazdon hosted a workshop on Ecological Law and Governance. Bosselmann introduced the panel with key issues of ecological law and governance, and Gwiazdon spoke on the role of ethics, including threats, principles, and a methodology for action.

The following day, Bosselmann and Gwiazdon held a small strategy meeting of the IUCN WCEL ESG.

News and Stories

26-30 June 2018 - CEEL at the 26th Annual Symposium of the Global Ecological Integrity Group (GEIG). GEIG is an international network of over 250 experts from across disciplines that seek to expand inter-disciplinary frameworks that promote sustainability for all life on Earth. The 2018 Symposium was hosted by the University of Salerno, with support from the European Law Students Association - Italia. The theme was, "Ecological Integrity and Land Uses: Sovereignty, Governance, Displacements and Land Grabs."

Several members of CEEL leadership participated in the conference, including Expert Advisors Donato Bergandi, Klaus Bosselmann, Prue Taylor, and Laura Westra, Board Member Donald Brown, and Executive Director Katy Gwiazdon. A collection of articles from the event will be published in 2019.
01 June 2018 - Publication announcement! Executive Director K. Gwiazdon and CEEL Expert Advisor Bruce Jennings have articles in the Spring 2018 volume of Minding Nature, the multi-disciplinary journal of the Center for Humans and Nature "exploring conservation values and the practice of ecological democratic citizenship." Jennings is featured in "What is After Us?" He explores the voice of ethics in climate change and argues that we must address "the social determinants of ecological disaster." Gwiazdon argues for an end to business as usual thinking and acting, and offers a way forward in "We Cannot Fail: the promise and principles of ecological law and governance."

10 May 2018 - Publication announcement! Ecological Integrity, Law, and Goverance is now available, eds. L. Westra, K. Bosselmann, J. Gray, and K. Gwiazdon (Routledge). Several CEEL Expert Advisors contributed to the publication, including Profs. Westra. Bosselmann, Taylor, Soskolne, Bergandi, and Engel, as well as Board member Donald Brown and Exec. Dir. Katy Gwiazdon.  

This book celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Global Ecological
Integrity Group (GEIG)
, which includes more than 250 scholars and
independent researchers worldwide, from diverse disciplines, including ecology, biology, philosophy, epidemiology, public health, ecological economics, and international law.
25 April 2018 - CEEL's Executive Director Katy Gwiazdon participated at the 8th UN General Assembly Dialogue on Harmony with Nature on April 23, 2018. Click here for the full programme.

Ms. Gwiazdon discussed, "How Earth ethics can inform local and global law and governance to create sustainable consumption and production practices." She argued that Earth ethics, and ethical engagement, is foundational to an ecological, or Earth-centered, approach to law and governance; addressed the major threats to living in Harmony with Nature; and called for courageous State action.

"From my work in ethics, I believe that the greatest challenges to living in Harmony with Nature, to creating sustainable production and consumption practices are, quite simply, the power of money and the poison of corruption."

Click here for a transcript of her remarks.
26 March 2018 - We congratulate CEEL Board Vice-Chair Mayyada Abu Jaber for being named an Inspiring Woman Entrepreneur Making a Difference Across MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) by the World Bank for "inspiring change, transforming lives, and empowering many in their communities." We can because #SheCan! We are proud to have her voice and leadership at CEEL.

To learn more about her work, please read her recent article, "Time to stop ignoring cultural barriers to female employment in the MENA region."
12 December 2017 - Prof. Patrick Blandin, CEEL Director of Research and professeur émérite du Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (Paris, France), published his newest article, Biodiversité : de la science à l’éthique

Abstract: Inventé en 1985, le mot « biodiversity » a connu un remarquable succès dans les milieux scientifiques, tandis qu’il a pris place en droit de l’environnement. Cet article tente de cerner ce que le néologisme, devenu concept, a provoqué comme renouveau en biologie et dans les façons d’envisager la conservation de la nature. Des ambiguïtés dans sa définition juridique sont soulignées. Enfin, les fondements éthiques
de la conservation d’une biosphère diversifiée sont présentés dans une perspective écologique et évolutionniste.

10 December 2017 - The Evolving Biosphere Ethic is now available in Russian! CEEL gives sincere thanks to the students from Group 8, 3rd Year, at the Russian State University of Justice: Alexandra Mazcka, Julia Ataullova, and Maria Kurilova, with the assistance of Professor Irina Krasnova.
6-11 December 2017 - CEEL Executive Director Kathryn Gwiazdon represented the Ethics Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) at the Joint Meeting of the Steering Committee and the Union, as well as at the High Level gathering, "Executive Preparatory Colloquium on Sharing Water for the Judges and Prosecutors Subprocess of the Political Process of the 8th World Water Forum" in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Partners included the Museu do Amanhã, the Ministro das Relações Exteriores, Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Brasil Governo Federal, Superior Tribunal de Justiça, Procuradoria-Geral da República, Poder Judiciário do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Associação de Magistrados do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, ONU meio ambiente, OEA/OAS Organization of American States, IUCN WCEL, Global Judicial Institute on the Environment, and the Instituto O Direito por um Planeta Verde,
Katy Gwiazdon, with CEEL Board Member Karla Monteiro Matos, and IUCN WCEL Chair, Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin

Nature at the Table

Leave No Child Inside

The Four Loves

An Ethic of Care


George passed away July 27, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Not only was George one of the most influential conservationists in the world, he was a friend, a dear friend, to the people and ideas of CEEL. "I see you, and I will stand for you"  is a letter from our Executive Director, with the heartfelt support of the CEEL Board of Directors.

CEEL will continue to honor George in heart and mind - and courageous action. His spirit is alive in the Biosphere Ethics Initiative, and CEEL will determinedly raise awareness to the invisible and the vulnerable in, The Tale of Toughie: Ethics and the Amphibian Crisis. Onwards!