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Theme 1
Towards an environmental ethic

The contemporary historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto has defined civilization as 'a relationship to the natural environment... recrafted to meet human demands'. This controversial definition underlines the vital importance of environmental ethics, for without an understanding and respect for nature, civilization itself cannot be sustained. This first session will explore environmental ethics and place them in the context of the Adriatic. In the years since the collapse of totalitarian power and economic central planning, Albania has faced huge challenges in its struggle for modernisation and release from poverty. Though slightly smaller than Belgium, Albania is favoured with an extraordinary diversity of landscapes, ranging from the 'Riviera of Flowers' on its Ionian coast to the rugged mountains of the interior...
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Theme 2
The concept of stewardship: the environment as a gift
Bosnia and Herzegovina with its Catholic, Orthodox and Islamic population suffered more than any other part of the former Yugoslavia from the conflict that tore the state apart. If 'borders are the scars left on the fair face of Europe by war', Bosnia and Herzegovina has had to endure centuries of scarring. War and the recovery from war are the themes of the Symposium as we pass the short coastline of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the place to think about what mankind's wars do to the environment and about how restoration can bring divided groups together again...
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Theme 3
Wisdom, knowledge and information: 'The knowledge of good and evil'
We are often told that we are living in an information society. An information society is barely on the first rung of the ladder of the trinity of information, knowledge and wisdom. How can people attain wisdom? Knowledge is acquired by learning, where some information is deemed useful and retained and other less useful information is rejected...
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Theme 4
Preserving choices for future generations
Perhaps it is easy to look with hindsight at what could and could not have been preserved for present generations. We regret the destruction of monuments, the loss of forests, human suffering in unnecessary wars or the loss of human knowledge with well-recorded tragedies such as the destruction of the great library of Alexandria. More difficult however is to examine our own values and lifestyles and prioritise what must be preserved for future generations or left untouched but protected, to take its own natural course...
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Theme 5
Sacrifice: the missing dimension
Why are we so slow to tackle the 'root causes' of environmental degradation? The problem is that nobody has found a way to tackle them that does not involve an element of sacrifice - unless we are prepared to modify our lifestyles and reconsider our values, it is unlikely that we will make significant advances to tackle the most serious problems threatening humanity and the rest of nature...
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