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The Adriatic Symposium, which took place between the 5th and the 11th of June 2002, addressed the ethical aspects of the environmental crisis. The environment is not just an object of study or an area of managerial concern. It is a space where millions of people live and share the responsibility of an extraordinary heritage. The need to cultivate a set of ecological values and foster the emergence of the ecological consciousness of humanity is becoming more and more urgent. In the course of the symposium, religious leaders, and participants were asked to propose ideas as to how religion can inspire humanity towards an ecological ethos. Special attention was paid to the environmental problems of the Adriatic Sea. The six countries of the Adriatic range from a wealthy Member State of the EU to some of the poorest countries in Europe; from the problems of an advanced industrial economy to those in transition and recovery from recent wars. At the head of the Adriatic lie Ravenna and Venice, potent symbols of human culture and achievements, now threatened by human arrogance and an inability to organise a coherent defence of the ecosystems we have disrupted.

The fundamental questions raised were: Why is it necessary to work out a code of behaviour commonly agreed by religion and science that would provide guidelines for environmental policies? What moral principles should such a code of behaviour involve? Religions were asked to explain the motives that their faiths provide for the formation of such an environmental ethic. Scientists were asked to examine the moral foundations of scientific research in the realm of environmental protection.