Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Feb. 16, 2019, unpublished manuscript


Copyright © 2019 Adam Liska


Anthropogenic climate change will cause violence to increase globally, and nonlinear increases in sea level could cause a major escalation in global conflict. After 2100, a 22-meter sea-level rise is estimated here to dislocate two billion people from coastal areas. These impending civilization-changing events require us to again reevaluate our prevalent aesthetic preferences for luxury that produce a significant fraction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Due to industrial inertia, a central dilemma discussed here is the contradictions between the goals and impacts of aesthetics and ethics. Either we lose our own well-being (a loss of high-emission aesthetics) for the benefit of others, or we further our own self-fulfillment via high-emission aesthetics at the expense of negligent climate-harm to others. In either scenario someone losses. Although most ethicists would identify the second scenario as inadequate, there may be good reason to also see the first scenario as a significant moral loss.