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Environmental Neuroethics: the Crossroads of Environment, Brain and Mental Health

21st century environmental challenges coupled to novel scientific understandings of their impacts on neurological and mental health raise a distinct set of considerations at the interface between environmental ethics, brain health, and public policy. How do environmental factors like pollution, toxicity, and radiation affect the brain and present long-term epidemiological concerns? What about the relationship between environmental stressors and mental health among diverse demographic populations? How may public health and environmental strategies work in tandem to design interventions for the built and natural environments? And how can we facilitate discussion of all these questions to promote a future population-level resilience to the challenges brought on by environmental change?

To encapsulate these emerging concerns at the convergence between brain and environmental health whilst aligning it with ethical considerations, the Emerging Issues Task Force of the International Neuroethics Society organized a virtual panel discussion. The panel focused on four areas of analysis. Specific attention was given to how these four tiers come together to provide directions for future ethically-minded and behaviorally-driven environmental health research.

Speakers included:

  • Caleb E. Finch, University of Southern California
  • Laura Y. Cabrera, Pennsylvania State University
  • Louise Harding, University of British Columbia
  • Thomas Albright, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • Judy Illes, University of British Columbia (moderator)
Topics covered in this lesson
  • Ethical issues raised by the connection between brain and environment