Colloquia Series

Google Meets Aldo Leopold:Information, Technology, and 21st-Century Environmental Ethics

Watch Recording

April 22

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

7–8:30 PM

Presented by Penn College faculty, Dr. Rob Cooley & Dr. Mark Noe.

At a college of technology, the question is not just how to access the wealth of information now available, but it is also to anticipate thoughtfully the resulting impacts of its use.

Aldo Leopold’s pioneering work as a wildlife biologist, forester, and scholar generated much insight about humans as agents of change in the natural world.

His observations anticipated the debate over human causation of ecological impacts; his predictions have largely been realized —and it’s only been 65 years since he published his work.

What he “saw” through his exploration of the natural world we can now “see” more clearly, thanks to recent technological advances, especially Google Earth.

The presenters will define environmental ethics through Leopold’s perspective and then consider the multiple viewpoints modern technology brings to our understanding of the issues, viewpoints that add complexity to the ethical implications of future environmental decision-making.

With the visual evidence of Leopold’s predictions at our fingertips, the question becomes: How should professionals—and everyday citizens—mesh Leopold’s ethic with the new possibilities offered by technology?


  • Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. New York: Ballantine Books, 1966. (Republished in a major new edition this past March by the Library of America.)
  • Knight, Richard L., and Sarah F. Bates. A New Century for Natural Resources Management. Washington D.C., Island Press, 1995.
  • Google Earth (2013) as demonstrative tool during presentations.

Penn College Faculty: Dr. Rob Cooley

Penn College Faculty: Dr. Mark Noe