Building a Framework for Green Bioethics: Integrating Ecology into the Medical Industry

Bibliographic Information: 

Richie, Cristina. “Building a Framework for Green Bioethics: Integrating Ecology into the Medical Industry,” Health Care Ethics USA, 21, no. 4 (2013): 7-21.


At this apex in human history where our future depends on our ability to adapt and rise to the current challenges of population growth, environmental degradation and diminishing biodiversity, all areas of life must be scrutinized for their ability to adapt to green priorities. The medical industry is no different.

In this article I will define “green bioethics” and establish that conservation has already become present in the medical industry through a growing attraction to ecological sensibilities, seen especially in green burial and hospital administration. Yet current attempts at a sustainable medical industry have not adhered to a coherent or systematic approach, therefore I will provide four principles for determining if a medical development, technique or procedure is green.

Current humans needs over wants for enhancement; simplicity in treatments before complexity; general allocation of resources before special interest access; and encouraging compassion and justice to drive technology instead of financial profit will be my four principles for moving the medical industry into the realm of green bioethics. I will conclude by urging medical professionals, bioethicists and ecologists to consider the link between bioethics and ecology and move towards a green bioethic.

Catholic Health Association of the United States