A Code of Ethics for Ecological Engineering Based on the Hacker Code of Ethics

Hacker's Ethic

Access to computers - and anything which might teach you something about the way the world works - should be unlimited and total. Always yield to the Hands-On Imperative!

All information should be free.

Mistrust Authority - Promote Decentralization.

Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position.

You can create art and beauty on a computer.

Computers can change your life for the better.

Analogous Ecological Engineering Ethic

Access to ecosystems - and anything which might teach you something about the way the world works - should be unlimited and total. Always yield to the Hands-On Imperative!

All species should be free and be able to be used in ecological engineering design (including invasive exotics).

Mistrust Environmental Regulators who give permits and Funding Agencies who give research grants — Promote Self-Organization.

Ecological engineers should be judged by their ability to create ecosystems, not bogus criteria such as a degree in engineering, passing the P.E. exam, or ABET certification.

You can create art and beauty with a constructed ecosystem.

Ecosystems can change your life for the better.

Note: The ethics listed on the left are direct quotes from Chapter 2 of Levy's book while the ethics listed on the right are the analogous equivalents for ecological engineering.

Source: Adapted from Levy, S. 1984. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. Dell, New York.

the variety of experimental settings available and the hands-on research experiences made available to students. A wetland research and education building on the site has recently opened which will enhance the utility of the park.

The ideal ecological engineering lab of the future would combine the strengths of the facilities described above. Emphasis would be on the design and construction of experimental living machines and other practical systems. An association with commercial companies would be desirable to keep research practical. Symbiotic relationships should be tried in which research is conducted for companies by faculty and students, and the companies provide equipment, guest lectures, and grants to the lab. The best learning situation is in which students build experimental systems themselves; perhaps a new generation of "hackers" might be envisioned in ecological engineering design that would be analogous to the young people who learned to program computers in the 1960s. Levy (1984) describes the early hackers as "heroes of the computer revolution." Through their passion for programming the old mainframe computers, these young people are credited with developing the software and hardware of personal computers and even with initiating the Internet. Perhaps a new generation of ecological engineering hackers is needed — young people beginning to program living machines to develop new appropriate technologies. Levy recorded the original hacker ethics which guided their productive work, and Table 9.4 offers a possible corresponding ethic for ecological engineering hackers. Providing an educational environment that facilitates this kind of spirited learning will accelerate the development of the discipline. To some extent this is already happening in academic departments of a few universities where experiments in ecological engineering education are taking place.

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