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Environmental Ethics

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❶Economy involves trying to allocate the limited resources while ecology looks out to protect these resources.

Essays on Environmental ethics

Essay title: Environmental Ethics


Is it morally acceptable for farmers in non-industrial countries to practise slash and burn techniques to clear areas for agriculture?

Consider a mining company which has performed open pit mining in some previously unspoiled area. Does the company have a moral obligation to restore the landform and surface ecology? And what is the value of a humanly restored environment compared with the originally natural environment? It is often said to be morally wrong for human beings to pollute and destroy parts of the natural environment and to consume a huge proportion of the planet's natural resources.

If that is wrong, is it simply because a sustainable environment is essential to present and future human well-being? These are among the questions investigated by environmental ethics. Some of them are specific questions faced by individuals in particular circumstances, while others are more global questions faced by groups and communities.

Yet others are more abstract questions concerning the value and moral standing of the natural environment and its nonhuman components. The former is the value of things as means to further some other ends, whereas the latter is the value of things as ends in themselves regardless of whether they are also useful as means to other ends. For instance, different societies have different views on areas like land and animal ownership, rights of the future generation, and many more.

Personal conduct with respect to environmental ethics defines how people should interact with nature, regarding its exploitation and conservation. The moral standing of the ethical issues on environment are wholly placed on human beings as they are the only living things who can reason and decide on moral issues.

Responsibility to the environment implies that we are aware of this task, we are able to do it, we are at liberty to do it or not, and carrying out of the task has an effect to others existing in the environment. This means that we know the damage we can cause to the environment, the effects of this damage and the prevention or solutions to these problems.

This gives us a moral significance in environmental ethics, and gives us a central role. The moral standing therefore means we have the moral obligation towards nature and the capability to carry out this responsibility. When we consider environmental ethics, then, look at issues such as: That is if not for human beings benefit; why else should we conserve the environment?

And if depleting the natural resources is necessary for life improvement, why not exhaust it? Do these resources exist for the benefit of a few or should they be left free for use by all? For instance, does biotechnology with potential to create new species, or bring back an extinct species, relieve us of the duty to conserve the biodiversity? Or alternative sources of fuel give us a right to deplete the natural fuel reserve? Is there any way that nature can take care of itself without our hand, like self renewal?

The main issue surrounding environmental ethics today is the activist movements on environmental protection that focus people on the wrong issues, that is the moral standing is more emotional than factual or logical.

The following are essential in discussing environmental ethics and policies. Western Religion and Culture It has been viewed by some philosophers that the Western religion has adversely affected the environment as it teaches that human beings have dominion over the earth and subdue it.

Others view this as a command to take care of nature as we have been left in charge. To address this sensitive topic, religion should be understood in context. Is it logical to still apply the very same principles now as they did then? The culture of a people defines how they relate to and use the environment. Many of the historic events that shape the western culture have had a huge impact on the environment.

Events such as the industrial revolution, technological advances and the modern culture have affected the environment. Culture can easily adapt to changing environments, as well as cause permanent change to different environments.

The environment is very wide and continuous, while the environment defines cultural practices. Therefore it is ethical to put environment before culture, and change current lifestyles towards more nature friendly practices. The future generation Most of the damage to the environment is more likely to affect the future human population. This therefore calls on the currently living humans to consider the rights of those who are not yet born.

We might not know exactly what that generation will require but we are well aware of the basic needs of living beings; food shelter and basic health. Based on these we can have a model of what the environment should offer the future human beings. Is it morally acceptable for farmers in non-industrial to practice- slash and burn techniques to clear areas for agriculture? Consider a mining company witch has performed open pit mining in some previously unspoiled area.

Does the company have moral obligation to restore the landform and surface ecology? If that is wrong, is it simple because a sustainable environment is essential to present and future well-being? Or such behavior also wrong because the natural environment and or its various contents have certain values in their own right so that these values ought to be respected and protected in any case? These are among the questions investigated by environmental ethics.

Some of them are specific questions faced by individuals in particular circumstances, while others are moral global questions faced by groups and communities. Yet others are more abstract questions concerning the value and moral standing of the natural environment and its nonhuman components. In the literature on environmental ethics the distinction between instrumental value and intrinsic value meaning non-instrumental value has been of considerable importance.

The former is the value of things as means to further some other ends. In the same way, I also have my own values and ethics regarding environmental issues that define my responsibility to the natural environment. Although at times I can violate these values when the situation proves to be challenging, I nevertheless hold them in high steem. All too often human beings view nature and natural system as a pleasant surrounding for their leisure time or a resource for economic activity.


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Environmental ethics studies the effects of human’s moral relationships on the environment and everything within it (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ). The .

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Ethics arise not simply from man's creation but from human nature itself making it a natural body of law from which man's laws follow. Good ethics allow one to do what is right in the absence of written rules or guidelines.. Environmental ethics have no precisely fixed conventional definition in glossaries or dictionary terminology/5(10).

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Environmental ethics is the part of environment philosophy which considers extending the traditional boundaries of ethics from only including hum and to non-humans. There are many ethical decisions that human beings make with respect to the environment. Environmental Ethics Essay - Ethics is the study of what is right and wrong in human conduct. Environmental ethics studies the effects of human’s moral relationships on the environment and everything within it (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ).

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In the s, philosophers began to formulate a new field called ‘Environmental Ethics’. Environmental ethics asks about the moral relationship between humans and the world around as; in contrast to traditional ethics, which . In the literature on environmental ethics the distinction between instrumental value and intrinsic value(meaning non-instrumental value) has been of considerable importance. The former is the value of things as means to further some other ends.