Monthly Archives: December 2012

My Personal Stance on Environmental Ethics

Over the past few months I have gained a lot of new knowledge, yeah commonplace, but it is true. Environmentally speaking, I have always been prone to “saving the environment.” Growing up with my environmentalist, albeit naggy, mother, I was very self-aware of my environmental foot print, well sorta.

The environment is important to me, I mean it should be important to all of us. However, I really never gave a second chance to acquiring a stance on environmental ethics. I never thought twice where my food came from, who produced, or even how the animal was killed. Neither did I care about animal rights, I just thought PETA was a type of bread, and I never even thought about how politics and religion influence our environmental policies. Well, not until I took my first environmental oriented class, my senior year in high school.

That class was the bomb. It really got my head spinning on the million of possibilities to really do some good with the world. Benefiting from that class, I decided to pursue at least a minor of environmental policy in college. Never did I once think that I would be majoring in it. Yet, without majoring in environmental policy I would have never learned about such interesting people, our world’s, as well as America’s, environmental history.

Here is my position: I am a weak anthropocentrist, a person thinks before acting, and I am definitely a person who believes in animal ethics. First things first, I do not understand how one cannot be for the rights of non-human animals gaining all rights that a sentient being is born with. They are sentient beings. We were not created to rule over the animals, instead we were created equally. Unfathomable, it is simply impossible for to understand how people do not care that animals are treated so poorly, but yet they can stare at a puppy’s photo and ooh and awe at its adorableness when there are animals being beaten, murdered, and skinned all over the planet. IT IS UNFATHOMABLE.

Secondly, I do not understand how people do not see the repercussions of pollution. Yes, I love my computer, my car, and other consumer products, but at least I can admit to the being a reason to being a part of our planet’s burden. Yes, we are the cause. Without us doing anything politically correct about the environment we will continue to suffer the wrath of global climate change, hello Sandy 2.0. It will not stop there, more and more super storms, or hundred year storms, will continue to consume our planet on a YEARLY basis, destroying everything natural or man-made it their paths.

I do not wish ill upon this planet, but it that is what it takes to give people the wake up call that so be it, destroy everything. Well, maybe that is a bit extreme, but our government is not doing much about it, and yes I am looking at you Obama. At least he is better than Romney, but not by much. I just wish we could spend more time finding alternative resources, funding alternative-fueled automobiles, and rehabilitating nature than destroying each other in war after war.

After that rant, I would like to express my gratitude for all I have learned this year in my class: Environmental Policy and its Ethics. I learned about a lot of different topics, mainly ones which affect a broad range of people, including myself. I do mention some of my personal stances above, but I realize that none of that really matters. It does not matter because there are larger, more important causes that need to be addressed before anyone can say anything about animal rights, as well as climate change. We need to fix our attitude first, without an adjustment nothing will change. Climate change is real. Nothing is false about it. These skeptics need to stop denying this force, otherwise it will just bite them right in the behind.

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CSA Practicum

During my Junior year, fall semester, I took Environmental Ethics and its Ethics, with Professor van Buren, here at Fordham University (which is the purpose of this blog). The class went over a variety of subjects, compromising of many different ethical debates of today. It was a challenging, yet rewarding course, and it was able to really show how different people believe today. I believe it is all skewed due to high consumption of resource based products. However, this class did give me some hope for the future, and the St. Roses Garden is evidence of what younger generations are doing to combat this consumption, and improve our world environmentally.

A part of the class was a hands-on learning practicum working on Fordham’s St. Rose’s Garden, and this is a newly developed piece of Fordham property. Acquired from the Bronx, this garden is surrounded by a few buildings with flat roofs.

“St. Rose’s Garden is an organic miniature farm with 8 raised beds designed to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. It will serve as an outdoor laboratory, classroom, and social space for all students/volunteers.”

To say it was a learning experience would be an understatement. It was an experience like nothing before. Although it seems commonplace, CSAs, Community Supported Agriculture, is a new concept for me. Like most Fordham students, I did come from a near upper class family, a place where one did not question or even fathom where their food came from. However, I think I may need to explain what a CSA is once again. It is a group of people, shareholders, who come together and buy a piece of food grown, for a certain amount of time. Each person will pay the full price up front, and in turn will receive a load, usually 8lbs, of food each week. This will last for about 10 weeks or about as long as the growing season, which all depends up to the weather. Unfortunately the scheduled deliveries were all messed up because of Hurricane Sandy. Yet, that just means that people will receive substitute weeks during the month January.

Experiencing the CSA was so much fun. I worked 6 hours delivering food, which means I helped set up the CSA for the shareholders to come pick up. Basically, I would show up for my designated time-slot, then collect the vegetables from the truck. Next, I would set up the vegetables in a certain order. Laying the food out on the tables in Dagger Johns, the food take-out place located in the basement of the McGinely Center here at Fordham; I would place one basket of one type of food per table. At each table there would be one weighing station, allowing the shareholder to find out the weight of his or her bad after filling up with each vegetable. This is the process of getting ready for the shareholders to show up. In an earlier blog, I researched a similar program that is happening at Clemson University,

“Organic farms such as St. Rose’s Garden are becoming a common place amongst universities, like Clemson. At Clemson University, a farm: Organic Farm Project, was started in 2001 and currently uses 15 acres of land; and OFP is dedicated to similar purposes like Saint Rose’s Garden here at Fordham, to teach and provide research.”

Speaking of Fordham, I think I should talk about its history and its problem: Fordham University has been around for years. It is a part of the Hunts point sewer-shed, and the Bronx River watershed. This watershed is destroyed. For years, it has been used as a dumping ground for any garbage the local area had for it. However, it has been cleaned up due to the efforts of the Bronx River Alliance and its volunteers.

Bronx River restoration project, a project trying to fix the environmental degradation that has occurred along its banks for decades. Reconstructing from the bottom up will take decades but it reconstruction is working. People are restoring habitat, removing invasive species, fixing erosion all by looking at historical maps of the Bronx River. One can even look at the older maps of Fordham’s campus to see what has happened over the past decades degrading our schools landscape, soil, water and air. The campus used to be just a farm. The Rose Hill farm covered a broad amount of land, spanning to the Bronx River’s eastern border. This means that the farm used to own the land which is now owned by the New York Botanical Garden. Interestingly enough, there is a Fordham urban legend since the farm gave up land to the New York government, we get free water… which is a false myth. Back on topic, the Rose Hill Farm eventually changed over to a University. Fordham University was formed and one of its first buildings erected was Keating Hall, and it became a Fordham icon. However, over time Fordham has become less and less environmentally friendly, even if they constantly plant everywhere. These plants are homogenous. Planting shrubs and bushes everywhere, eliminating any possibility creating any sort of biodiversity.

Recently, I completed an environmental history course, focusing in North American Environmental history. The course was amazing, as well as the professor. It taught me a lot, and I gained a lot of respect for the environment, its ethics, and its followers. It really opened my eyes to how stubborn some of the people in this world are, including people here at Fordham. They only care about appearances and that is it. But lets get off that subject, I was really struck with Aldo Leopold, and his introduction of the tragedy of the commons. I can totally can see how it affects the environment, as well as its ethics. This concept even affects places like Saint Roses Garden.

St. Roses Garden is all about the learning experience, growing a variety of vegetables organically. If you allow too much nutrients to enter the soil it will kill the plants. If you over water the plants then you will kill the plants. One needs to find a perfect medium. Just like with the tragedy of the commons, if you kill off too many wolves you will increase the prey’s population. Thus, you should let nature play itself out. Maybe, that is something you can suggest for our garden, as well as the world’s agriculture. Let it grow, naturally… do not interfere.

Interfering with nature seems to be a common thing with humans, but I think CSA programs will help people better understand the capabilities of nature, and how organic agriculture works. Working together can teach humans the values of work, and the values of ethics. However:

Fordham is all about the flashiness. Flashing its credentials is priority number one, of course. However, factoring Fordham’s recent sustainability report card Fordham fails to impress and flash its larger than life credentials. Yes, I love my school; but sometimes the ostentatiousness surrounding its every move gets quite annoying, actually really annoying. Breaking away from this behavior would be beneficial, and it would actually show off Fordham’s sustainability plan. I mean other schools are doing the same so why not play up the plan? Receiving a B, NYU beat us with its sustainability plan, whereas we received a C+. Come on Fordham, we need to get everyone involved, students and all. Student body needs to become more consensus about this plan/environmental problem.

Fordham needs to open up, and talk about its stipends. Otherwise, things like St. Roses Garden will not continue thrive. I loved my experience with St. Roses, Jason, and the CSA. I loved meeting new people who live, love, and breathe the environment. Unfortunately Fordham does not really permit that, unless they begin to open up and become more receptive with new ideas.

I believe that this experience has changed me, for the better. Working those hours and learning about the ethics of the environment really changed my perspective on community supported projects, and I would love to start one in my own neighborhood.

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Religion and Ethics, Who knew.

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Western Christian and Eastern Buddhist Ecological Spirituality and Environmental Ethics… what a weird mix. Some people would love to extend personhood to animals, and some already do this. Think about it, how often do you talk to your animal in the second person? If I may so myself, it must happen pretty often. I know I do it multiple times per day. Yet, there are religions out there that blog 28.2believe God created us as the authoritative figure on Earth, therefore we are above animals. They do not see God’s creations extending beyond humans, thus animals, etc. do not have souls. What I want to know is where did this thought come from? Lynn White and Andrew Linery provide an answer.

White’s “main area of research and inquiry was the role of technological invention in the Middle Ages” (Wikipedia). He believed the Middle Ages was the time which can be defined as the “genesis of Western technological supremacy,” founding the basis of all technological inventiveness (Wikipedia). Wanting to figure out why the scientific community thinks in a certain way, White seeks to understand how the relationship between science and technology began.

All significant science is western, dating back to the 17th century. White thinks the relationship between science and technology is recent, science was a form of contemplation: what brough them together was this dominion view in Christianity. This view can be used to subdue the Earth and create mastery. This mastery comes from this ideology that only man was created by God, and man only. Which explains why the church replaced pagan animism with cults of saints, because man had an effective monopoly of spirits. Hence, man does not need to answer to any natural spirits, just its monopoly of spirits. Therefore, God did not create nature, but we were created to have dominion over it.

Linzey takes a similar point of view, but takes a viewpoint from christianity, and its thinking. Christians have lost their identities, because most have a strong hatred for animals. In fact, in christian theology animals are used as satelites for Satan. Satan is viewed as an evil creature, so if animals are depicted as satelites of Satan then they must be evil, as well. For centuries, animals have been made to look evil. Depicting them in dimly light, dark, and evil situations give animals horrific denotations.

However, there is some hope in christianity. St. Francis of Assisi believe in the virtue of humility. Not only for individuals but man as a specie. He tries to despose man and his monarchy over animals. This dominion should not exist, have christians forgot their past, their story? They need to rethink their story, go back and see these untapped, marginalized stories of a world filled with animals and humans together, in harmony.

As a fellow catholic, similar to a christian (different sector) I do not believe animals are evil, but I will say that they are depicted as evil creatures, which is clearly ironic due to how inhumanely they are treated as of late, but I can see that once upon a time they were equal to us humans. Humans are an evil specie. I mean, look at the destruction we have caused amongst the ecosystems of this world, none of them look the same, and none of them will ever look the same. In my opinion, our world would do a whole lot better if religion did not exist. I guess people need something to hope for, to pray for; but why cannot people pray/hope for our world. This world is hanging on by a thread (not trying to sound cliche here but it is true). We focus on continually improving our technology, but what about the science which daily portrays the implications of our own doings?

I love the assessments done by White and Linzey, it helps one better understand the origin of this concept of us being higher up on the ladder in comparison to animals. Fortunately, that is not true. We are all equal. Now lets get that into all our dang minds. COME ON PEOPLE. blog 28.1

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Biocentric Environmental Ethics, What is it?

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What is Biocentric Environmental Ethcis? Breaking it down, Biocentrism is the theory that all living things have equal and inherent worth, relating to the concept “deep ecology.” Take, for instance Matthew Hall, he believes plants are sentient beings. Hall argues that plants should be considered sentient beings, just like Paul Taylor.

Taylor is a philosophy professor at Brooklyn College, and he wrote on biocentric egalitarianism in his book Respect for Nature (1986). Stating that all things, including plants, have equal and inherent worth, Taylor wrote 10 lessons for respecting nature. First, humans centered and life centered systems of environmental ethics, second, the good of a being and the concept of inherent worth, third, the attitude of respect for nature, fourth, the justifiabiliy of the attitude of respect for nature, fifth, the biocentric outlook on nature, sixth, humans as members of the Earth’s community of life, seventh, the natural world as an organic system, eighth, individual organisms as teleological centers of life, ninth, denial of human superiority, and tenth, moral rights and the matter of competing claims. These are the ten sets of advice Taylor gives, he believes that non-humans have an inherent value just as humans do. Therefore, humans have five priority principles which help deal with the conflicts between non-human animals and humans, and each other’s values. The five principles are: self defense, proportionality, minimum wrong, distributive justice, and finally restitutive 27.1

However, if any situation is too complicated to use one of the five presented principles then on should use ethical ideals. The overall aim is to live in harmony with all non-humans on Earth, and therefore any decision should keep that idea in mind. However, don’t we as humans have the right to fulfill our own interests? Yet, if our interests intertwine with what is best with non-human animals what do we do then? Most humans believe that it is the non-basic interests which are worth seeking out, but because some of our non-basic interests are not compatible with respect to nature’s interests. An example includes hunting for sport, and in this case, it does not infringe on human rights; it does not harm other humans.

But, if we apply environmental ethics, then these actions seem wrong because that would be saying that basic interests of non-human animals are not on par with the non-basic needs of humans. Thus, no one with respect for nature, including Taylor, would agree to non-basic interests which harm the interests of non-human animals. Then can we say that the pursuit for development has not only harmed us but the non-basic interests of non-human organisms as well?

Using Taylor’s five principles, one sees that basic interests should always be given priority regardless of species. Therefore, we should be more aware of our surroundings, and how our non-basic needs affect other species which surround us. Take, for example a zoo, it is a place for education and awareness; yet it harms the interests of non-human animals. Animals are not meant to be caged. Although it is beneficial for human kind, animals do not thrive in these “exhibits.” In fact, these exhibits limit cognitive growth, reduce a species interactions with other species, and reduces its environment down to the very basics; but how are they supposed to grow, figuratively and literally. We should think about what is best for the animals, as well as ourselves. Are there alternative programs than zoos? Maybe zoos with larger, life-like exhibits which allow the animals space, as well as interactions amongst species its would normally interact with in nature.

That is my belief. Animals, plants and humans live together on this big rock. Lets live cohesively  amongst each other, keeping each others basic and non-basic interests in mind.

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The Wake Up Call

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VanDe Veer and Callicot are two critical modifcators of animal rights ethics and the hierarchical positions. The former, believes that there is this “internal,” critical modification, in some degree, of the sentience which is morally relevant. The latter, believes in a modified version of leoplodian critical modification. To some degree, the importance of ecosystems and their goods and services are morally relevant.

Basically, “VanDeVeer argues that the ‘species egalitarianism’ of Singer and Regan goes too far in acknowledging the moral standing of nonhuman animals and leaves us in a state of paralysis when it comes to those ethical conflicts in which we must make hard choices between human and nonhuman interests” (Diagrams of Environmental Ethics Theories). Instead, VanDe Veer takes a two-factor position. His two-factor position claims that, “in weighing our duty to sentient beings in ethical conflicts, it is ‘morally relevant’ to consider the first “factor” of what types of conflicting interests are in conflict.” First, we must evaluate our basic interests, which without a being cannot function satisfactory. Second, we must evaluate our serious interests, which still allows the being to function, albeit with difficulty and a cost to its well-being. This second factor can also include differing levels of psychological capacity, like self-awareness, memory, foresight, social-consciousness, and life-span. VanDe Veer sees a difficulty in measuring the sentience of human and non-human animals. How do we take each of their sentience into account during times of great conflict? (look at the chart to see his resolution).

On the other hand there is Callicott, and he takes on Leopoldian land ethics. Callicott believes that to a certain degree, ecosystems, its good and services, are morally relevant. He believes in strong reformism. Meaning, we has human beings have a duty torwards animals because virtually all human beings are sentient beings; thus a plethora of animals are sentient creatures. Respecting the community, and each other, us sentient beings need to make sure, in times of conflict, that we are not letting the other sentient creature suffer. Of those animals who are capable of suffering, we can assume they have at least on interest, which is not to suffer.

However, there is another viewpoint. Although the above seem to be reaching for the middle-of-the-road, Radical Speciecism takes the far right. It believes that it is morally permissible to treat animals in any fashion one so chooses. Because animals are not sentient beings, therefore they have no intrinsic values. Yet, if we acknowledge that animals suffer, which they do, then radical speciesism is mistaken, and false.

From my perspective, I would rather take the middle-of-the-road agrument than take the radical speciecism route. Yes, I do admit that there are tons of radical beliefs out in this world, but I do not believe that all of them are right. I mean, if you cannot admit to yourself that animals are sentient, just like us, then you are fooling yourself; causing an injustice with not only yourself, your environment, but to your world as well. Although that might seem like a harsh slap in the face, it is a much needed, rude wake-up call. Listen people, we need to change our ways, because most animals are sentient creatures who can feel pain and perceive danger, they are like us. The only different between us and non-human animals is our ability to rationalize situations; but I do not believe that puts us on top of the prymaid.

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Sentient? Huh, Come Again….

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Does criterion of moral standing, the idea of being “sentien,” not reason, extend to animals? Well, not most animals, but non-human animals that are able to enter social relationships or have the ability to conciously feel pain, pleasure, and have constant awareness of their surroundings are sentient beings. Which means certain non-human animals are not going to be qualified to fit this criteria, unfortunately.

Who is state that our well being is worth more than the well being of an elephant or a dog? Lets discuss an idea, Moral Egalitarianism –not hierarchism, states that we cannot rank human lives over other non-human lives. This become relevant in blog 25.1times of trade-off situations, like when you are willing to kill an animal, or human, over the other. Therefore, neither a human’s life or an elephants life takes precendence. We are all equal.

However, abolitionists have some policies and rules dealing with this equality. If you want to eat animals, that is fine, but it has to be done humanely. Which means you cannot slaughter an animal inhumanely; by reducing your consumption of wrongly slaughtered animals the number of them slaughtered inhumanely will be lessened. This can also be done by reducing one’s consumption of meat products. Refining what meat you at to only farm-raised, humanely killed meat.

One organization which follows these guidelines is PETA, and it stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. It is an organization or political wing of the animal ethical movement, and holds a strong opinion abou the animal rights movement. Besides PETA, there are two other animal rights activists whose main goals are obtaining animal rights, albeit in two different ways. Peter Singer and Tom Regan take their beliefs from either Mill or Kant.

Peter Singer is a controversial guy. He uses the utilitarian framework of betham and mill. Believing that sentients is a traditional concept used in animal behavior or philosophy: means some kind of conciousness, and on some level an awareness of the blog 25.2environment. Singer states that if a non-human animal would be able to follow his framework of utilitarianism then it should lead to moral extensionism. Principles of utilitarianism should apply to all non-human animals. Whereas Tom Regan bases is beliefs on Kantian structures. Therefore, we all have an innate duty to respect others and the alienable rights of others.

However, are all animals really sentient? Well, in a sense… maybe not. Because it is scientifically unclear whether or not lower animals are sentient enough or how much sentience they have, if they have it. Yet there is some slight primative awareness within animals. But what they do on a daily basis does not mean they are aware of what is going on; deep down their primative instincts are based on primative awareness of their surroundings.

Can extensionism really cover animal sentience? Are animals really capable of receiving full moral worth? I believe they are. I mean some animals, like fish, might seem like a stretch but every animal has an extensive network of nerves, and perception of their environment to which give them the right to receive full moral membership. Which means that millions of species across the globe should receive full sentience membership. In essence, I agree with Singer, but more so with Regan. Regan believes that we all have this duty to fulfill which tells us to extend respect and alienable rights to other species, besides us.

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The Fake, Disgusting, World.

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“As long as there are slaughterhouses ….there will always be battlefields.”

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Animal welfare is a difficult subject for most Americans, because some Americans believe that animals and humans are not created equal in the eyes of God. According to some believers, non-human animals are not sentian creatures. Because of this ignorance, there are some staggering statistics, “approximately 11 billion animals are killed annually in the United States, 86% are birds–98% of land animals in agriculture–and the overwhelming majority are “broiler” chickens raised for meat, aproximately 1 million killed each hour” (Humane Society).

The average citizen in the United States is unaware of the doings of the food industry; the mega food corporations rather veil their processes in deep secrecy than make them public. Publicizing these secrets would create immense hatred amongst consumers, and they will direct their anger torwards these corporations, and the U.S. government. The government has not been able to maintain the food industry, and without regulation it has turned into one giant slaughterhouse, literally. Take birds for instance, “on factory farms, birds raised for meat are confined by the tens of thousands in grower houses, which are commonly artificially lit, force-ventilated, and completely barren except for litter material on the floor and long rows of feeders and drinkers” (Humane Society). Yet, it is not just birds, “more than 116 million pigs, intelligent and highly social animals are slaughtered annually in the United States” (Humane Society). These animals are killed without a single extra thought given, and it happens daily. We need to change. This system needs to change.

First things first, all of us need to consider non-human animals as sentient beings. Sentient meaning, “able to perceive or feel things;” most animals, if not all, are able to think for themselves, feel for themselves, and perceive incidents for themselves ( Therefore animals shall be considered sentient beings. They deserve to possess their own will and to control their own lives, yet we do not let them.

There are many acts out there which try to protect non-human animals by speaking up for them. Abolitionists believet that no animals should be used for any human purpose, referring to animal testing, and inhumane slaughter. Slaughtering sentient creatures goes against every moral rights and ethical codes built into our DNA. How can we kill our brothers and sisters? Take, for example the film, “Earthlings: Make the Connection,” which concentrates on chaos of the human world versus the non-human animal world. Focusing on the slaughtering of animals through various sectors: the food industry, the clothing industry (including leather and fur), and the entertainment industry. This film disgusts me; but not the actual film, instead I am referring to the content of the film.

Containing a multitude of segments, “Earthlings” is one giant vomit inducing pill. It takes the audience on a journey through th various treatments of animals across a plethora of industries. Take, for instance the clothing industry, cattle in India are purchased from peasant farmers and take on long, brutal journey to a destination where the cattle’s skin is torn off. Tearing the skin right off the wriggling bodies of the still alive cattle, workers poke and prode these cattles to death. All of this is done in the name of obtaining an important commodity: leather. If that is not gruesome enough, lets look at the process of obtaining fur -yes fur is still a hot commodity amongst consumers. Consumers love fur. Obtaining fur is an interesting, albeit heinous. First, wild animals, dogs, cats, and various other species are capture and then caged. Then, the animals are taken by the workers who either rip the animals fur, along with their skin, right off their bodies, or they will stick a metal rod in the animals mouth and put an electrical prod up the animal’s anus, electricuting it to death. Beautiful proceedure, isn’t it?

Combatting these wrongdoings are acts such as: the Animals Cruelty Act of 2015, proposition two, or the Humane Slaughter Act; all acts are vying to prevent further atrocities to  non-human animals. The Animal cruelty act deals with the prevention of animals being transported and shown publicly, inhumanely. Where the Humane Slaughter Act states all animals shall be humanely slaughtered, which means the animal must be unconscious in time for the slaughter; yet most slaughterhouses slit the animals’ carotid artery which happens while the animal is still alive. Alive and inhumane slaughter will only be stopped by future acts, such as the ones above, but also from a push from American citizens. We can stop this.

Animal welfare has an abundance of contributors, including: Charles Darwin and Jane Goodall. They started from observations; strong examinations allowing them to see how non-human animals have evolved, and how animals truely feel, perceive, and

I believe, if an non-human animal can understand their surrounding then they must be sentient beings. Yet this viewpoint is not commonplace; however it seems to be growing rapidly. “We are all animals of this planet,” so lets share what has been given to us, evenly (Earthlings). Distributing welfare evenly would be most fair, and a good start. We are rational creatures, so lets start acting like ones. Stopping the inhumane slaughter, stopping the injustice, and stopping the mass murders of animals shall creater a greater, fairer, just world.

“Like us, first and foremost, they are earthlings”

Categories: animal ethics, animal rights, Corporate, Egoism, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, sentian beings | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sustainable Development, the Wave of the Future

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Sustainable business and sustainable development are recent terms and systems which  grew out of a green 21st century motto. So what does business and economic development look like when they are guided by the kinds of higher economic and ethical criteria like: environmental justice, duty to future generations, as well as aesthetic and ecological criteria. Therefore, we need to use people for profit but also for our planet; using each to help develop sustainability. This means providing socially environmentally sustainable/beneficial goods and services, while still being able to make money.

There are some great green initiatives out there, and some modern practices include using recycled materials, using less controversial (harmful substances), and using more alternative resources. One Californian company goes in and takes apart buildings and reuses the parts by selling them to poorer areas of the state. Others use recycled materials, building LEED certified buildings, encouraging conservation, reducing the amount of packaging a product uses.

Unfortuantely, today’s stigma of being environmentally friendly portrays an ignorance instilled in the modern, global citizen. Many of these people seem to equate being environmentally, and socially conscionable with being unprofitable. However, using renewable engergies and manufacturing processes, bio-mimcry for example, allows the localization of  markets to continuously improve products and services. These products and services have already been shown to be profitable. People do not realize how profitable these solutions are for us, and our world. Developing sustainably for the future should be logical conclusion of all sustainable business practices. This idea has been around since the start of the environmentalism movement, circa 1960s.

Sustainable development, including green engineering and architecture, uses local knowledge such as indigenous practices and services. Using these practices, architects and engineers alike have developed new techniques for the built environment; buildings blog 22.3are now taking cues from nature, and mimicing their structures and patterns to help strengthen the structures, lowering their impact on the environment. However, there are some downsides to be considered, one being an ignorant mindset embraced by millions subsiding in developed nations.

Developed nations have enveloped this idea of sustainable design and business, whereas developing, and under-developed nations, have not been quick to embrace this trend. Most of these “other” nations have dealt with famines, droughts, and other environmental problems instead. These problems have caused great stress amongst the high leaders of these unfortunate nations, great stifes, like the ones mentioned earlier, were once viewed as environmental but now are recognized to be exacerbated by socio-political strife and climate change. Climate change and resource allocation has directly affected these strifes, impeding further development; this creates a self perpetuating cycle.

This all leads one to question, what are the ethical considerations we should be providing the world? If we live comfortably does that mean we should care about how others are living, or help them develop sustainably? Do we really need to have any moral obligations towards nations which we have directly harmed through climate change? The world’s sustainable development relies on all of us to help each other out, and by helping the world’s companies become greener and developing new technologies together we can create a global economy without further destroying, and perhaps fixing most environmental issues. We need moral leadership. We need to be united, as one.

Categories: climate change, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, New York City, Organic Farming, policy issues, Poorer nations, Priorities, Retail, Sustainability, Urban agriculture | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Toxic Display of Environmental Ethics

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Many skeptics of today believe that God created our great Earth for us humans, or that is how my father sees it. Seeing how is view point is skewed, I would take that with a grain of salt. Meaning, that is one opinion, of one man, lost amongst thousands of other opinions formed by humans daily. Human beings were created equal to every other specie we share this beloved planet with. So why do we treat animals, and other species so poorly? Because we are not the planet’s rulers, we are not the justifiers. We are all coinhabitants of planet Earth.

Society needs to see how we all have this innate connection with nature, we need it, it needs us, and we need each other. Unfortunately many people do not view the world this way, in fact the people who do, utilitarians, are usually criticized for focusing on the amount of happiness and ignoring fair distribution. Because most people do not believe in fair distribution of environmental burdens, countries are unequally subjected to environmental effects. Most countries affected are located in Africa, a continent which accepts toxic wastes for a cost.

Economics is the basis for how we decide to dispose of waste, like toxins. It is what is most economically efficient. Trading with countries, like ones in Africa, for space to dump our toxins in turn for various purchases, and materials. Yet, shouldn’t we respectblog 21.1 each others fundamental well being, which is living in a clean and healthy environment? Then, reapplying the equality of living to all creatures and organisms on the planet, Earth, is a must. Starting in our own backyard.

45% of Bronx residents live below the poverty line, those residents consists mostly of African Americans and Latinos. Tragically, most other people are against fixing situations that do not affect them personally, Fordham residents do not usually think twice about the surrounding community. Think about it, how often does a student hide their Iphone or Macbook from the streets of the Bronx. Never do they think about the community, and all the problems that the area has come across over time. Tons of areas here in America are veiled with ignorance, not realizing that there is an extreme difference amongst economic classes, races, nationalities, genders, and generations. Ignorance is a disease. A disease which consumes all of us, none of us think twice about other communities and situations which don’t affect us. This mentality, a theory of justice – veil of ignorance portrayed by John Rawls, needs to change and fast.

Just like Adam and Eve we do not know our place in society or the world. We need to bring environmental justice to the world, because it is the fair treatment of all. It brings meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to its development and implementation. The major benefits of implementing this idea is it allows a cleaner environment for all, with millions gaining access to cleaner environmental areas. Take someone like Peter Wenz, he believes people should receive an equal amount of environmental burden; therefore, those who consumer the most shall be burdened the blog 21.3most. Leading to less consumption of products, and materials, which results in less pollution emitted. If we are going to pollute, then we should suffer the consequences. We need a clean, pollutant-free environments. Without a sufficient amount of green space our world will be destroyed, and if we continue disposing harmful substances into the environment, like with the Love Canal incident, we will destroy ourselves.

There are a plethora of waves being made in the field of environmental ethics: Robert Bullard was able to push the movement forward with animated words about out future environment, Charles Lee’s 1987 study of toxic waste dumps and its correlation with race, and finally the fourteenth amendment created further equality amongst races involving the environment. I believe that these people, these solutions will pave a great future for not only our country but our world. Our world deserves a renewal. Without it will suffocate and die or possibly try restoring itself, who knows. Continuing this righteous path will permit our world and ourselves to regain the strenght we once had.

Categories: Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, Ethical Egoism, ethics, human beings and the environment, Life, policy issues | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anthropocentrists, Are you Weak or Strong?

Blog 20:

Looking back it seems that there is this deep division between the world’s socially ideals of our world’s environmental conduct. It seems that most of us might have to choose between Baxter’s world, which justifies the greed of the human race, or with Aldo Leopold which equalizes all species, lowering the domineering stance of the human race down to a level on par with all species. However, will humans be able to see themselves as a specie with equitable virtues, as well as ethics, as other species such as trees or animals? Well, there is one option, Bryan Norton. Norton offers an in-between option which shoots to identify a pure, as well as distinct, environmental ethic.

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By looking at his paper, “Environmental Ethics and Weak Anthropocentrism,” one sees that Norton tries to identify a distinct environmental ethic. Beginning by deciphering what would make a distinct environmental ethic, Norton believes this ethic must take a distinct stance on either accepting or rejecting anthropocentrism. Anthropocentrism is “the position that human beings are the central or most significant species (more so than animal species)” (Wikipedia). Personally, I do not believe in this view point; I consider myself a non-anthropocentrists -considering how many animals I have grown up with I am not surprised. However, some non-anthropocentrists believe that humans are the source of all values here on Earth, but also they believe we can add value to any non-human thing. This removal of human beings as head haunches of the world allows the environmental ethic to become slightly more visible, due to this flexibility.

However if we are to measure this ethic, and its worth, we need to take into account human interest, and what those interests are. Anthropocentrism takes into account our interests, so what does Norton have to say about our traits? Norton states: there are two types of human interests, felt preferences and considered preferences. The former is a desire(s) which temporarily satisfies a specific experience for a specific individual. The latter is any want or need which an individual expresses after sometime of thinking it over, carefully. However, how does the world see these ideas of felt preference and considered preferences?

Well many original economic approaches see felt preferences as the basic platform for our decision making, economically.  I mean look at it this way, how many times does company look at a resource and see a profit, all they care about it money. Money this, money that… money money, and money. Whereas the concept of considered thought has more thought placed into the motive because it takes place after an individual spent sometime thinking the situation over. I have thought it over, and if I want to ace my test, or ace my blogs I will need to work hard and do well. Simple as that.

Finally, there are the concepts of strong and weak anthropocentrism. Strong anthropocentrist is a person who makes a choice based on felt preferences, most of the time. While a weak anthropocentrist is a person who makes a choice based on his or her blog 20.2considered preferences. Thus, weak anthropocentrist will allow us to see beautiful critiques of our values systems, especially here in the United States. When you live in a world which contains skewed mindsets, confusion between wants and needs you will never make any progress.

I believe that our world is filled with selfish people because they are most strong anthropocentrists. They would rather be rash with their decisions, thus putting certain things in front of others. I agree with Leopold’s land ethic, especially after his deal with the deer and the wolves. Our land needs us to make bold, smart and concise decisions allowing it to continue to thrive. If we kill off certain species the ecosystems will go out of whack. We need to learn to be weak anthropocentrists, but maybe not all of the time. Yes, we need to learn to make concise, thought out decisions but we also need to rash, quick in response to help fix the problems we created.

Categories: Corporate, Egoism, Environmental Ethics, Environmentalism, Ethical Egoism, Ethical Reasoning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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