Environmentalism

Toxic Display of Environmental Ethics

blog 21.4

blog 21:

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.

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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.

blog 20.1

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

Consumption: The Mindless Dummy Edition

blog 19.1blog 19:

Should citizenship, value and politics be able to override the free market? Well, maybe. Today’s global society is exactly that: global. Nothing can be said differently because our world is filled with consumer wants and needs, skewed by an unnatural consumer market, like I will state in the next blog. However, our global environment helps us to understand the crisis of environmental degradation that is at hand. First off what steps shall we take?

Well, changing our consumer culture would be the first I would change. It is impossible to move five feet without seeing someone with a shopping bag, or hearing an advertisement for some new, and “improved” product. America, as well as the world, has gone mad. Unfortunately I will say that I have delved deep into the consumer culture, and it is something I regret; however, it is something that helps the world’s economy move round.  So what should we, including myself, consider ourselves? Are we citizens or are we consumers of this vast culture? Well, lets comprehend what exactly is a moral citizen versus what is a model consumer,

"the perfect customers"

“the perfect customers”

then we can decide from there. The model consumer is the perfect egoist. Looking at the “Economic Man,” one can see this idea further explained. First, one must see the world through the “mind’s I,” and its want for satisfaction. Second, one’s values are interpreted as prices and the willingness to pay, thus moral values (i.e. virtues and justice) “are factored out.” Thus, anyone with a product to sell can sell the item/service in any shape or form as long as one can get away with it. If you have a little trouble getting away with selling the item one can us what is called, “junk science.” Junk Science is a false study, or science, which helps to persuade people to see value in a product when there is absolutely none. Personally, I can tell when there is real science being used for a product and when they are trying to outsmart people and use junk science, and I laugh. I will never be fooled, hopefully.

Then there is the moral citizen. He or she is a person who takes “the moral point of view,” by seeing themselves as an equal member of society. Recognizing his or her own duty, but also the duty of others as well. This viewpoint allows the moral citizen to see the moral goodness, or excellence, in everyone. Therefore, these moral values remain independent of economic values. In turn, the moral citizen is unmoved by the devious sales-men of the model consumer, and instead, following the clearer more coherent sides of all arguments.

blog 19.2The overall citizen, however is really a combination of the two, the model consumer and the moral citizen. We all have this skewed sense of the model consumers wants, versus the moral citizens needs. Basically, everyone is a mixture of the two, however each individual will vary. Although, more and more Americans are becoming like the model consumer instead of becoming more like the moral citizen.

Today’s world is getting smaller due to technology. The model consumer is what all this fortune 500 companies want us to be, they do not want us to care about the environment or second guess or choices, they just want us to make a purchase. Unfortunately I fallen victim to their skewed ways. However, I think the only way out of this is to realize we do not need to get so many different things, and we should move back to nature. Nature is where we grew up, it is where children have fun and one can discover the amazing world we live in. We need to get back to that time.

 

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

Corporation Selfishness

Blog 14

I feel like all I talk about is human’s innate need to be selfish, and to think only of oneself. I mean human are selfish creatures, but there are humans who are not selfish but think of others as well. Meaning they care about other species besides humans, a rare quality. In the late 1960’s the grass movement began with the “teach in” program. This program helped educate the masses of environmental issues inflicted by industrial societies. Taking place on April, 22nd every year it would later go on to become earth day. Issues came up afterwards, including Love Canal and Three Mile Island, and henceforth the term environmentalism included many different philosophies. Meaning,

“a philosophy that identifies wild landscapes with wholeness and aesthetic beauty and asserts that such landscapes, along with their plant and animal species, possess an inherent value beyond any economic value.”

Calling for the legal protection of environments and species to prevent all from being absorbed into now commonplace, industrial society. Industrial societies are incompatible with natural systems and if us humans are going to progress further we must understand who to live best as members of plant and animal communities.

Industry is taking over, take for example Nestle Corporation. This corporation is trying to buy up aquifers and water sources in the north but some counties, cities and states are fighting back. Many townships, are now declaring:

“Natural communities and ecosystems possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist, flourish and naturally evolve within the Town of Shapleigh. It further decreed that any town resident had “standing” to seek relief for damages caused to nature – permitting, for example, a lawsuit on behalf of a stream.”

Natural systems have every right to become protected, and if they cannot protect themselves we must protect them from greedy corporations. Heinous crimes such as buying up all the water/aquifers should be punishable against law because no one has the right to own all of that, just like the colonists and the indians of the early years. John Winthrop said that because they did not cultivate their land we had a natural right to secure their land for ourselves.

WE DO NOT HAVE THAT RIGHT. LISTEN HERE NESTLE.

Like the indians, the people of Maine, Roosevelt or early sports-hunters, we all need to protect our environment. Protecting it will benefit us as well as fellow species of the Earth, and corporation greed should end with laws that prevent their greediness from destroying the good green Earth.

I just wonder where all of this comes from, this greed I mean, religion? Religion always seems to cause issues. Some religions like christianity believe that nature is not here for any other reason but to serve man, so basically slavery – a looming sense of anthropocentrism appears. However, not all religions think this way, many eastern religions believe that we should be one with nature, our spirits that is. Buddhism, Zaoism, early Greco-Roman religions (had many Gods referring to different natural phenomenons) believed life coexisted with nature. However, the question still remained whether or not we should attach any morals to natural systems and species.

Environmentalism will keep moving forward thanks to its early founders, and heres hoping naysayers follow suit.

Categories: climate change, Corporate, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, Life, Priorities, Retail, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ethics of the Environment Continued

Blog 13

Politics are messy, heck, we should have listened to George Washington when he said we should not allow parties in our system, but what are you going to do?! Unfortunately, we face varieties of issues dealing with the environment and coming up with a single plan will be messy, difficult and bloody. No one will get their way 100%, compromise is the game that must be played.

Different agencies have been working feverishly over past decade to help legislation get past here in the United States, even around the world. Take the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment which checked out the consequences of change amongst ecosystems and watersheds upon human well-being. Working with experts, their findings proved scientifically we need to conserve our ecosystems, and its services they provide. Ecosystem services are benefits provide to us for free, mainly purification or water, air, soil, and helps to weed out dying species. Giving up something was the key because need to improve our ecosystems, restoring would be better actually. Enhancing our decisions planned will allow countries to obtain the pros and cons of a certain project, and whether its repercussions are worth the destruction.

There are four ways to evaluate our ecosystems and its good and services, ecologically, economically, socioculturally and intrinsically. All these values help us obtain information about our ecosystems and their goods and services. Ecological value is based on a system of natural sciences; ecosystems have value because they maintain diverse life here on earth. Providing material/immaterial important for sustaining life on our planet. Economical values quantify nature, because knowing how to treat nature will ease our pain when pricing it. We want to measure everything in monetary terms, therefore we measure all economic values of ecosystems monetarily. Thus, helping access the impact of each decision, economically. Then, socio-culture values combines the idea of anthropocentric values and non-anthropocentric values. We value ecosystems outside of the services they provide directly to us, they matter to our surroundings, religion, national and personal ethical values and spiritual values. Therefore, the decision of what to do with an ecosystem should be done in an open forum type deal. Finally, intrinsic value tries to show how we can place moral values upon non-humans, as well as non-living species. Everything deserves a chance especially species which cannot speak for themselves.

It is important to think this over, everyone has a different opinion on these types of situations and we are certainly not going to appeal to everyone’s ideal solution, but we can compromise. Different people view ecosystems differently, take the indians they worship animals, almost like deities. Differing cultures apply their beliefs to their ecosystems differently than others, so coming to a conclusion is cumbersome. Reevaluating our needs and wants will help us become more in sync of what too do, but before that our world will continue suffer.

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

Ethics of the Environment

Blog: 11 & 12

Like I said earlier, there is a lot about ethics which can be seen in the environment, namely the lack of proper diffusion of climate change and its effects amongst population of the globe. It seems to be that poorer people receive the butt-end of the effects of climate change, and no one really cares, unfortunately. Maybe we should dive deeper into environmental ethics, its method and the structure of ethical reasoning.  By applying traditional ethical theories to the environment, and its problems, its policy issues, maybe we will better understand them.

First Aristotle’s practical syllogism, which is based upon two different premises. The first premise is this idea of general normative or ethics. Which leads to this idea of particular factual premise which includes  this idea of the natural and social science. Then you have the conclusion of whatever has been specified in the premise two. There are all sorts of definitions of  ethics, like how it is the basic goods essential to the well-being and happiness of a person or the idea of its basic societal “values.” Maybe one could refer to it as our moral duties and obligation as human beings who are indeed alive.

Thus, people will do the right thing when give the chance, but when one person preaches at them, like many environmentalists do, the likelihood of them doing the right thing is much slimmer. Slimming down their chances because a person is less likely to understand the ethical issues at hand, I know I do not like to be preached what to believe. This idea of ethical egoism comes to mind, because people are selfish and do not care about the environment and its problems unless it affects themselves somehow. We could change this perception through economics and showing people that one opinion is not better than another’s opinion but who knows how well that will work.

There is the three step method for analyzing ethical reasoning: first, figure out what the author or theory is saying. Within this step there are two steps, diagram the author’s or theory’s ethical or values reason explaining the various levels of reasoning within (breaking something down into its parts like a car, down into its parts, and think of it backwards). Finally, there are characteristics or standards which the theory in question thinks beings have to meet if we are to acknowledge his or her “moral standing.” We all have duties owed to a member of the moral community with moral standing and we must fulfill them; but also, there are indirect duties.Indirect duties result from the duties we owe to moral agents which do not affect you unless it is within a moral community.

Thus, should animals have moral rights/duties? The question is hard because some would say yes, while others would obviously say no. The idea of speciesism was created by critics to extend moral rights to species/animals, but can they be expended to animals? Personally, as an animal lover, I believe animals have souls and are fully capable of maintaining their duties; thus we should extend duties to animals. Yes, humans are egoists. Fulfilling their own dreams is much more important than caring for the moral of other humans, let alone animals.

I believe that ethical reasoning can be attached to animals, just like with humans. There are plenty of examples of animals sticking it out for humans, their best friends. Considering a dog in Japan sat by an owner’s grave for weeks after the Tsunami must mean something, or when a dog from the Tsunami, a recent orphan, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder… I am not out of my mind, animals feel, and have moral and we should respect them.

Here are some bullet points to go along with this debate:

(I.E. the arguments made)

1) Egoism:

  • psychological egoism:
    • human acts are motivated by self-interest
    • obj: reject if altruistic acts occur

2) ethical egoism:

  • human acts ought to maximize self-interest
  • obj: no value can be placed on anyone’s else’s well-being unless it is for the benefit of the self.

3) Social Darwinism:

  • survival of the fittest
  • obj: fitness is context relative
  • obj: even if “fitness” determines survival, it does not follow that we ought to act in any particular way .
    • all free market competition and survival of the fittest
    • no sense that people have a right to food/health care.. like Romney with the 47%
    • we only look after ourselves: meaning they take this stance on other living things
    • we have a natural tendency to feel for one and another
    • the idea of biophilia = an attraction to other human beings

4) divine command:

  • god’s commands determine whether an act is good or not.
  • obj: can humans determine what god commands
  • obj: is an act good because god commands it or does god command it because it is good?
  • rights theory:
    • humans have moral and legal rights which can entail certain duties
    • hobbes and locke; humans have rights in “state of nature”
    • obj: rights of non-human
    • obj: giving exceptions to rights leads to utilitarianists

5) utilitarianism:

  • only state that is good for its own sake is that of happiness/pleasure
  • one ought to act in a way that maximizes total good
  • obj: summing harms can lead to harm of individuals for greater good
  • obj: motivation of acts have no bearing on moral goodness
    • ethical level: consider motivations when considering something is good or not
    • 19th century economists were utilitarianists

6) natural law:

  • what is good is a function of the way things are
  • good comes from realization of natural tendencies
  • obj: what are natural tendencies and how can they be distinguished from social constructs
  • obj: consequences are unrelated to what is right?
    • ex:) birth control

7) Kant:

  • things that are used as morals so be able to applied universally.
    • think what if everyone else did this?
Categories: climate change, Egoism, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, ethics, Life, Priorities | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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