Toxic Display of Environmental Ethics

blog 21.4

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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.

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

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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.

 

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Who is Made Worse off?

blog 18:

The past few blogs explored economic and ethical problems with the libertarian free market environmental ethics idea, Baxter’s. There are different kinds of  problems arising from this situation, mainly market failures, ethical challenges, who is made worse off, and is the free market sufficient by itself.

Market failures stem from this idea of pareto inefficiences (moral extensionism). Failing to extend, as well as include, negative blog 18.2external costs, tragedy of the commons, overpopulation, into the market. Marketing our world, and its resources as infinite cause the multitude of resources being degraded, and lost.

Ethical challenges have grown from our markets failure of moral extensionism, the most obvious being who should be made better off, and who should be made worse off. Endangering the health of many species, our ethical questioning has divided us a population. Should animals receive full treatment, even without rational thought; or should humans control the welfare of all species? However, it is our duty to future generations to “distribute justice” fairly. Harming generations of non-human species created a lopsided, decapitated world lacking niche, and big time species to continue on the ecosystems vitality.

Making the question, “Who should be made worse off,” even more difficult then prior thought. Amongst the world’s citizens, most believe humans shall be held the highest amongst God’s creatures, yet that is not how our world was created. No one, not one specie, is held more prominently than another. While we live in a upside-down, backwards world, one thing still remains true: we are all God’s creatures — God had created this Earth and all within it in seven days, we cannot command creatures to move off and die.

Deciding whether or not the free market is qualified to run itself remains indecipherable. While our nations maintain proper control of their sovereign area, does not mean they contain all that goes on within their borders. Thus, redesigning higher political powers with reestablished ethical values is a priority. Too much of our markets, as well as political heads, measure species in terms of economic value, possibly social value too. Breaking this perception could help species’ cause, but how?

First off, we must include the extension of protection towards various species besides humans, and the price of any object extracted from the environment should have price where externalities are reflected. Establishing markets to create legally transferable property rights for environmental goods and services and including external pricing will give more rights to animals. Servicing mankind for years, ecosystems shall become protected and any source removed from its land shall be included in the final price of that material or animal, species. Focusing more on the benefits a variety of species provide allows us humans to understand our interdependence on a plethora of species; we need them to thrive, survive.

Categories: Egoism, Environmental Ethics, human beings and the environment, Poorer nations, Priorities, Retail, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

How many Humans Does it Take to Exploit the Earth?

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blog 17.1

The Earth is filling up with people, their things, and their consumption related byproducts. Around 10,000 years the human population was made up of about five million individuals. It would not be until 1850 for the world’s population to reach over one billion individuals. Adjusting to this population explosion, mother Earth’s resources have been utilized to the extreme, taking a hit in its overall reserves. This begs the question: how much resources does the Earth have in store for us? Will its reserves be able to sustain an overall population north of seven billion individuals?

In 1798, Thomas Malthus published an essay on the Principles of Population. Malthus predicted that human population would start to grow exponentially and the production of food would not be able to keep up with demand. His prediction came true. Natural resources, such as: oil, timber, metals, minerals, and water, have been depleted. Worse, they are continuing to disappear, a time blog 17.3when our population really needs it — I mean it does not help that our population keeps growing, especially in developing nations. Perhaps the worst part was the number of people in poverty has reached over a billion individuals. These individuals are starving, or becoming extremely malnourished, just because not enough food is being produced where it is needed most. What can we do?

Differing philosophers have suggested alternative theories to combat this situation, one being Garrett Hardin. He suggests this concept of the “lifeboat.” It is a theory that states each nation has a carrying capacity based on its endowed resource and ingenuity. When a nation uses up all its resources it is not up to the other nations to help them out. Whereas utilitarian theorists often are criticized because they would help only those in need, but not necessarily closest to them first. Instead, they would help the people who are the most beneficial to the population as a whole. Our world has a carrying capacity, our resources are running out… maybe it is time we limit resource use and limit our population.

Population is an uncontrollable force, ever since technology has advanced population have been growing at an unfathomable rate. Humans need food, that is a thing, but the amount of food necessary to feed the entire planet is incredible. Just thinking about how much chemicals are needed or how much carbon dioxide is produced just sustain this world population, it is crazy. However, is it fair for us to misuse this planet, to over populate it while other species continue to dwindle in numbers?

Our world was designed from the beginning to withstand a certain number of each creature, but when that number exceeds its limit things will go haywire. Resources will disappear, and land will disappear for all, including species which have maintained their populations and their use of resources. Then, if I am to be bold, humans do not deserve ownership of the Earth and her resources. Maybe, just maybe, animals deserve a larger chunk of the world’s global resource change.

We need population control, take, for instance a law put into place similar to China’s one child policy, or simple family planning. I do not know if most will take this sitting down, but they will have to… I mean who is gonna sit there and let the government tell him or her how many children they can have. It will not be easy, at all. However, if we do not do anything about this exponential growth we will meet our demise. Yes, we do not know the official carrying capacity of the planet, let alone the United States, but what I do know is the amount of people living on this planet is not natural.

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Categories: climate change, Corporate, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, human beings and the environment, New York City, policy issues, Poorer nations | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baxter the Destroyer

Blog 16:

William Baxter was an Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust division of the United States Department of Justice, getting recognition after settling a seven year old AT&T case. He was a trust breaker. Baxter was also a lawyer, writer and environmentalist. The latter gave Baxter background to write a “widely read and influential book on the law of economics of pollution control entitle People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution.” Intending this book for a law audience, Baxter’s book also contained a philosophically intricate stance on the topic of animal rights, and conservation

Baxter is what you call a speciesist, a person who believes in “the assignment of different values, rights, or special consideration to individuals solely on the basis of their species membership.” Using this term like all other environmentalists, Baxter believes we should re-prioritize and save our resources for future generations. However, during Baxter’s time there was a lot of backlash towards environmentalism, especially from President Ronald Reagan.

Reagan believed we needed to deregulate. Deregulating offices like the EPA and other policies that prevented companies from expanding and new citizens from being hired, similar today. By getting rid of said programs the country would cut its deficit while also killing the environment and its people, go good ol’ U.S. However, all of this will come back and bit everyone and their big white bottom because the world will turn to crude thanks to deregulation.

Yet, Baxter believes we should let the market decide in terms of what we should do with fixing the environment, and its problems. Letting the market tell us what to do and when to do it is perfect, because it allows us to put the pressure on when the time calls for it. This is a free market, capitalistic approach to environmental degradation. Bluntly, Baxter states that since nature cannot state its wants and needs to us, since it is amoral, we can use this to our advantage. We are all selfish and if animals cannot say anything then to hell with them. Baxter wants to create an efficient economic market as possible. That means his environmental policy is based solely on economics. Yes, our economical system can slightly support the environment mainly the ideas of externalities and ecosystem services; but the idea of creating environmental protect based solely on economics is crazy, I do not see it working/happening.

Us humans understand the world, and how it works, and economic long term effects. Thus, any non-humans will not be able to have any rights unless only to be protected if it serves the best interests of human beings. Usually, the best interests for humans are the best interests for nature, as well. For example Baxter mentions the penguins, DDT is harmful to penguins but humans rarely interact with penguins, thus penguins do not harm humans. However, it would be a greater economic social benefit for banning DDT to give us penguins, the money received is astronomical. We should never banish DDT just for the penguins on their own sake, however.

I guess focusing on the economic side of things would interesting but I feel there should be more to the equation than just economics. I mean I think people would like to save penguins because they could not stand to kill innocent creatures. However, we are selfish so keeping them around as they are affected by DDT means we put our own needs above the penguins, which is not that good. Another thing that bothers mean about Baxter is how he puts other non-important needs before important needs, like that seems logical, ok.

Then you have Hardin, ooh Hardin. Well, Hardin talk about overpopulation. His concept is called tragedy at the commons, that we use property as a right to use it as we want with certain guidelines. This is where the idea of private property versus public property comes about, thanks old chap. Hence, the commons were not privately owned but rather public forums. These public places are greatly affected by human activity and soon our world and its public places will not be able to withstand our population growth. So how do we lessen population growth? Well, simple, we limit reproduction rates or face the consequences.

This is nonsense to me because I do not see anyway anybody will let the government regulate the amount of children he or she can have. It is his/her body not the governments so he or she can do whatever he or she please, in this case most likely a she. But whatever the case, people are not owned, they are free and I do not see them willing to give up that freedom to help save the Earth. Maybe if we spruced up or education system they will understand more.

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Leopold the Helper

Blog: 15

Aldo Leopold  “was an American author, scientists, ecologist, forester and environmentalist. A professor at the University of Wisconsin, Leopold was best known
for his book A Sand County Almanac (1949). Leopold was the leader in the creation of the modern environmental ethics, as well as the movement for wilderness conservation. Speaking of conservation, Leopold critiques the economic approach of the conservationist traditions, he was a radical. Radically altering the way we perceived land was Leopold’s belief.

We are all a part of society, we are interdependent of each other; therefore, we need to stop and smell the roses, or the dying ones that is. Us Americans have a misconception of how our land works because we think if we earn it we keep it. We have destroyed our lands. Our world must follow in the balance of its natural system/cycle.

We must treat land correctly and ethically, but the question remains what are we in community with? Maybe we are all one, people, all orientations of people, plants and animals. We all must work together, ethically, to keep the land strong and chugging along. However, Leopold believes we should think Earth first and people second. Who knows I am in different on the subject. I personally believe that humans do not deserve the Earth. The Earth just gives and gives but we destroy in return, not something I would want.

Look at us humans, we are destroying the natural cycles, and the land pyramid. We make fish and other animals for our food. What happened to animals growing by themselves, naturally? Our world has gone down in the tubes Leopold would say because we no longer rely on natural systems of the land but on our own inclinations and wants.

This way of thought, destroying the land for its resources has been done for centuries but it could change if we incorporate conservation into our economic system. How, well that beats me but if it becomes instilled into our system the likelihood of people following will increase tenfold.

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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.

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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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