Posts Tagged With: Environmental Policy

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?
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Categories: climate change, Egoism, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, Environmentalism, ethics, Life, Priorities | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New York, New York City & Fordham

Blog: 8

New York city is an important city for the United States. It houses millions of people and generates billions in profit/tax revenue each and every year. Walking through New York city is a unique prospect, but its degrading to the environment. Looking back on Manhattan’s history and ecology is the Manhatta Project.

Projecting New York City’s early look shows a long wooded island, with wetlands and streams coming down from the shower. Beavers, river otters and other animals existed amongst these rivers and streams, and Manhattan then would be considered what Yellowstone is today. Speaking ecologically, Manhattan’s diversity was broad, befitting of most national parks. All of this started by looking back at past maps of the island, and the area; showing all the original landscape of Manhattan. Helping scientists learn about the geo-features of the island, what the Native Americans were doing, what species existed and what the soil was like. The landscape was recreated.

All of this fits in with New York’s Planyc. This project will lead the way forward to creating the first sustainable city in America. Planning to change its transportation systems, help maximize clean air and minimize carbon, and air pollution. Developing air initiatives, looking at alternative fuel vehicles and clean burning materials for energy and how to reduce the waste produced within the city.

This can stem back into the 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.

Fordham is all about 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.

It is for all our futures, so lets move forward, help living sustainable gain traction amongst students, professors and parents. Lets beat other schools and become a green triumphant example of sustainability amongst top-tier schools

Categories: Environmental Policy, Fordham, New York City, Priorities, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Environmental Policy? Biophilia? No Child Left Inside?

 

Blog: 1

What is Environmental Policy? Well, according to Fordham University’s Environmental policy department the phrase/term is

“an academic discipline, is the interdisciplinary study of the creation, evolution, implementation and effectiveness of environmental policies and is often called Environmental Studies as opposed to Environmental Science”.

In general, Environmental Policy is the study of effective policies created by groups, organizations, and governments to help protect the environment, its evolutionary processes, and natural systems; but also, to help address environmental problems associated with big-business, consumption, and human-kind.

Thus, the major follows true to this definition. Therefore, there are many key environmental policy dimensions, world-views, values, policies, stakeholder groups, technology and design, and environmental problems. These dimensions in turn are affected by different disciplines practiced by students who major in Environmental Policy, due to its curriculum.

As a student who is minoring in the environmental policy I can attest to the use of the core curriculum. It is appropriately used. Starting freshman/sophomore year off with the basics has worked and I feel like I have grown in my love for the environment. Each class brings a new concept of the environment, and it helps the student grow/become ready for his/her future.

In fact, varying concepts of the environment can help anyone grow and by experiencing the nature for at least 20 minutes a day can be beneficial. Being a part of/within nature is encoded in our own DNA, this idea is called Biophilia. Biophilia is our innate love for the environment because it is built into our own DNA, or “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. Human interaction with the environment for a small amount of time has been found to lower cholesterol, increase cognitive though, and decrease chances of cancer, tumors, or heart disease. In fact, George Wright states that this hypothesis is unquestionable because the world of nature and the world of humans are deeply intertwined. Really, it is unfathomable how reliant we have become as a species on mother nature.

Wright goes on discussing this idea and mentions this idea of parks and our health, and this brings me back to the idea of the no child left inside act. The no child left inside act seeks to “provide funding for environmental education (wikipedia). This act moved me, and the line that really gets to me is the last,

“Developers and environmentalists, corporate CEOs and college professors, rock stars and ranchers, may agree on little else, but they agree on this: no one among us wants to be a member of the last generation to pass on to our children the joy of playing outside in nature.”

Our culture needs to educate our youth, younger generations, about nature. Increasingly, the idea of nature is dissipating. Parks are becoming weed-ridden deserted landscapes, and nobody cares too much about nature and the experiences it can bring… it is sad really. But, this article seeks to correct this problem. Because, the changes our world needs is a broader incorporation of the outside world, which involves today’s youth.

Categories: Environmental Policy, Fordham, Priorities | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Introductions are in Order…

Hi, let me introduce myself: my name is Connor Farrell and I am a Junior at Fordham College, at Rose Hill. I am a visual arts major, with a concentration in architecture with a minor in environmental policy. I grew up on Long Island, New York, in Sayville which is a town located in Suffolk county filled with tons of state parks, gardens, and wetlands; and growing up on Long Island was a great experience, and still is. I can remember spending hours in parks walking my dogs, laying out on the National Seashore, and exploring the wetlands of Nicoll Bay/Great River.

These explorations played a big role in creating the man I am today, because ever since I was young I have been surrounded by nature, and I cannot seem to escape. Escaping from nature is not an easy feat in the household I grew up in –mostly because my mother is professional landscaper and an avid gardener– thus, my life has been filled with greenery, plant talk, anti-pesticide talk, and a general-green-thumb-attitude. Proving to be enough persuasion for me, I started taking up an interest in protecting the environment globally and in my own backyard.

This interest, combined with my love for architecture, started to define me. Everywhere I went I would stare at building envisioning how I can improve it aesthetically and environmentally. I became obsessive.

In 2010, as I was awaiting to receive my high school diploma at graduation, I officially decided to major in visual arts, concentrating in architecture. However, I did not just want to become an architect, but a green architect. I love the environment and architecture, and both of which are parts of who I am today. I want to protect/change the Earth, one house or building at a time.

Categories: Environmental Policy, Fordham, Priorities | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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