Environmental ethics is a branch of applied philosophy that studies the conceptual foundations of environmental values as well as more concrete issues surrounding societal attitudes, actions, and policies to protect and sustain biodiversity and ecological systems. It studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its non-human contents.
Environments on Earth are always changing, and living systems evolve within them. For most of their history, human beings did the same. But in the last two centuries, humans have become the planet’s dominant species, changing and often degrading Earth’s environments and living systems, including human cultures, in unprecedented ways. Contemporary worldviews that have severed ancient connections between people and the environments that shaped us – plus our consumption and population growth – deepened this degradation. Understanding, measuring, and managing today’s human environmental impacts – the most important consequence of which is the impoverishment of living systems – is humanity’s greatest challenge for the 21st century.
- Cyclones Tauktae and Yaas that hit India’s west and east coasts respectively.
- Floods have also been reported across several Asian countries, in China, India and Indonesia.
- The unprecedented heat wave that drove temperatures across Canada and parts of the United States to a record high, causing hundreds of deaths
- The recent floods in Germany that killed over 180 people in the country.
Need for environmental ethics
- Equity: People in economically advanced sections/parts consume more resources and energy per person, as well as wasting more resources. This is done at the expense of resource-poor people.
- Environmental pollution: The effects of environmental contamination are not restricted by national borders. Furthermore, the impoverished and weaker elements of society are disproportionately impacted by climate change’s negative effects.
- Animal rights: Plants and animals that exist alongside us on the planet have the right to live and share the planet’s resources and living space. Animal welfare is important to environmental ethics since animals are part of the natural environment and thus are a concern for environmentalists.
- Natural resource consumption: Because humans are a part of nature, sustainable resource usage can be achieved by working together with nature.
- Forest destruction: Big industries and international corporations make up the majority of those who use forests in an unsustainable manner. The impoverished and tribals who live in the forests, on the other hand, bear the brunt of the destruction. It results in the extinction of plants and animals, as well as the loss of biodiversity and habitats.
- Anthropocentrism is an ethical system that recognises only human beings as having “moral standing.” As a result, an anthropocentric ethic asserts that only human beings are ethically significant in and of themselves, implying that all of our direct moral obligations, including those relating to the environment, are owed to our fellow humans.
- Anthropocentric Approach: Humans are thought to be the dominant species on the planet Earth. Humans have exploited nature for their own gain. It is called anthropocentric because it is a human-centered concept.
- Traditional value systems and conservation ethics: Mountains, rivers, woods, trees, and a variety of animals have long been prized by humans. As a result, much of the natural world was revered and conserved. Plants and animals were regarded as important aspects of nature by ancient cultures, and they were thought to be the foundation of life-support systems and essential to achieving a harmonious life.
- Taking a bio-centered approach entails: – According to this viewpoint, humans have a moral obligation to be accountable for future generations of humanity. This is the foundation of long-term development.
- Eco Centric approach:- People who demand regard and respect for all living things, as well as for the ecosystem as a whole. This form of job is concerned with moral responsibility to other people. Is indicative of an environmentally conscious approach
- Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) were given to polluting businesses. Then, in Delhi and the NCR, automobiles must utilise CNG. In Delhi, the “Green Fuel Clean Fuel” campaign resulted in the use of unleaded gasoline in automobiles. This was the first time it happened in India.
- Due to protests and public representation by environmental activists, the Valley Project in the Western Ghats was cancelled. This aided in the preservation of the region’s rain forests, which are one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.
- Virtue ethics is a way of thinking about how to conduct properly that emphasises moral agents’ character and the nature of the good life. Virtue ethics is founded on a positive view of human nature, one that recognises that humans are predisposed to identify greatness in others (including non-humans) whom they can emulate and find joy in living a virtuous life.
Human beings must develop a value consensus and work with one another on a personal, national, regional, multinational, and global level to deal with environmental ethics challenges. As a result, an environmental ethic is often a global ethic with a global perspective.
How to structure:
- Explain what environmental ethics is
- Explain how damage to nature can bring catastrophe to humans- use different scenarios and support with recent examples
- Discuss how environment ethics plays a role in this and mention the role of bureaucracy and conclude.
Diwali is the “festival of lights” and not the festival of firecrackers. Kindly be a responsible citizen and care for the environment, especially if you are an aspirant.