Flashcards in environmental ethics Deck (24):
what is stewardship
a theological idea which holds god has given the earth to human beings and he expects us to look after it
what is conservation
more closely associated with century secular environmental ethics, concerned with how humans should interact with and understand the nature of the environment.
what is a sentient being
beings able to feel pleasure and pain
western philosophical tradition rooted in ancient greece and the christian church has given very little consideration to the welfare of animals, instead following on from aristotle animals have been considered as subordinates of the human race
in contrast religions originating in the indian subcontinent such as hinduism, jainism and buddhism have traditionally taught more consideration for animals - the common principle of ahimsa roughly means 'do not harm' which extends to all living beings - as a result vegan and vegetarian lifestyles have been adopted by practitioners
21st century animal welfare
animal welfare and protection is no longer considered a religious issue. secular organisations such as PETA actively campaign for animal welfare.
Atheist philosophers such as Peter singer have produced powerful arguments which set out that argue humans have obligations to other living beings
animal welfare dates
1822- u.k. became first country to establish legal protection for animals - act to prevent the cruel and improper treatment of cattle
1911- more wide ranging laws were instituted with the protection of animals act
1952- the cock fighting act outlawed cock fighting
1960- the abandonment of animals act imposed legal penalties on pet owners who neglect their animals
1981- the zoo licensing act established stricter regulations for zoos, requiring them to be engaged in conversation efforts and to provide accommodation suitable for captive species
2007- the animal welfare act built upon previous legislation and imposed severer penalties for the mistreatment of animals with negligent or cruel owners facing up to 51 weeks in prison
the environmental effects of dairy and meat
in 2010 the UN made an announcement a global move towards vegan lifestyle will be necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. as population continues to grow the amount of land and energy required to produce dairy and meat products will soon become unsustainable it is believed agriculture:
- uses 70% of the worlds fresh water supply
- takes to 38% of the worlds land
- is responsible for 19% if the worlds total greenhouse gas emissions
can be defined as the earths capability to continue supporting life
things such as fossil fuels for transportation, energy and mass manufacture of consumer goods along with the destruction of natural habitats take a heavy toll on the natural world.
in recent years various strategies have been developed to reduce the amount of harm human activity has on the environment. examples include the use of wind and solar power and the development of green spaces in urban environments these constitute together as sustainable development.
on average each household in the u.k. produces 592kg of waste over the course of a year. around 330 million tonnes of waste are produced by the country as a whole.
incineration which involved burning waste materials, produces a while host of harmful chemical by products which cause pollution and health issues for animal and human populations. they are also expensive, energy intensive operations.
the main issue with landfills to dispose of waste is the fact they're unsustainable they also have the potential to contaminate the soil and groundwater. while the methane produced by the decaying waste contributes to global warming since it's a greenhouse gas.
the only sustainable solution for many environmental activists is zero waste policy. disposal methods such as incineration and landfills should be used as little as possible or not at all. mean while waste prevention and recycling initiatives are to be of paramount importance
climate change will
defined as a large scale long term shift in the planets weather patterns or average temperature. in 2015 just under 200 countries signed the paris agreement at the united nations conference on climate change.
effects of climate change include shrinking ice caps, rising sea levels, increased in the amount of rainfall, increase in freak weather such as floods and tornadoes
the christian concept of stewardship
the traditional approach to environmental ethics is primarily drawn from genesis and the idea of dominion which states that humans were instated by god to rule over the earth and she its resources for their own purpose.
many christians may be more inclined to emphasise the biblical concept of stewardship that humans have a duty from god to protect and preserve the earth. this is sometimes seen as compatible or somewhat contrary to the idea of dominion.
there are many passages in the bible which outline the value and beauty of creation that the world is a gift from god and a symbol of his divine love so therefore should be respected.
the fall recorded in genesis corrupted humankind through the creation of original sin it also corrupted the beauty and harmony found in nature.
some christians interpret passages in the bible showing that environmental damage is part of human sin. restoring the world can help restore humankinds relationship with god that was damaged through the fall.
many christians consider climate change and environmental damage to be significant beaus if the impact it has on people's lives, christians consider jesus' teaching on loving ones neighbor as providing a clear reason to act on environmental concerns.
pope francis has also spoken out about environmental damage and exploitation.
core programmes within christian organisations such as christian aid and CAFOD also focus on environmental issues and how they impact the lives of the poor.
a minority of radical christians do however take an opposing view and see care of the earth as irrelevant as the end of time will arise before any greater consequence of environmental change will occur.
overall the christian approach to environmental issues is often characterised as giving instrumental value. the wiled is only important because of the impact it has on humans and human relationships with god.
analysis of christian stewardship
christian environmental organisations are able to mobilise large numbers of people are amass significant funds for their conservation efforts
the christian concern for the poor and underprivileged means there is a significant focus on the developing world where the effects of climate change are often felt most severely
analysis of christian stewardship
by viewing conservation of the environment as instrumental rather than intrinsic good christians are unable to appreciate the true worth of nature. the christian view is also focused largely on the consequences for humanity rather than in other living species or the natural world itself.
solutions to the various environmental issues which face the planet are to arise from of a combination of political willpower and scientific expertise. religious leaders and organisations can only hope to play a small but nonetheless valuable role in the global effort required to tackle problems such as climate change
the secular concept of conservation
a similarly instrumental and anthropometric view of the environment is taken by conservation ethics also known as shallow ecology.
this view is probably the most common in contemporary discourse about climate change. it claims that conservation and protection of the environmental protection should take place because it is in out interest to do so. environmental issues stand to cost us money our health safety well being and aesthetic enjoyment of the environment. it employs a utilitarian approach that more people will be happy and certainly for future generations if we protect the environment
analysis of the secular concept of conservation
shallow ecology is highly pragmatic and popular as a result. it's secular basis means that it does not reply on any contentious claim about the s existence of god or the divine origin of scripture. a cost benefit analysis shows how action now will recap financial rewards in the future. the thames barrier for expats was very expensive but has saves millions in protection london from flooring. this approach is also used at international climate change negotiations aiming to appeal to counties self interest in order to achiever agreements and action
analysis of the secular concept of conservation
although this approach could achieve results in encouraging action on environmental issues it does not accord any intrinsic cause to the earth. if environmental damage were to occur that did not impact on humans such as the impending extinction of an animal by human activity which will have no impact on its surrounding ecosystem it would not need to be acted upon because the animal in itself does not have moral value. the only aspect of this world that truly matters is human mind and the environment matters only from the point of view that it impacts upon us.
the deep ecology of arne naess
deep ecology is an ecological movement against the anthropocentrism they interpret in traditional religious attitudes to the environment. deep ecology views the natural world as having intrinsic rather than instrumental value. what exactly within the natural world has intrinsic value varies, some scholars considered it to only include only humans, others include all sentient beings, and a minority include natural beings including rocks and rivers. there is therefore a meta ethical consideration about making something have intrinsic value and why some beings or objects are included or excluded cd-rom a definition of value.
and important figure in the start of environmentalism. he argues for a land ethic, meaning soils water plans and animals which he considered to have moral value. he argues that this biotic community needs to be maintained in its natural state.
developed the term deep ecology which he contrasted with shallow ecology. he argued in favour of deep ecology and that the environment has intrinsic value.
he set out 8 principles for environmental ethics and policy. he argues for the intrinsic value of the earth and that humans in no way should damage the environment even if it to meet their vital needs. humans should therefore make sacrifices such as living a simpler life and changing economic and technological factors affecting the environment he also said the population of the world would have to decrease.
drew on the ideas of leopolds land ethic and argues that prejudicial favouring of humans over animals is human chauvinism. he rejected the claim that value and morality. an ultimately be reduced to matters of interest or concern to the class of humans. he even felt that harm to any natural object should be limited individuals should not jeopardise the well being of natural objects or systems without good reason
likewise argued for the moral significance of non sentient beings since every living thing is pursuing its own good in its own unique way. he said this is the same as how we see ourselves and therefore we should place the same value on their existence as we do on our own.
james lovelocks gaia hypothesis
argues that the earth is a self regulating system and by itself regulated the environment so that it is perfectly suited to life on earth. ecosystems water soil and the atmosphere are therefore all closely related and evolve together. all organisations unconsciously help to regulate conditions on earth so they remain constant and stable. this includes interactions between microorganism and inanimate elements. as a whole lovelock calls the earth gaia which is a greek deity rich personified the earth itself. this all helps to ensure the regulation of the temperature of earth the chemicals in the atmosphere and the composition of the oceans
the idea of a self regulating earth influenced by living organisations had previously been considered in the certain fields of science. the important contribution of the gaia hypothesis is the idea that a self regulating balance is actively pursued with the aim of ensuring life is maintained in earth
gaia hypothesis strengths
challenged anthropocentric understandings of the earth because it suggests humans are not the most important species but just one part of a living whole.
it's a secular theory although the idea that the world is a living entity has attracted a minority of religious like followers. it is also opposed to darwinism and evolution because it created s role for gaia in the development of organisms.
it emphasises not the rights of humans but the independence of all ecosystems and sees the environment as a whole entity valuable in itself. it also shows how the would could survive without humans and that we are dependent on it rather than it on us.