Environmental Ethics & Sustainability


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Environmental Ethics & Sustainability

  1. 1. MGS 560 AA and BBBusiness SustainabilityEnvironmental Ethics Dr.Suneel Sethi suneel.sethi@senecac.on.ca
  3. 3. Early Environmentalism“There was once a town in the heart of Americawhere all life seemed to live in harmony with itssurroundings. The town lay in the midst of acheckerboard of prosperous farms, with fields ofgrain and hillsides of orchards where, in spring,white clouds of bloom drifted above the greenfields.“In autumn, oak and maple and birch set up ablaze of colour that flamed and flickered across abackdrop of pines. The foxes barked in the hillsand deer silently cross the fields, half hidden inthe mists of the autumn mornings ” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962
  4. 4. “Then a strange blight crept over the area andeverything began to change. Some evil spellhad settled on the community: mysteriousmaladies swept the flocks of chickens; thecattle and sheep sickened and died.Everywhere was a shadow of death.“The farmers spoke of much illness amongtheir families. There was a strange stillness.The birds, for example - where had they gone? The roadsides, once so attractive, were nowlined with browned and withered vegetation asthough swept by fire. These, too, were silent,deserted by all living things. Even the streamswere now lifeless ” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962
  5. 5. “For the first time in the history of the world,every human being is now subjected to contactwith dangerous chemicals, from the moment ofconception until death. Residues of thesechemicals linger in soil to which they may havebeen applied a dozen years before.“They have entered and lodged in the bodies offish, birds, reptiles, and domestic and wildanimals so universally that scientists carryingon animal experiments find it almost impossibleto locate subjects free from such contamination these chemicals are now stored in the bodiesof the vast majority of human beings,regardless of age. They occur in mothers milk,and probably in the tissues of the unborn child.All this has come about because of the suddenrise and prodigious growth of an industry for theproduction of man-made or synthetic chemicalswith insecticidal properties.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962
  6. 6. Environmental Issues NowSimilaritiesToxic Chemicals, Forests, Wildlife, OceansPollution - all Lower Down the AgendaDifferencesClimate Change and Global Warming,Waste and Recycling, Going Green atHome and Work, Anti-GM and Pro-OrganicFood, Energy Issues - especially Anti-Nuclear and Pro-Renewable Sources ofEnergy e.g., Wind Power, Fuel Poverty,Sustainable Consumption and Production -all Complex Issues ONE PLANET LIVING TO TACKLE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
  7. 7. EthicsRules of conduct or moral principles that guideindividual or group behaviour.Branch of philosophy which seeks to addressquestions about morality, concepts like goodand bad, right and wrong, justice, virtue, etc.(also known as moral philosophy).The study of principles relating to right andwrong conduct; morality; the standards thatgovern the conduct of a person, especially amember of a profession.
  8. 8. Business EthicsRules of conduct or moral principles thatguide individual or group behaviour. Thefocus in business ethics is on awarenessof organization values, guidelines andcodes, and behaving within thoseboundaries when faced with dilemmas inbusiness or professional work.
  9. 9. Sustainability Ethics A new discipline that analyzes the issuesregarding our moral obligations to futuregenerations with respect to theenvironment.
  10. 10. Environmental EthicsThe branch of ethics that examines thequestions of moral right and wrong relatingto the management, protection, orendangerment of the natural environment.A cluster of beliefs, values and normsregarding how humans should interactwith the environment.
  11. 11. Environmental Worldviews and Values Your environmental worldview encompasses: How you think the world works. What you believe your environmental role in the world should be. What you believe is right and wrong environmental behavior.
  12. 12. Some Questions In Environmental EthicsShould the present Are humans justified ingeneration conserve driving other species toresources for future extinction?generations? Is it OK for some communities to be exposed Is it OK to destroy a to more pollution than forest to create jobs for others? people?
  13. 13. Three Ethical Worldviews
  14. 14. Environmental Worldviews And ValuesEnvironmental worldviews lie on a continuum.
  15. 15. Human Centered and Life Centered Environmental WorldviewsThe major difference among environmentalworldviews is the emphasis they put on therole of humans dealing with environmentalproblems.Some view that humans are the planet’smost important species and should becomemanagers or stewards of the earth.
  16. 16. Environmental Worldviews StewardshipPlanetary Management Environmental Wisdom • We have an ethical• We are apart from the rest of • We are a part of and totally responsibility to be caringnature and can manage nature dependent on nature and nature managers, or stewards,to meet our increasing needs exists for all species. of the earth.And wants. • Resources are limited, should • We will probably not run out of• Because of our ingenuity and not be wasted, and are not all resources, but they should nottechnology we will not run out of for us. be wasted.resources. • We should encourage earth • We should encourage• The potential for economic sustaining forms of economic environmentally beneficialgrowth is essentially unlimited. growth & discourage earth forms of economic growth and degrading forms. discourage environmentally• Our success depends on how harmful forms.well we manage the earths life • Our success depends onsupport systems mostly for our learning how nature sustains • Our success depends on howbenefit. itself and integrating such well we manage the earths life Lessons from nature into support systems for our benefit the ways we think and act. and for the rest of nature.
  17. 17. Other More Recent Schools of ThoughtDeep Ecology = humans are inseparable fromnature; protect all living things as one would protectoneselfEco Feminism = male-dominated societies havedegraded women and the environment for similarreasons - believes that women should be given thesame rights that men have in our joint quest todevelop more environmentally sustainable andsocially just societies
  18. 18. Shifts in Environmental Values andWorldviews: Some Encouraging TrendsGlobal and national polls reveal a shifttowards the stewardship, environmentalwisdom, and deep ecology worldviews.
  19. 19. Environmental Justice (EJ) Poor people andminorities suffer more than their share of environmental problems, EJ advocates say The EJ movement began with a protest against a toxic waste dump in an African-American community in North Carolina
  20. 20. How Would You Vote?Which one of the following comes closest to yourenvironmental worldview : Planetary Management,Stewardship, Environmental Wisdom, DeepEcology, Eco Feminist ?a. Planetary Managementb. Stewardshipc. Environmental Wisdomd. Deep Ecologye. Eco Feminist
  21. 21. How Would You Vote?Do you believe there are physical andbiological limits to human economicgrowth?a. No. I have faith in human ingenuity and creativity.b. Depends. Some (but not all) aspects of economic growth are limited.c. Yes. Ecological economists are generally correct.
  22. 22. Living More SustainablyEnvironmental literate citizens and leadersare needed to build more environmentallysustainable and socially just societies. YOU !In addition to formal learning, we need tolearn by experiencing nature directly. GET OUTSIDE !
  23. 23. Living More Sustainably
  24. 24. Developing Environmentally Sustainable SocietiesGuidelines StrategiesLearn from and copy nature Sustain biodiversity Eliminate povertyDo not degrade or deplete the earthsnatural capital, and live off the natural Develop eco-economiesincome it provides Build sustainable communitiesTake no more than we need Do not use renewable resources faster than nature can replace themDo not reduce biodiversity Use sustainable agricultureTry not to harm life, air, water, soil Depend more on locally available renewable energy from the sun, wind, flowing water, andDo not change the worlds climate sustainable biomassDo not overshoot the earths Emphasize pollution prevention and wastecarrying capacity reduction Do not waste matter and energy resourcesHelp maintain the earths capacityfor self-repair Recycle, reuse, and compost 60–80% of matter resourcesRepair past ecological damage Maintain a human population size such that needs are met without threatening lifeLeave the world in as good a shape support systemsas—or better than—we found it Emphasize ecological restoration
  25. 25. Living More Lightly on the EarthAgriculture Reduce your meat consumption Buy locally grown and produced food Buy more organic food and grow your own Don’t use pesticidesTransportation Drive an energy-efficient vehicle Walk, bike, carpool, or take mass transit Work at home or live near work
  26. 26. Living More Lightly on the EarthHome Energy Use Caulk leaks, add insulation, use energy efficient appliances Try to use solar, wind, flowing water, biomass for home energyWater Use water-saving showers and toilets, use drip irrigation, landscape yard with natural plants that do not require excess water
  27. 27. Living More Lightly on the EarthResourceConsumptionReduce yourconsumption andwaste of stuff by atleast 10%RefuseReuse
  28. 28. Living More SustainablyThe Earth Charter calls for us to respectand care for life and biodiversity and tobuild more sustainable, just, democratic,and peaceful societies for present andfuture generations.We need hope, a positive vision of thefuture, and commitment to making theworld a better place to live.
  29. 29. Living More SustainablyWe can help make the world a better placeby not falling into mental traps that lead todenial and inaction and by keeping ourempowering feelings of hope ahead of anyimmobilizing feeling of despair.
  31. 31. AssignmentAnswer the following questions :1. What do you understand by Environmental Ethics ? What are the most pressing issues in environmental ethics ,today?2. Write short notes on Planetary Management, Stewardship and Environmental Wisdom. To which theory do you subscribe personally and why?3. How does one live more sustainably and ethically at the same time ?4. Enumerate and write short notes on the three ethical worldviews.5. ‘’We can help make the world a better place by not falling into mental traps that lead to denial and inaction and by keeping our empowering feelings of hope ahead of any immobilizing feeling of despair. ‘’ Comment.