Environmental ethics


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Environmental ethics

  1. 1. Professor Jayashree SadriAndDr Sorab SadriENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
  2. 2. Environmental ethics is the part ofenvironmental philosophy whichconsiders extending the traditionalboundaries of ethics from solelyincluding humans to including the non-human world.What is EnvironmentalEthics?
  3. 3. For example:It exerts influence on a large range ofdisciplines including law, sociology,theology, economics, ecology andgeography.There are many ethical decisions thathuman beings make with respect to theenvironment.
  4. 4. For example:Should we continue to clear cut forestsfor the sake of human consumption?Should we continue to propagate?Should we continue to make gasolinepowered vehicles?When will this thirst for exploitation andprofit end?Why this “conspicuous consumption?”
  5. 5. For example:What environmental obligations do we need tokeep for future generations?[Is it right for humansto knowingly cause the extinction of a species forthe convenience of humanity?Is “false consciousness” combining with“conspicuous consumption”?Why do governments across the world fail to “walktheir talk”?
  6. 6. HUNTING INDISCRIMINATELYExtinction of the White Rhino (Assam) for aphrodisiacSlaughter of the Black Rhino (Central Africa) foraphrodisiacDisappearance of the White Tigers (Reva) for stupidityThe Indian Lion (Gir) and the Royal Bengal Tiger beingkilled because the Government has no will to act.Slaughter of the Seals (Antarctica) for food and oilWhale hunting (Japanese waters and China Sea) for foodFox hunting (Mark Twain’s quip on British sport)Himalayan Deer (for Kasturi)Grizzly Bear hunting (Canada – human-animal turf war)
  7. 7. Can Humans Live In Harmony With Nature?
  8. 8. Some DefinitionsMoral AgentsThose who have the freedomand rational capacity to beresponsible for choicesThose capable of moralreflection and decision.Example: adult humans ofsound mindInfants and mentally infirm adultsare NOT moral agents
  9. 9. DefinitionsMoral Standing:If you have moral standing:Your continued existence orwelfare is valuable in itself(intrinsic value)Your interests and well-being mustbe weighed when deciding what ispermissible to do.Example: humans of all kinds Babies, children, adults, oldpeople, etc. Women, different races, differentcultures
  10. 10. DefinitionsMoral Duties That which is owed by moralagents to those with moralstanding.Example: It is wrong to killour children because we have amoral duty toward them
  11. 11. Philosophical IssueWho or what has moralstanding, and why?Does the environment havemoral standing?Must look at criteria formoral standingWhat moral duty do we(moral agents) havetoward those with moralstanding?Different ethical positionssuggest different moralduties.Yosemite National Park
  12. 12. Ideas on Criteria for MoralStandingMembership in the speciesHomo sapiens Humans have a soul Humans are moral agentsand are responsible for knowingright from wrong Humans are intelligent Humans have personhoodand self-consciousness Humans have language
  13. 13. Ideas on Criteria for MoralStandingSentience, the abilityto feel painTherefore extendmoral standing toanimals.On the evolutionarychain as well as in thefood chain we are alllinked anyway.
  14. 14. Ideas on Criteria for MoralStandingBeing aliveTherefore extendmoral standing toanimals and plants:All living things.Take this understanding asyour contribution toPlant Earth for all thethings you have got fromit.
  15. 15. Ideas on Criteria for MoralStandingBeing part of natureTherefore extend moralstanding to theearthecosystems rocks rivers plants animalsthe entire natural world
  16. 16. Ethical PositionsAnthropocentrism:Human centeredmoralityOnly humans haveintrinsic value andmoral standing.The rest of the naturalworld has instrumentalvalue (use to humans).
  17. 17. AnthropocentrismWe can best protect natureby looking out for humanneeds.Ex: Ducks Unlimitedpreserves wetlandsEx: Saving therainforests will provideO2 and medicines forhumans.Problem: Would you blow upthe world if you were the lasthuman alive?
  18. 18. Ethical PositionsSentio-centrism: Sentient-beingcentered moralityAll and only sentient beings(animals that feel pain) haveintrinsic value and moralstanding.The rest of the natural world hasinstrumental value.Both humans and sentientanimals have rights and/orinterests that must beconsidered
  19. 19. Ethical PositionsBiocentric Individualism:Life-centered moralityAll and only living beings,specifically individual organisms(not species or ecosystems) haveintrinsic value and moralstanding.Humans are not superior to otherlife forms nor privileged, andmust respect the inherent worthof every organismHumans should minimize harmand interference with nature: eatvegetarian since less land needs tobe cultivated.
  20. 20. Ethical PositionsEco-centric Holism: ecosystemcentered moralityNon-individuals (the earth as aninterconnected ecosystem, species,natural processes) have moralstanding or intrinsic value and aredeserving of respect.Individuals must be concerned aboutthe whole community of life/nature,Humans should strive to preserveecological balance and stability.
  21. 21. Patriarchal DualismsGreek, Roman, Hebrew:Humans are separate from and superior to natureHuman, mind, rationality, and man are linked and superiorNature, body, feelings, and woman are linked, and inferiorJustifies domination by men over Nature WomenAristotle
  22. 22. EcofeminismRejects Patriarchal DualismsThe domination of nature by men is wrong is similar to and related to the domination ofwomen by men.Must break the pattern of "power over"relationships will benefit both women and the naturalworld.Acid attack victims
  23. 23. Feminism
  24. 24. What Price Male Chauvinism?What or who gave males the moral authority toworship a woman in a temple or a church only todefile and denigrate her at home?Do you realize that the dowry system puts up a manas a mere commodity for sale to the highest womanbidder?Honour killings are nothing but an outburst of malemental impotency and false social sanction.
  25. 25. Deep EcologyHumans are deeplyconnected with nature.If humans identify withnature, then taking care ofthe natural world willbecome part of taking careof ones self.Yet human beings destroynature and its bountifulgifts for short term andpecuniary gain.
  26. 26. Chief Sitting Bull, 1877“Behold, my brothers, the springhas come; the earth has receivedthe embraces of the sun and weshall soon see the results of thatlove!Every seed has awakened and sohas all animal life.It is through this mysteriouspower that we too have ourbeing and we therefore yield toour neighbors, even our animalneighbors, the same right asourselves, to inhabit this land…
  27. 27. Chief Sitting Bull, 1877“Yet hear me, my people, wehave now to deal with anotherrace - small and feeble whenour fathers first met them, butnow great and overbearing.Strangely enough they have amind to till the soil and the loveof possessions is a disease withthem . . ..
  28. 28. Sitting Bull, 1877“They claim this mother of ours,the earth, for their own, andfence their neighbors away;they deface her with theirbuildings and their refuse.They threaten to take [the land]away from us.My brothers, shall we submit, orshall we say to them:"First kill me before you takepossession of my Fatherland."
  29. 29. BioregionalismLead a simple life withlocal production of foodand other products bypeople that you knowIncreases environmentalawareness and caringdecreases exploitation ofthe environment andpeople.
  30. 30. RealitiesWe owe it to future generations to preserve MotherEarth since we hold it in trust for our children.The rate at which flora and fauna are disappearing isscandalous.Global warming is a great fear that we cannotoverlook
  31. 31. TRY TO SEE WHAT LIES BEHINDSunderlal Bahaguna and the ChipkoMovementThe Chilka Lake controversyThe Netarhat Firing Range scandalThe Narbada Bachao AndolanThe Clean Ganga MovementKoel Karo Project