East St. Louis

                 Savage Inequalities
                   Jonathan Kozol
             Environmental Ethics

The Earth as seen from space.
 Defining Environmental Ethics and Ethical
 Extended Ethical Considerations
 Environmental Philosophers from the
  Industrial Revolution
 Conservation and Preservation
 Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic”
 Deep Ecology and Ecofeminism
 Environmental Justice
Defining Environmental Ethics and
Ethical Standards
Environmental Ethics
 Ethics is one branch of philosophy; it seeks to
  define what is right and what is wrong.
 Ethics can help us understand what actions
  are wrong and why they are wrong.
    ◦ Relativists
    ◦ Universalists

                                  Immanuel Kant, “the golden rule”
Aristotle, “virtue”

                                     John Stuart Mill, “utility”
Conflicting Ethical Positions
   Sometimes an individual’s ethical
    commitments can conflict with each other.
    ◦ A mayor might have an ethical commitment to
      preserving land in a city but also have an ethical
      commitment to bringing in jobs associated with
      construction of a new factory.
   In many cases, what is good for the
    environment is also good for people.
    ◦ While forest protection may reduce logging jobs,
      a healthier forest might lead to new jobs in
      recreation, fisheries, and tourism.
Ethical Questions to Consider
(Extended Ethical Consideration)
Does the present generation have an obligation to
conserve resources for future generations? If so,
    how much are we obligated to sacrifice?
  Are there situations that justify exposing
some communities to disproportionate share
   of pollution? If not, what actions are
   warranted in preventing this problem?
   Are humans justified in driving species to
 extinction? If destroying a forest would drive
extinct an insect species few people have heard
  of but would create jobs for 10,000 people,
   would that action be ethically admissible?
 What if it were an owl species? What if only
          100 jobs would be created?
The Expanding Concept of Rights,


                   Ethical past

                      Pre-ethical past
         Three Philosophical Approaches to
         Environmental Ethics

Philosophical approaches
“ The land is our ancestral home and we must
  cherish it even more than children cherish their
  mother.” ---Plato

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and
  subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the
  sea and over the birds of the air and over every
  living think that moves upon the earth.”---The

“You shall not defile the land in which you live.”—
  The Bible
Industrial Revolution Kicks-Off
John Ruskin, 1819-1900
Every creature is better alive than dead, men
   and moose and pine trees, and he who
understands it aright will rather preserve its
             life than destroy it.
           Henry David Thoreau

                      Everything in Nature contains all the powers of
                      Nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff.
                                   Ralph Waldo Emerson

                                    Now I see the secret of making the best
                                 person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat
                                             and sleep with the earth.
                                                   Walt Whitman
Conservation and Preservation
Environmental Attitudes
 Because ethical commitments pull in
  different directions at different times, it is
  often easier to talk in terms of
  environmental attitudes or
 The three most common
  attitudes/approaches are:
    ◦ Development approach
    ◦ Preservation approach
    ◦ Conservation approach

Development, preservation, and conservation are
different attitudes toward nature. These attitudes
reflect a person’s ethical commitments.
   This approach is the most
    ◦ It assumes the human race is, and should be,
      master of nature.
    ◦ It assumes that the Earth and its resources
      exist solely for our benefit and pleasure.
    ◦ This approach is reinforced by the capitalist
      work ethic.
    ◦ This approach thinks highly of human
      creativity and holds that continual economic
      growth is a moral ideal for society.
   This approach is the most ecocentric.
    ◦ It holds that nature has intrinsic value apart from
      human uses.
       Preservationists such as John Muir, Ralph Waldo
        Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman
        articulated their positions differently, but all viewed
        nature as a refuge from economic activity, not as a
        resource for it.
   Some preservationists wish to keep large
    parts of nature intact for aesthetic or
    recreational reasons (anthropocentric
John Muir
   This approach finds a balance between
    unrestrained development and
   Conservationism promotes human well-
    being but considers a wider range of long-
    term human goods in its decisions about
    environmental management.
   Many of the ideas in conservationism have
    been incorporated into an approach known
    as sustainable development.
Gifford Pinchot
Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic”
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the
 integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic
 community. It is wrong when it tends
 otherwise….We abuse land because we
 regard it as a commodity belonging to us.
 When we see land as a community to which
 we belong, we may begin to use it with love
 and respect.”
                                   —Aldo Leopold
                        A Sand County Almanac, 1949
   Deep Ecology and Ecofeminism
Other areas of philosophical thought address
            environmental issues
Environmental Justice
   In 1998, the Environmental Protection
    Agency (EPA) defined environmental
    justice as fair treatment, meaning:
    ◦ “No group of people, including racial, ethnic, or
      socioeconomic groups, should bear a
      disproportionate share of the negative
      environmental consequences resulting from
      industrial, municipal, and commercial operations
      or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal
      programs and policies.”

    ◦ Environmental justice is closely related to civil
Environmental Justice

 The direct action in Warren County, NC, marked
 the birth of the environmental justice movement in the U.S.
Environmental Justice
   Studies show that the affluent members
    of society generate most of the waste,
    while the impoverished members tend to
    bear most of the burden of this waste.
Environmental Justice
   Environmental justice encompasses a wide
    range of issues, including:
    ◦   Where to place hazardous and polluting facilities
    ◦   Transportation
    ◦   Safe housing, lead poisoning, and water quality
    ◦   Access to recreation
    ◦   Exposure to noise pollution
    ◦   Access to environmental information
    ◦   Hazardous waste cleanup
    ◦   Exposure to natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane
Not only must we be good, but we
must also be good for something.
     Henry David Thoreau

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