Free Essay: Environmental Ethics
Man was given authority over the environment and all found within it since the time of his creation. Man therefore has power over the seas, oceans, rivers and land among other natural resources. For their livelihood, human beings depend on the environment. It is from the environment that they acquire natural resources for their survival (Williams, 1992).
The trend has led to harmonious relationships between man and his ecosystem. Human beings for example have cultivated land from the start to get food as well as other resources for their sustenance. This trend had continued to the 19th century when many socialists designed laws that tried to restrict man from fully exploiting the environment for resources and food for their survival. Many theorists have also for a long time designed propositions that prevent man from getting maintainable assets from the environment and prodded humanity instead for environmental conservation.
Discussions on environmental conservations cannot be done without focusing on issues of the effects of how humans utilize the environment to realize their daily needs. It is clear that the environment has needs and it is essential noting that the needs are not as significant as the needs of humans. This paper further discusses the fact that the needs of humans are more important than environmental needs.
The paper also proceeds by focusing on different environmental ethics and other utilitarian theories, Kant and neoclassical among other theories. Some of these philosophies support the role of human beings in the environment for survival while others oppose it.
According to Howell (2010) the affiliation between human beings as well as their ecological system is vital because they rely on the connection for food and health. Natural resources include rivers, seas, rivers, lakes and land. These environmental resources also have sub resources that are utilized by man for survival. The Lockean right to property argues that there are no environmental rights that guarantee human rights to life, health, property or freedom (Williams 1992).
Therefore, the environment cannot make any rules but man can make rules for living in the environment. The rules should not be personalized but communalized. Locke argues accordingly that current ethics does not give human life many rights but it tends to focus more on the environment.
Locke is therefore of the opinion that human beings as well as the ecosystem can comfortably coexist. Other principles consider this to be primitive and if it goes on, humans will not be in a position to survive because of many restrictions to their rights to property and life.
Studies also reveal that many theories passed across by theorists including Kant and Aristotle mainly focus on human to human affiliations (Brenan & Lo 2008). There is no provision for human to earth relationship and this is very important for survival of humans. Based on his thinking, Kant is of the idea of duty. Therefore, individuals work for each other in order to achieve resources and a good livelihood.
On the other hand, Aristotle utilized ideas that are coordinated by eudemonia. Locke however advocates for the right to ownership of property. These rights give room to humanity for access to all that pertains to the environment or nature. The Lockean theory unlike many other theories proposes that man must have the right to utilize natural resources. He also argues that the environment and man co-exist to sustain and grow each other.
Through globalization, business ethics has tried to challenge the significance of human needs over that of the environment. Many companies have been put into place and only tend to care about the ecology and the needs of stakeholders (DesJardin, 2012). Such needs are built on capitalism. What’s more, they are only beneficial to those who work for the company leaving aside those who do not do the same.
Business ethics should also employ an action method of utilitarianism. The law of utilitarianism deals the duty of companies to others. Therefore, the companies should be sensitive of their actions and how they affect other human beings in the ecology they operate in (Crane & Mattern 2007). Additionally, they should consider how business operations affect the environment occupied by humans.
The companies must also consider how business operations affect natural resources that humans rely on for survival and health. Many of the existing global corporations own large manufacturing and production plants. During the manufacturing and production processes, a lot of waste is released from the plants. Most of the waste finds way to the environment and end up destroying natural resources that are designed for consumption by humans.
Some countries for example western territories have also signed a number of agreements allowing for private ownership of seas and oceans. According to Howell (2009), private ownership of such water masses limits the access of humans to natural resources that can be achieved from the habitats. Restricting access to the resources in such environments also means a reduction in their sustainability on daily basis for health and food. This also means that humans will suffer greatly and may end up dying because of starvation.
Such agreements ignore common laws of existence and they violate the theory of justice that aims at treating every person fairly. The theory of justice also aims at ensuring every person receives equal treatment and can access resources equally. It also recommends reduction of fairness between losers and winners.
Environmental laws and ethics also expect humans to take care of the environment. The ethics recommend that man should be responsible for prevention of environmental degradation (Bunin & Tsui- James 2003). It is additionally believed that man can realize sustainable environmental usage easily and ensure it is well attended to at the same time.
Man and the ecosystem as such can coexist easily. However, there are people who believe that man and the environment cannot coexist. Their theories claim that the environment only survives at the expense of human beings (De Steguire 1995). They also expect man to survive sustainably and be in a position to meet their needs without necessarily fully utilizing natural resources.
Environmental ethics are regulates that must be used for peaceful co-existence between man and the environment. Every person aiming at conserving the environment at the expense of human should understand that if man is given an opportunity to live without restrictions on the ecosystem, man is still in a position to protect the environment because it is a place that offers his daily existence.
Every ecosystem has food web and this is narrowed to a food chain. Taking a close look at the food web, it is clear that everything in the ecosystem has a symbiotic relationship. This means, one source relies on the other for survival (Lobina & Hall 2004). Elimination of one item from the food web can easily lead extinction of the other because of lack of food.
Human beings may also starve to death if they design laws that limit their right to use environmental resources. These theories based on the argument above have to uphold the virtue of ethics. Virtue ethics focuses on ensuring individuals maintain moral character when dealing with others. Therefore, they have to examine their actions carefully and decide whether they are acting with honor.
In anything that people do, they have to be descent and honest about their actions towards fellow humans. Actions with integrity helps to ensure humans utilize what is rightfully theirs in the ecosystem. Honesty is additionally expected in the event of making such decisions as they prevent man from utilizing natural resources (UNEP 2006).
All existing regulations should also allow humans to utilize natural resources fully for their health and sustenance. Man on the other hand must ensure they constantly renew renewable resources and economically utilize non-renewable assets.
Many regulations, rules and philosophies as earlier discussed have been put in place to control the relationship between the environment and man. This means that there are regulations, rules and philosophies that also define how humans use natural resources to satisfy their needs. Such theories and proposals need to understand that the ecosystem and man have symbiotic relationship. This means man depends on the environment for health and survival and the environment needs man for continuity and maintenance.
No law can therefore challenge the fact that human needs are more significant than environmental needs. It is also imperative for the proposers to understand that man is not in a position to meet his needs without exploring natural resources. Additionally, it is worth noting that man is indeed a reasonable being and can maintain the environment from massive destruction to ensure his constant supply.
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