Environmental Ethics

652 Words3 Pages
Environmental ethics The Industrial Revolution fundamentally shifted the relationship of human beings to nature. Once, human beings were relatively vulnerable and helpless before the forces of the natural world. Now, in the age of industrialization, humanity is able to change and shape nature, as well as simply try to survive its onslaught. With the ability to alter nature has come unexpected consequences, however, that forces our species to continually reevaluate how it relates to the environment. Global warming is often seen as the consequences of human beings attempting to dominate nature, through the construction of fossil fuel-burning machinery, industrialized agriculture, and the clearing of national habitats. The question of how to live in a state of balance with nature has generated the branch of philosophy known as environmental ethics, a form of applied ethics that studies the relationship of humans to the environment and often provides prescriptive advice about how human beings should live in nature. The central debate between environmentalists is how human beings should relate to nature. Should the general health of the planet be the focus, with human life viewed as merely one species amongst many, as advocates of the Deep Ecology movement purport? A similar view is advocated by utilitarian philosophers such as Peter Singer: "the interests of all the sentient beings (i.e., beings who are capable of experiencing pleasure or pain) -- including nonhuman ones --
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