Environmental Ethics Essay

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The Need for Environmental Ethics

“Unless humanity is suicidal, it should want to preserve, at the minimum, the natural life-support systems and processes required to sustain its own existence” (Daily p.365). I agree with scientist Gretchen Daily that drastic action is needed now to prevent environmental disaster. Immediate action and changes in attitude are not only necessary for survival but are also morally required. In this paper, I will approach the topic of environmental ethics from several related sides. I will discuss why the environment is a morally significant concern, how an environmental ethic can be developed, and what actions such an ethic would require to maintain and protect the environment.

The most obvious
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The cost of controlling pollution is that we give up certain consumer goods and services, such as a new washing machine or hospital, up to the point that we decide that the having the washing machine or hospital is more important than the environment. Yet, even Baxter admits that it is nearly impossible to assign values and costs to such different items. Considering modern science, it would also be difficult to ignore the effect pollution has on many plant and animal species on which humans depend.

However, a human-centered ethic can be a strong foundation for environmental concern when taken in context. Human beings are completely dependent on natural ecosystems for survival, though we have only recently recognized this fact. Despite advances in science and technology, there is still much about the functions and interaction of different elements of the environment that we just do not understand. We do realize, however, that our actions impacting the environment will always affect other humans as well as future generations. Furthermore, we know that to attempt to replace the natural environment with an engineered one is completely beyond our technological ability, not mention impossibly expensive. Thus, it becomes imperative to human survival that we develop an environmental ethic.

Peter Singer’s Practical Ethics seeks to extend human-centered Western ethics to include all sentient creatures (all beings who can

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