Secular and Religious Approaches to Environment Issues

1949 Words Sep 27th, 2014 8 Pages
Assess the claim that secular approaches to environment issues are of more help than religious ones. (35 marks)

Secular approaches are ethical approaches that are not religious, for example Kantian ethics. Religious approaches would include Natural Law and biblical references. In both of these approaches to environment issues, a good approach to environment issues would be one that weighed up the pros and cons of both sides of the argument and come to a rational conclusion that is backed up with reason.
Utilitarian’s weigh up the long term effects against the short term effects. I think this is a good way of looking at the environment, as the long-term effects are very different to the short-term effects. If we focus on only the
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This could be very helpful for preserving the environment, however his views are limited on the environment as he seems to not look at different circumstances.
Preference utilitarianism looks at the maximisation of preference satisfaction for the current generation. They do not consider what the effects will be for the future generation. Some would see this as selfish but for preference utilitarian’s, if neglecting the environment has no major effect on the current generation, preserving the environment is not important. Peter Singer believes that we should act morally, taking into account all people affected. He looks at the ‘best possible consequence’. Singer used a set of criteria for a moral status based on sentience. He believes that treatment should be equal for all humans and animals. I think this is a strong approach to environmental issues because it looks at the consequences of our actions, which is what we should be focused on.
An example of environmental issues would be hydroelectric dams being built on quiet picturesque rivers. Preference utilitarian’s would consider the possibility of cheap electricity a good thing, more important than the tranquillity and the wildlife. Whereas, a qualitative utilitarian would consider the long-term interests of the future generations.
Kantian ethics is anthropocentric which means that Kant believes that nature has intrinsic value. Kant believes there should be moral limits on how we use animals.