Consider the following questions - Does the earth exist for the benefit of humanity? Have we the right to take away all the earth’s resources for our personal use? Do trees have legal standing? Do other species have an intrinsic right to exist? Do we have a responsibility to be good stewards over the earth? These are some questions of the many that are considered while studying environmental ethics. A branch of environmental philosophy, environmental ethics basically studies the relations between the human beings and their natural environment. Sometimes known as moral philosophy, ethics address what is morally good and bad or what is right and wrong. Hence, environmental ethics includes certain distinguished boundaries or principles that should be adhered to while considering the environment. Continue browsing through the lines herein to know more about environmental ethics.
What Is Environmental Ethics
Man has been cutting down trees at alarmingly rising rates. Even the natural resources are not spared and consumed excessively for personal uses. As a result, these resources are increasingly depleting, thereby risking the lives of our future generations. Is it right enough to undertake such inhumane activities? This is where environmental ethics enter. Relatively a young field, environmental ethics are being concentrated since the 1930s. It was only when scientists and other observant people began noticing the harmful impacts of the human activities on the earth that they seriously started worrying about this overlooked issue.
Eventually in the 1960s and 70s, environmental ethics was included in academics to make people aware of the ongoing human activities on earth, in the act of destroying and affecting the environment for their personal benefits. Largely, the environmental ethics came into the limelight with the celebration of the Earth Day in 1970. Initiated by North America and Canada, the subject has now spread to as far as Australia and Norway. Human activities, in fact, play a major role in causing environmental pollution. To add to this, the ever-increasing human population is, moreover, increasing demands for more food and shelter, leading to destruction of the natural environment for human inhabitation. This destruction caused by the humans, in turn, returns to them in the form of polluted environment creating difficulties for themselves as well as for the generations to come in the near future.
Nonetheless, environmental ethics emphasizes on the fact that every living being on earth has the right to lead an independent life. They guide the humans towards following set rules of ethics, while approaching other living beings as one would approach humans. This mainly includes plants and animals that form a significant part of our society. By learning our responsibilities towards the environment, such as waste management, non-pollution, growing trees, eradicating poaching/hunting/deforestation, water conservation, non-dumping of wastes into the sea, recycling, stopping the emission of harmful chemicals and gases into the air, and so on, our environment would be in a better position to serve us.