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Environmental Ethics

Environmental ethics is the discipline that deals with the moral relationship of human beings to the environment and its nonhuman counterparts.

It is often said to be morally wrong for human beings to pollute and destroy parts of the natural environment and to consume a huge proportion of the planet’s natural resources (1). If it is wrong to destroy the environment, is it because a sustainable environment is essential to human beings or is this behavior wrong because nature and the environment have their own values and rights?

Environmental ethics only emerged as an academic discipline in the 1970s. The rise of environmental ethics began when it was discovered that in the late twentieth century the world would face a “population bomb” and serious environmental crises (1). It has also been contested by historian Lynn White Jr. that the historical roots of the environmental crisis was pushed by the Judeo-Christian mindset that humans were superior over all other life forms on earth (1). Because of this thinking, humans have been encouraged to exploit nature.

Environmental ethics is not complete without a discussion about how feminism is interrelated to the environment. Some writers argue that the domination of women by men is historically the original form of domination in human society. For example, human exploitation of nature may be seen as a manifestation and extension of the oppression of women, in that it is the result of associating nature with the female, which has been already inferiorized and oppressed by the male-dominating culture (1).

 

Reference:

(1) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-environmental/ 

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