Ethics and Morality Essay
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Environmental ethics is the study of the moral relationship between human beings to the value and moral status of the environment and its inhabitants. It is morally wrong for human beings to destroy the natural environment and other resources in the planet. The future generation will require living in an environmentally hospitable, favorable and hygienic condition that is being determined by the present generation. These conditions wholly depend on the way we treat the environment today.
If we take care of all components of the universe such as the air, the soils and forests and other resources the earth shall be a favorable and friendly place for the future generations (Nash 1989).
Although the question of ethics and morality is very complex, it is always important to explore environmental issues from a diverse point of view since what may seem right to an individual may be very immoral and unethical to another. The issue of dumping toxic waste and other forms of hazardous waste need no debate due to the adverse effects of the toxic to the well being of plants and animals living within the affected region.
It is for this reason that Alabama act to damp the waste was environmentally unethical since he only considered the completion of his work and ignored the fate of other inhabitants within the location where the dumping was taking place. The sentence though seemed harsh, but I would consider it very light considering the impacts of his action both in the present as well as in the future (Enger & Smith 2002). Alabama Man Sentenced For Dumping Hazardous Waste Alabama decision to dump hazardous waste at the abandoned industrial sites draws mixed criticism from different philosophers.
Although to the majority of the people Alabama’s decision to damp such toxic waste on an open region was wrong and showed disrespect to the environment as well as to the inhabitants currently living and those to live after. From an ethical perspective, Alabama’s decision was an ethical. Because he was not considerate on the wellbeing of the people and other inhabitants living within the region he chose to damp the toxic waste. From a moral point of view, may be Alabama perceived his action as correct since his newly discovered dump site had been abandoned and no one lived around.
For this reason, he might have considered on the time and money he was bound to save by transporting the waste to a nearby site than to the far designated region (Enger & Smith 2002). The fine set upon him was very fair considering the impacts both directly and indirectly the hazardous waste would cause to the environment, both to the present generation as well as to the future generation. The fine should be made harsher with steeper penalties for any unethical injustices done to the environment.
According to the anthropocentric theory of moral responsibility regarding the environment, Alabama action was environmentally unethical because he considered the human interests only with the assumption that human beings are the only significant creatures and that the rest of the inhabitants such as the plants and animals are not significant and can be overlooked while making certain decisions regarding the environment. This line of thought is wrong because all the inhabitants of the earth are depended on each other and the destruction of one result to failure of another.
In his critic Naturalist Philosopher Emerson, blames commerce for the environment injustices taking place. In his argument, man’s actions threaten to upset the balance between men and nature. Emerson disagrees with Alabama’s action which is financially driven in that he chose to locate a secret dump site for his toxic waste so as to clear with his assignment within a short period of time and save on the transport cost as well being paid for the completed assignment.
Alabama’s decision is thus unethical, because he did not put into consideration all the components of the environment but chose to be driven by the moral urge to work within a short period of time and save on other costs he was bound to incur (Enger & Smith 2002). The biocentrism theory towards the moral responsibility to the environment suggests that all forms life have a right to exist. According to some biocentrism animals are more valued than plants and greater responsibility is placed on them.
According to Alabama, his responsibility to the environment had some biogenetic traits whereby his concern was more to people than the plants species that where being affected directly by the toxic and hazardous waste dumped at the industrial site. Henry David Thoreau in his naturalist campaign describes Alabama’s act as a “do not care altitude” whereby few people do not care for the things they need to protect but instead vandalizes them. According to John Muir, Alabama demonstrated a high level or irresponsibility and went against the ethics of divinity.
He believes that the wilderness mirrors divinity, nourishes humanity and vivifies the spirit and by dumping the toxic waste in an authorized place threatened the existence of the wilderness. As philosopher Aldo Leopold describes in his thinking, no man will ever see the beauty of the wilderness such as the long grass prairie, the beautiful flowers that stirrups the fields if men in their unethical deeds as Alabama demonstrated continue destroying the fields through illegal dumping of wastes and other toxic substances whose effect is being felt by both plants and animals living within the region the dumping takes place (Enger & Smith 2002).
The ecocentrism approach to environmental responsibility maintains that the environment deserves direct moral consideration in whatever we do, although the environment is considered to be at moral par with humans. Aldo Leopold had advocated that land is the basic concept of ecology that is to be loved and respected but Alabama failed to demonstrate this love by dumping waste illegally, to him anything is ethically and morally right if it preserves the integrity and stability of the community otherwise it is wrong.
According to Leopold’s idea, the land is an object of moral concern that needs protection from everyone and all its inhabitants. He maintained that it is morally wrong to eliminate any species from the land with a simple reason of increasing the monetary value of any activity being undertaken knowingly. It is this very act Alabama went against by illegally dumping toxic in a designated area which posed serious threat to all the inhabitants within the region (Nash 1989).
. Conclusion In conclusion, ethical issues concerning the environment can be viewed in various ways and at different levels depending on the prevailing priorities within the society, but this does not mean that the environment should be abused by few for their personal gain but must be the responsibility of everyone to take care of the environment for the sake of the future generations and its overall stability.
Enger, E. D & Smith, B. F. (2002). Environmental Science: A study of Interrelationships. Tenth Edition. McGraw Hill Higher Education. Boston, MA (USA). Nash, R. (1989). The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics, Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.