Ethics of Ecology
Ethics of Ecology
Ethics of ecology focuses on sustaining business and environment. Ethics is a set of principles about right and wrong and how human beings should behave. Ecology is about inter- relationships – between living organisms (both plants & animals) and between biological & physical entities. As people now realise that the environment is a limited resource, awareness all over the world of the necessity to protect and save the environment has grown as well. From the Bill of Rights, Chapter 2, of the S.A. Constitution, “Everyone has the right ¬ a.to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and b.to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that ¬ i.prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
ii.promote conservation; and iii.secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development” Major manifestations of environmental abuse include global warming, depletion of the ozone layer pollution of air, water, resource depletion toxic waste and major health risks. From the extract we read that water has also become an ethical issue and we see Coca Cola and Nestle at the brim of this. Ethics of ecology are concerned with rights as the: Right of future generation which state that, “every person has the right to inherit an uncontaminated planet on which all forms of life may flourish.”The idea is that present generation has to bear a disproportionate burden for the sake of future generation. Since we can not undo the world it is then better if we hand over a resourceful environment to the next generation, not an environment in its worst state.
One may argue that, ‘is it fair that the current generation get the benefits of using the resources and leave burdens for the future generation”, in distributive justice perception this is unethical, therefore its better we fix what we can now rather than making things worse. There is also the right to a livable environment, that everyone has a moral and legal right to a decent livable environment. A livable environment is essential to the fulfillment of our own capabilities. At first Coca Cola in its business resulted in depletion of water much worse for the current generation, It is said that, “there was severe water shortages from rural neighbours of the plant” which means the future generation would find the environment in its worst state. It appeared Coca Cola was just concerned with prioritizing profits and consumption of water. As such Coca Cola deprived the community of the right to a livable environment and threatened the right of future generation hence it was taken to task.
But in a twist we see Coca Cola owning up to its actions, it reduced its water usage by 24%, installed rain water harvesting systems in its plants hence it became a leader in water management practices. Coca cola further recycled water, replenished water and gave back safe drinking water to the community. Now that’s upholding the rights of future generation and that of a livable environment. On the other hand it’s Nestle which its main beverage business is bottled water. This has raised criticism and ethical issues of water wastage, as it takes three litres of water to make one litre of bottled water. The issue is that if we waste so much now what will the future generation have.
Focusing on the tragedy of the commons, the concept stress that there is real value in these “free’ resources as water, as such there has to be a protection system in place to safeguard the value of these free resources. From the extract we see that some governments have already begun to act against bottled water. Even though Nestle have taken the initiative of water conversation, their means are not as aggressive as that of Coca Cola, Nestle still contend that “bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world” even though we know so much water is wasted, and the saddest thing is that it is most promoted in developed countries due to increased materialistic cultural values even though tap water is perfectly safe in those countries.
It implies then that Nestle takes for granted water, as a limited resource showing little emphasis on conservation and more on consumption. Nestle does not only waste water, the bottles are also biodegradable, one may ask, has Nestle taken any initiative to deal with waste management of the bottles. Not only will humans suffer from water wastage, but the bottles will ultimately harm the environment. An ethic of Ecological Holism comes to play, that the environment bears the interference with nature. These bottles end up in rivers, lakes, the oceans polluting the water and marine live hence the environment right to have its integrity, stability and beauty is compromised.
In conclusion it is necessary to embrace the need to conserve the environment so that business and human life are sustained in future. Currently we are being scotched by earlier ignorance of people who did not preserve the environment, there is global warming, change of climates and seasons, characterised by extreme coldness or extreme hotness, scares rainfall in some parts of the world and persistent floods in some. Adopting Initiatives as going green, recycling, reducing, reusing and respecting rights of the environment and non-human life will help sustain business and environment, and business ought to take autonomy over their acts.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 22 December 2016
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