Research What Are You Reading...On Environmental Ethics

What Are You Reading…On Environmental Ethics

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just put out its annual “State of the Climate” report. After collating data from hundreds of scientists around the globe, the report states unambiguously that there was a “toppling of several symbolic mileposts” in heat in 2015. The report goes on to mention that the concentration of carbon dioxide plays a large role in this, and that climate change is having a severe effect on marine life worldwide.

To those who accept that climate change is very real and very dangerous, this report just adds to the massive stack of similar reports bolstering the argument that action needs to be taken now (while to those who don’t this report probably won’t be of much interest). It also will most likely provoke more puzzlement about why society has been so reluctant to do anything substantial.

This question is one that ethicists have been working to answer more and more. The issue that needs to be addressed is how to give the environment an ethical standing, such that we can recognize its existence, interests, and needs in our ethical frameworks. Since all the major ethical frameworks we have were developed in relation to humans (and even then selectively applied), reframing them to include the environment is vital to proper environmental policy. Here are several articles from recent years that have been trying to do just that:


  1. I’m reading Silent Spring which is authorized by Rachel Carson. A must read book for the concerned. Carson brings forth, without ever putting on alarmist garbs, all the horrors of the warfare that we have undertaken against ourselves.


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