what is sustainable ethics?
what is sustainable ethics?
Environmental ethics is the extension of human ethics beyond the non humans. e.g. plants and animals
What is Eco theology?
Environmental ethics helps define man's moral and ethical obligations toward the environment. But human values become a factor when looking at environmental ethics.
The concept of ethics involves standards of conduct. These standards help to distinguish between behavior that is considered right and that which is considered wrong. As we all know, it is not always easy to distinguish between right and wrong, as there is no universal code of ethics.
For example, a poor farmer clears an area of rainforest in order to grow crops. Some would not oppose this action, because the act allows the farmer to provide a livelihood for his family. Others would oppose the action, claiming that the deforestation will contribute to soil erosion and global warming. Right and wrong are usually determined by an individual's morals, and to change the ethics of an entire society, it is necessary to change the individual ethics of a majority of the people in that society.
A sustainable ethic is an environmental ethic by which people treat the earth as if its resources are limited. This ethic assumes that the earth's resources are not unlimited and that humans must use and conserve resources in a manner that allows their continued use in the future. A sustainable ethic also assumes that humans are a part of the natural environment and that we suffer when the health of a natural ecosystem is impaired.
A sustainable ethic includes the following tenets:
• The earth has a limited supply of resources.
• Humans must conserve resources.
• Humans share the earth's resources with other living things.
• Growth is not sustainable.
• Humans are a part of nature.
• Humans are affected by natural laws.
• Humans succeed best when they maintain the integrity of natural processes sand cooperate with nature.
For example, if a fuel shortage occurs, how can the problem be solved in a way that is consistent with a sustainable ethic?
The solutions might include finding new ways to conserve oil or developing renewable energy alternatives. A sustainable ethic attitude in the face of such a problem would be that if drilling for oil damages the ecosystem, then that damage will affect the human population as well.
A sustainable ethic can be either anthropocentric or biocentric (life-centered).
An advocate for conserving oil resources may consider all oil resources as the property of humans. Using oil resources wisely so that future generations have access to them is an attitude consistent with an anthropocentric ethic. Using resources wisely to prevent ecological damage is in accord with a biocentric ethic.
Aldo Leopold, an American wildlife natural historian and philosopher, advocated a biocentric ethic in his book, "A Sand County Almanac".
He suggested that humans had always considered land as property, just as ancient Greeks considered slaves as property. He believed that mistreatment of land (or of slaves) makes little economic or moral sense, much as today the concept of slavery is considered immoral. All humans are merely one component of an ethical framework.
Leopold suggested that land be included in an ethical framework, calling this the land ethic. The land ethic simply enlarges the boundary of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals; or collectively, the land.
Leopold had two interpretations of an ethic: ecologically, it limits freedom of action in the struggle for existence; while philosophically, it differentiates social from anti-social conduct. An ethic results in cooperation, and Leopold maintained that cooperation should include the land.
In short, a land ethic changes the role of humans from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow members, and also respect for the community as such.
Leopold maintained that the conservation movement must be based upon more than just economic necessity. Species with no discernible economic value to humans may be an integral part of a functioning ecosystem.
The land ethic respects all parts of the natural world regardless of their utility, and decisions based upon that ethic result in more stable biological communities.
Anything is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends to do otherwise.