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Do we have a moral obligation to protect the environment?
We have the moral responsibility to protect the environment. Environmental protection is governed by our ethical conducts. Ethics refers to the moral principles that govern the actions of individuals. The ethical principle that governs our moral responsibility towards the protection of the environment determines our human obligation, duty, and accountability with regard to the environment, which includes the plants and animals in it. The perspective that human beings are superior to other on- human is the major reason for environmental degradation. According to the environmental ethics, these believe should not apply. The protection of the environment is our moral responsibility for the continuation of life on earth. The aim of the paper is to discuss environmental problems that threaten the existence of life and our moral responsibility to desist from further damage on the environment. In addition, the paper will discuss on the ethical principle that will govern environmental protection.
Ethics is the primary component that defines an individual’s obligation towards the environment. In this case, environmental ethics defines an individual’s ethical and moral obligation to conserve the environment. In other words, they are the human values that are valuable to a person that dictate their actions towards the environment. Human beings use this logic to make decisions on whether something is wrong or right. Human values are exclusive to individuals, this enables them to place value on elements in life differently. However, no matter our reasoning, we have a moral responsibility to protect the environment. One of the prime reasons why we should protect the environment is because of the ecosystem. As years have passed by, human beings have discovered that the ecosystem is complex and we are deeply connected to it. Human activities affect the ecosystem through environmental pollution putting organisms on the verge of extinction, this necessitates the need to protect the environment.
All organisms are interconnected. This means that, if of the organisms is affected in a way, it will inevitably affect the rest, in the long run, human beings included. Human beings share a food chain with the other living organism on earth, if we affect the life f any of them, our economy and quality of life will be substantially affected. In order to secure a quality life, we need to protect the environment for the future generation and for the existence of the other species. In this case, if we continue destroying the environment, we will be contributing to Planetary Extinction placing our survival at risk. Therefore, human beings have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect the environment for our survival and for the survival of other species.
Change is imperative no matter the size. The increase in temperature caused by global warming has led to a significant increase in the size of oceans and seas. The increase in temperature affects organisms like coral, as they have to survive in explicit temperatures in order to provide life. Therefore, environmental changes affect on- human and eventually affect our survival. In this case, it is evident that environmental degradation leads to unfavorable outcomes. Thus, we have an ethical and moral responsibility to conserve the environment as we can allow our actions affect the next generation.
Human activities have led to issues of resource diminution. In order for s to save the world from extinction, we have a moral responsibility to protect the organisms that are on the verge of extinction due to human activities (Leeuw, Valois, Ajzen & Schmidt, 2015). We should have acted responsibly to ensure that no more species are further threatened by human activities. Some of the common activities that are disrupting the landscape and threatening the survival of other species include pollutions (air, water, and land), deforestation, over cultivation, and overpopulation just to mention a few. Resource depletion is the major cause of extinction, in the near future; there will be no enough food for all the species on earth. As a result, we have a moral obligation of proactively conserve the environment (Hoffman, Frederick & Schwartz, 2014).
Lack of adherence to ethical practices in environmental activities has led to the decline in the world economy; this has led to the formulation of world treaties to try to save the situation. Our existence depends on biological assortment (Steg, Bolderdijk, Keizer & Perlaviciute, 2014). The ecosystem and species are disappearing at a high rate because of human activities. The disappearance is a substantial threat to the quality of life, our economies, and above all, our existence. Based on this argument, we have a moral responsibility to steward towards environmental protection. Therefore, human beings have a moral obligation to conserve the environment in order to make certain our survival and the survival of other species. We should also focus on the world economy in our effort to conserve the environment as it is substantially affected by our human activities (Crimston, Bain, Hornsey & Bastian, 2016).
One of the main reasons for environmental degradation is the unethical consideration and the opulent mode of viewpoint. The unethical opulent view denies the present conservation of the environment as it allows waste and extravagance. Other than this perception, some people are caught up in their self-interest deviating from their moral obligation of environmental protection. The destructive human behaviors are the major cause of the environmental problems we are experiencing today. The destruction is facilitated by self-interests and unethical practices. The unethical nature of human beings has given rise to a problem like a climate change, deforestation, and pollution, which has threatened our existence (Keizer et al. 2016). Environmental problems have affected the quality of life, most economies have been substantially affected by environmental degradation. The most economically affected are the poor countries bringing the quality of life much lower, this are some of the major challenges we are facing all over the world, hence, we all have a moral obligation to conserve the environment for the next generation.
In addition, waste disposal is another major concern when it comes to environmental protection. Substances and objects we discard negatively affect the environment. While the problem of garbage is an issue, the toxic chemicals from the waste we discard affect the environment. Some of the major substances that negatively damage the environment include oils, cleaning agents, and batteries just to mention a few. By practicing ethics, human beings can prevent further damage to the environment. One of the ethical considerations is to practice recycling. Recycling involves the re- use of some or all of these substances in attempts to conserve energy, hence protecting the environment (Howell & Allen, 2017).
Another issue leading to the dwindling of the ecosystem is the issue of human population and urbanization. Over populations leads to habitat destruction where an area no longer supports animals and plants that the area could originally carry. In addition, human activities like the expansion of roads and agricultural practices are the major causes of environmental degradation. Some of these activities lead to the extinction of species, these calls for drastic measure to end some of these practices in order to safeguard our survival and the survival of the other organisms (Gjørv, 2017).
Global warming is the world’s leading environmental concern (Quigley & Lyons, 2017). One of the effects of global is the rise in temperature leading g to the melting of polar ice leading to a rise in the sea level. Global warming has a negative impact on the quality of life; environmental issues like deforestation cause Global warming and pollutions just mention a few (Cortina & Conill, 2016). In addition, with the current natural disasters like storms, earthquakes, and tsunamis, the world is experiencing the consequences of negative human activities. One of the leading causes of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels, which emit excess carbon to the atmosphere. In order to reduce carbon emission to the atmosphere, human beings need to practice using alternative sources of energy like wind and electricity. In addition, it is advisable t plant trees. Planting trees are beneficial at it helps in the reduction of the amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Overall, the prime philosophical issue contiguous the environment is on whether we should only place our importance on the environment based on how it affects us or we should place worth on the environment it for its own sake. The contending views are biocentrism and anthropocentrism. However, the protection of the environment is our moral obligation, which should be governed by ethics (Weiss, 2015).
In conclusion, it is imperative to protect the environment. One of the reasons for protecting the environment is that the disruptions human beings have on the environment have placed organisms on the verge of extinction. Environmental degradation threatens the existence of people and animals. Human beings owe the environment a moral obligation to conserve it as most of the environmental degradation comes from human activities. In this case, protecting the environment simply means that we are trying to protect humanity. Most of the pollutions especially water pollution's affects sea creatures like fish, which we later consume, this means that, if we release toxic substances like lead to water sources, we will be ingesting the same toxic substances. Therefore, human beings have a moral responsibility to the environment; in this case, we owe the world the steward to take care of it.
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Gjørv, G. H. (2017). Tensions Between Environmental, Economic and Energy Security in the Arctic. In Northern Sustainabilities: Understanding and Addressing Change in the Circumpolar World (pp. 35-46). Springer International Publishing.
Howell, R., & Allen, S. (2017). People and planet: Values, motivations and formative influences of individuals acting to mitigate climate change. Environmental Values, 26(2), 131-155.
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de Andreotti, V. O. (2014). Soft versus critical global citizenship education. In Development education in policy and practice (pp. 21-31). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
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