It is possible to state that the ethical values of liberal individualism are mostly dominant in the Western civilization. Needless to say, that globalization leads to the further spread of these ideas. Such a situation has a negative impact on the environment due to the fact that people mostly ignore the outcomes of their activities. Furthermore, the liberalization of markets results in the constant industrial growth, which is inevitably connected with carbon emissions. At the same time, the citizens of the Asian countries also ignore environmental issues. For instance, water and soil contamination in China exceed all permissible norms. It means that the current model of interpersonal relations is perfect for the short-term development of economy but fatal for the long-term survival of humanity (Phaneuf 27). It is rational to find some ethical solutions, which could help to change the situation and prevent the planet from the ecological crisis.
One of the perspective ethical theories in the sphere of environmental protection is the Ethics of Consequences method of thinking. This ethical system is partly based on the general assumptions of utilitarianism. Thus, in the system of utilitarianism, an individual makes a moral choice on the basis of the biggest utility of one of the options. The Ethics of Consequences implies the necessity for an individual to analyze the long-term outcomes of each behavioral pattern. Accordingly, the destruction of wildlife and natural resources could not be considered as the biggest utility because it is impossible for an individual to survive without water (Schmidtz 33). The Ethics of Consequences shows that the protection of species and natural resources is crucial for the well-being of a single society’s member. Therefore, there appears the necessity for all people to unite their efforts and take care of the planet’s future right now in order to guarantee personal safety.
It is important to note that there also exists the Environmental Ethics theory developed by Aldo Leopold. The thinker tried to demonstrate the negative outcomes of the ignorant attitude towards the environment. He proposed to use the holistic ethical approach, which unites the achievements of economics, sociology, geography, and law studies. This approach has to explain the fundamental principles of interpersonal relations on the basis of the answers on several questions, such as “how should humanity best use the space environment to expand life?” (Pojman 284). The answers to the questions will be used to control the activities of the corporations, governments, and common people.
In 2017, the Environmental Ethics is usually interpreted as a meta-theory, which consists of many theories and ideas proposed by the different authors. For instance, the Conservation Ethics states that it is crucial for people to take care of the protection of all existing species. The followers of the theory want to protect the natural resources in their current state. According to Holmes Rolston, it is beneficial for humanity to focus on the rescue of endangered species to gain a valuable experience of survival in critical conditions (Rolston 101-102).
Finally, the Ecologic Extension theory uses the cybernetic approach to explaining the interconnection of all life elements. This ethical theory has a primary aim to show all people that it is impossible to rationally control all the consequences of actions. It means that even the small destructive impact could undermine the fragile balance on the planet. Consequently, humanity needs to be extremely orderly in economic activities.
It is possible to conclude that there are many ethical theories, such as the Ethics of Consequences or the Ecologic Extension theory, which propose a new way of thinking for the global community. Unfortunately, it is extremely hard for the environmental activists to popularize these ideas due to the general ignorance of big companies and governments towards the issues of ecology.
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Phaneuf, Daniel. A Course in Environmental Economics. Cambridge University Press. 2016. Print.
Pojman, Paul. Environmental Ethics. Wadsworth Publishing. 2011. Print.
Rolston, Holmes. A New Environmental Ethics: The Next Millennium for Life on Earth. Routledge Publishing. 2011. Print.
Schmidtz, David. Environmental Ethics: What Really Matters. Oxford University Press. 2011. Print.