class6-ethics-post - Peter F Strom Professor 228 ENRSB...

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Unformatted text preview: Peter F. Strom, Professor, 228 ENRSB 732-932-9800 x6216, [email protected] 11-375:101 Introduction to Environmental Science Lecture 6: Environmental Ethics Kakadu National Park Wetlands, Australia Opposition Jabiluka Uranium Mine • Benefits – – – economy economy . • Costs/Risks/Concerns – – – – ____________ sites - suppose Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Mecca _____________________ (health, environment) local ___________________ economy ______ holding tailings (mining wastes) – earthquakes • To Whom? – benefits and costs not equally distributed – environmental justice Ethics and Economics Culture and Worldview Culture = knowledge, beliefs, values, and learned ways of life shared by group of people Worldview = person’s or group’s beliefs about meaning, purpose, operation, and essence of world Both affect perception of environment and environmental problems Aborigines who saw environmental impacts of Ranger mine opposed Jabiluka mine. Mirrar culture and worldview favor natural land and functioning ecosystems. Environmental Ethics: Questions • Should present generation conserve resources for future generations? [oil?] • Are humans justified in driving other species to extinction? [develop/tree frog?] • Okay to sacrifice a forest to create jobs (and provide resources) for people? [spotted owl] • Okay for some communities to be exposed to more pollution than others? Ethics and Rights ? I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. Dr. Seuss, The Lorax Switzerland - 1971 Kuwait - 2005 Ethical Worldviews Environmental Ethics: Ancient Roots • Plato: moral obligation to the environment – must cherish land as ancestral home – Earth is a goddess, “mistress of mortal men” – treat with respect • Bible: – “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” – “you shall not defile the land in which you live” – if you have dominion, does that require good stewardship? Modern Environmental Protection Movement Prompted by Industrial Revolution John Ruskin: Criticized polluted 19th-century cities, and “desacralizing” nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau: Transcendentalists viewed nature as divine, and opposed materialism. Video: Henry David Thoreau and the Origins of Preservation and Conservation (click below) President Teddy Roosevelt & John Muir Yosemite National Park •Conservation •National Wildlife Refuges • Preservation • Sierra Club Aldo Leopold “The Land Ethic” “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Quotes from Aldo Leopold *We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. *To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering. We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations, the important thing is not to achieve but to strive. Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. *Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and aesthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them. Environmental Justice • OK for some communities to be exposed to more pollution than others? • Do the poor and minorities suffer more than their share of environmental problems? • How about Mirrar Clan/ Jabiluka Mine? • How about in USA? Toxic Waste Dump, Warren County, NC – important for: • US EPA • NJ DEP Navajo Uranium Miners, USA •No protection •Lung cancer •1000 abandoned mine shafts ...
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