These are among the questions investigated by environmental ethics. Some of them are specific questions faced by individuals in particular circumstances, while others are more global questions faced by groups and communities.
Yet others are more abstract questions concerning the value and moral standing of the natural environment and its nonhuman components. The former is the value of things as means to further some other ends, whereas the latter is the value of things as ends in themselves regardless of whether they are also useful as means to other ends.
For instance, certain fruits have instrumental value for bats who feed on them, since feeding on the fruits is a means to survival for the bats. However, it is not widely agreed that fruits have value as ends in themselves. We can likewise think of a person who teaches others as having instrumental value for those who want to acquire knowledge. Yet, in addition to any such value, it is normally said that a person, as a person, has intrinsic value, i.
For another example, a certain wild plant may have instrumental value because it provides the ingredients for some medicine or as an aesthetic object for human observers. But if the plant also has some value in itself independently of its prospects for furthering some other ends such as human health, or the pleasure from aesthetic experience, then the plant also has intrinsic value.
Because the intrinsically valuable is that which is good as an end in itself, it is commonly agreed that something's possession of intrinsic value generates a prima facie direct moral duty on the part of moral agents to protect it or at least refrain from damaging it see O'Neil and Jameson for detailed accounts of intrinsic value. Many traditional western ethical perspectives, however, are anthropocentric or human-centered in that either they assign intrinsic value to human beings alone i.
For example, Aristotle Politics, Bk. Generally, anthropocentric positions find it problematic to articulate what is wrong with the cruel treatment of nonhuman animals, except to the extent that such treatment may lead to bad consequences for human beings. From this standpoint, cruelty towards nonhuman animals would be instrumentally, rather than intrinsically, wrong. Environmental Ethics As can be imagined, there are several ways to view the role of humans in the natural environment and consequently there are several differing philosophies as to what should be provided value and why.
In addition to the types of intrinsic value assigned, the location of this. Consider again the beautiful flower, beauty is an anthropogenic value because its color and geometry is assigned valued by humans and since this beauty is not particularly usefulness to humans, it is not considered anthropocentric.
A third consideration is the location of value, specifically what has value or should be assigned value, such as do only humans have value, or all sentient beings, or maybe even entire ecosystems including their associated natural cycles and elements Palmer,.
This is a very controversial subject and several different philosophies exist for what should be assigned value. Now that we have covered basic considerations and terminology of environmental ethics, we can begin to look at three ethical approaches concerning the environment, namely the anthropocentric, biocentric, and holistic.
The few environmental ethics outlined in this paper are not allinclusive by any means, but provide a representative sampling put forth by ethicists. The US has a very robust system of environmental programs that are administered by several different governmental agencies.
Although these five agencies cover a large portion of the environmental programs within the US, they are not all inclusive. The scope of each individual agency is roughly centered on different portions of the environment, such as wildlife and aquatic organisms, forests, lands, the atmosphere, and oceans. The EPA is the primary agency of US environmental protection and sets regulatory standards that can overlap the boundaries of other agencies.
A brief timeline of these organizations can reveal how environmental ethics has evolved within the US. Many US environmental agencies were primarily concerned with resource management or commerce in their early beginnings. As awareness of environmental ethics evolved over time, these agencies began to protect and conserve the portions of the environment that they had responsibility for.
Analysis An evaluation of its policies and environmental agency guidance documents will help identify the environmental ethic for the United States. These policies and statements of mission can be very telling about the overall ethic and environmental value system in the US government. Although not specifically covered in this paper, changes to these policies and documents over time can also reveal the evolution of the US environmental ethic. These policies provide evidence of the predominantly anthropocentric ethic of the US, but further analysis of US environmental agencies can provide evidence to clarify these ethics.
US Environmental Agency Mission Statements and Strategic Goals To support US national environmental policy, the five environmental agencies highlighted in this paper have developed mission statements and strategic goals that guide their organizations and declare their value systems. The EPA mission statement specifically outlines a dual mission, to limit risks to human health and to protect the environment EPA, b.
The EPA also believes that air quality objectives are for achieving and maintaining air pollution standards in order to protect human health EPA, Although the EPA considers watersheds and ecosystems in its goal, it values protecting them because they are important resources for communities and aquatic ecosystems are able to sustain flora and fauna, and, subsequently, sustain human economy, recreational, and subsistence EPA, Particularly telling is a graphic provided in the strategic plan that correlates strategic goals with USFWS customers, even though ecosystem conservation is conducted, the USWS plans solely for the benefit of its human customers As clearly stated in their mission statement and further defined in their strategic plan, the USFWS values nature for its instrumental worth and prescribes to an anthropocentric environmental ethic, centering on its human customers.
They also outline why they believe ecosystems to be important; to provide goods and services such as food, wood products, purification of air and water, regulate climate and floods, biodiversity, and aesthetics USFS, This Act requires public lands, which, incidentally, represent million acres of US land, to be managed for an energy resource, grazing, recreation, and timber harvesting BLM, a.
These mandated land management considerations all represent benefits centered on humans and reveal the BLM environmental ethic as anthropocentric, with an instrumental valuing of the environment. The mission of this agency is to understand changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts; share their knowledge; and conserve and manage marine ecosystems and resources NOAA, The NOAA strategic plan links human health and human economy to the health of the environment and therefore values the environment based on its ability to provide a healthy environment for humans and natural resources that build human economies NOAA, Although the NOAA values ecosystems greatly, they believe this value resides in their ability to advance and benefit humans, and as a result are instrumental values based on an anthropocentric environmental ethic NOAA, Conclusions All US policies and environmental agencies analyzed in this paper reveal a predominant US anthropocentric environmental ethic and a belief that the environment should be valued for its instrumental value.
Many of these policies and agencies recognize the importance of ecosystem as ecological wholes, but only in a way to ensure their integrity as a provider of human benefits. Although the policies and agencies analyzed in this paper do not reflect all US environmental agencies or the entire US policy towards the environment, they do represent how a large portion of the US environmental is managed, including its wildlife and aquatic organisms, forests, lands, atmosphere, waters, and coastal areas.
As such, conclusions can be drawn from these policy statements, with help from an understanding of key concepts in environmental ethics, to identify a prevailing US environmental ethic. It is important to remember that even though the policies and missions of its environmental agencies are centered on an anthropocentric ethic and that they value nature instrumentally; this does not mean that they are not devoted and consumed with protecting the US environment.
In many instances these agencies have recognized value in both natural resources and natural ecosystems and even if they are working towards sustaining humans, their actions can ultimately benefit the natural world.
This paper was primarily concerned with identifying the US environmental ethic and is by no means judging the effectiveness of US environmental agencies or policies. In addition, further analysis of environmental agency actions may provide a clearer picture of their environmental ethic and whether they deviate from this ethic is significant ways.
The case for optimal pollution. Readings in theory and application 6th ed. Reprinted from Columbia University Press The Bureau of land management: Who we are, what we do. Retrieved January 7, from http: Our Heritage, our future. Retrieved January 20, from http: GDP purchasing power parity.
Retrieved January 20, from https: National policy issuance United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved January 7, from. Fiscal year — EPA strategic plan.
Planning, Budget, and Results. Our mission and what we do. An overview of environmental ethics. Reprinted from Studies in Christian Ethics, 7 Reprinted from Naturalizing Values New Oxford American dictionary 3rd ed.
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Free Essay: Ethics is the study of what is right and wrong in human conduct. Environmental ethics studies the effects of human’s moral relationships on the.
In this class, Environmental Ethics, we have looked at a number of issues affecting the environment which are caused by humanity in its relations with the planet and other life on it. We have conducted discussions and utilized readings which were assigned to us on various topics regarding the. The words environment and ethics are not commonly found together in a sentence. However, in today's global environment, environmental ethics have become a required practice for everyone in the world. Creating effective strategies for protecting the environment often brings ethical issues to the /5(10).
Environmental ethics is the part of environment philosophy which considers extending the traditional boundaries of ethics from only including hum and to non-humans. There are many ethical decisions that human beings make with respect to the environment. ADVERTISEMENTS: Essay on Environmental Ethics! Environmental Ethics deal with issues related to the rights of individuals that are fundamental to life and well-being. These concern not only the needs of each person today, but also those who will come after us. It also deals with the rights of others living creatures that inhabit the Earth.