by Elisa Thelvarik


Want to listen to this article? Click here!

Want to listen to this article? Click here!

Image Credit

Image Credit

When you hear the words Environmental Ethics...it sounds like something you see in a college catalogue and then scroll past to find a course requirement for your major. But what does that actually mean, right? Environment. Ethics. Two seemingly simple concepts with so much meaning behind them.

That college student was me! I was remarkably close to actually taking that Environmental Ethics philosophy course, but alas it did not fit into my schedule. Even though I didn't get to live out my philosophical dreams of being that environmentally conscious nursing student, I was still intrigued. I decided to do some research to scratch the surface of what environmental ethics is.

<aside> ❗ I am not an expert so I will not be going into depth about the ins and outs of philosophical theories. These are just my findings and thoughts.

</aside>

What is Environmental Ethics?

According to R. Sandler, environmental ethics is the study of ethical relationships between human beings and the natural environment, which includes nonhuman individuals.

You see, I'm really interested in the relationship between human beings and the natural environment. It is often up for debate how we should treat our planet. People's thoughts and opinions on this matter come from their background, previous teachings, etc. One thought that has always aggravated me was the idea that humans owned the natural world, therefore giving people the right to use up nature's resources. I never really thought to explore this idea through philosophy. Do human beings have "dominance" over nature? Do we have the right to trash, burn, and destroy the natural world?

Core Questions in Environmental Ethics

In environmental ethics, there are some core questions one must ask:

As I was researching, there were many debates within environmental ethics against anthropocentrism, which is the belief that value is human-centered and that all other beings are means to human ends (Brennan, Andrew and Lo, Yeuk-Sze, 2020). This holds some controversial views about humanity, but also carries some other ideas like humans being the cause of climate-related issues.

I never really thought about the opposite side of environmental ethics. In a way, I have been taught and learned about both sides of the coin, but never knew the words.

Image Credit

Image Credit

I believe there is a fine line between caring for yourself and humanity and neglecting or negating the needs of nature.

Image Credit

Image Credit

Reflection

The reason I bring up environmental ethics is that we spend so much criticizing ourselves and our environmentally charged choices, but sometimes we need to objectively look at the philosophy behind bigger concepts.

Fast fashion, climate change, pollution, deforestation, and natural resource depletion. All of these topics relate to environmental ethics.

<aside> ❓ What is our relationship with nature?

</aside>

<aside> ❓ What are our values and principles that justify our collective actions?

</aside>

<aside> ❓ Are we nurturing the natural world?

</aside>

I want you to read this article and REFLECT on what you think of the environment. How do you feel about the environment? Have you neglected the importance of human beings and nature?

Powered by Fruition