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Environmental Ethical Issues

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Environmental ethical issues are relatively new having risen in the second half of the twentieth century. This was the period that full effects of human activities on the planets started to show. For instance, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) illustrated the environmental effects of using pesticides, such as DDT, in eradicating disease transmitting insects and controlling weeds. Indeed, the international environmental movements trace their origin to Carson’s work. Interested parties therefore started raising awareness on the matter at both local and international level—this culminated to the 1970’s Earth Day event, which later became an annual international event. Environmental consciousness was mostly concentrated in the developed nations, which had already engaged industrial farming that utilized lots of fertilizers and pesticides. In fact, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was solely directed at commercial farmers who had started destroying respective environs’ ecosystem. Carson’s moving evidence helped catapult environmental ethical issues to unimaginable levels. Even recent accusation in literature that Carson’s findings were fabricated has done little to convince environmentally conscious individuals from encouraging the others to become more environmentally ethical.

            Current environmental ethical issues regard how the human race is continuing to harm the environment despite the growing evidence on the resulting dangers. Armstrong and Botzler ( 2003) has highlighted the disappearing snow, rising seas, irregular climate changes as the standing evidences to remind human race of importance of dealing with environmental ethical issues. Reminding people on the above evidence on worsening environmental conditions is being used to convince the human race on the necessity of change. The modern trend is therefore to inform the population on the importance of protecting the environment for future generations and even continued enjoyment on nature. As opposed to the initial decades of campaign that was seen as spreading unfounded rumors, modern environmentalists and well wishers have enough evidence to present convincing cases. In addition, skeptics can easily see effects that human activities are having on the environment and therefore become more willing to listen to information on this matter.

There has also been a trend of popularizing environmental ethical issues to the developing nations, especially considering that most of these countries lack the capacity to develop the necessary institutional frameworks for environmental protection. Creating awareness of environmental ethical issues in poor nations is being taken seriously because rapid economic development, which is needed for better living standards, might end up hurting the environment. This is in consideration that most developing nations are still depending on their extractive industries for economic outputs. Additionally, developed nations that have depleted respective natural resources, especially energy and industrial raw materials, are depending on supplies from developing countries. The stringent environmental ethical issues in developed nations are increasingly sending highly polluting producers to less environmentally strict developing nations. For this reasons, individuals and other interested parties are embarking on developing and implementing ways of helping governments in developing nations to be more environmentally strict and therefore bolster the growth of environmental ethical issues.

In the future, environmental ethical issues will most likely revolve on how humankind could coexist peacefully with the environment. In other words, it would involve ensuring societies are efficiently using environmental resources to improve living standards while ensuring those resources replenish for future generations and earth’s well being (Marshal, 2002).

This trend of yester, today and the future of environmental ethical issues indicate the maturity of an issue that was taken for granted at the initial stages. The future of environmental ethical issues is bright considering the increasing number of industries choosing environmentally clean production processes. The world of industrialists has even come out with carbon trading mechanisms, where companies buy rights to emit from more highly efficient and environmentally clean firms. This serves as an incentive way to cultivate and entrench environmental ethics across the human race. Most importantly, companies that show higher degrees of environmental ethical issues end up making money, which is really important for organizational bottom line. Critics had indeed been highlighting international environmental movements as false alarmists and doomsayers but have come to realize that the world is dealing with a grave matter that needs to be addressed collectively and immediately.


Armstrong, S. & Botzler, R. (2003). Environmental Ethics. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Carson, R. (1962). Silent Spring. New York: Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt.

Marshall, A. (2002). Unity of Nature. London: ICP.

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