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Environmental Ethics Inventory

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A set of rules oulining human responsibility concerning environmental ethics defines the relationship toward “the surroundings, both biotic and abiotic” “collectively called the environment” (Blackmore, 1997). Any person who has ever given a thought to the need to protect and develop the environment has either implicit or explicit code of ethics regarding these issues that determines everyday behavior patterns. In the same way, I also have my own values and ethics regarding environmental issues that define my responsibility to the natural environment. Although at times I can violate these values when the situation proves to be too challenging, I nevertheless hold them in high esteem.

First of all, my ethical approach is grounded in the belief that “we must recognize the inherent rights of nature and natural systems to survive intact” (Blackmore, 1997). All too often human beings view nature simply as a pleasant surrounding for their leisure time or a resource for economic activity. This is a dangerous point of view since it leads to destruction of natural habitats through over-using, rampant pollution, depletion of resources, and extinction of wild flora and fauna. I believe that people in their activities should recognize preservation of natural systems as an important priority that has to be considered along with economic efficiency and at times even override it. The irretrievable destruction of natural surroundings should become a taboo, no matter how feasible it may seem from the financial perspective. The Earth has suffered too much from the influence of humans, and it is time to to give it a rest and let it recuperate from the damage.

I also believe that each individual bears personal responsibility for preservation of nature and that this responsibility is part of one’s duty to society. We are born as social beings, receiving benefits from society in the form of developed social structures, economic well-being, and intellectual opportunities. In this light, it is our duty to repay the society with responsible attitudes toward the environment. A clean and thriving habitat is the key to a fulfilling and satisfying life of many people; therefore, an individual should not shun the obligations involved in preserving it. We are not morally justified in leaving a dirty picnicking ground or passively observing corporate decision-making that harms the environment. Unless each and every person recognizes environmental concerns as one of social obligations, there is hardly an opportunity to achieve a lasting positive impact on society.

Besides, I am strongly opposed to environmental racism that exposes the most vulnerable populations. It is defined as “the intentional siting of hazardous waste sites, landfills, incinerators, and polluting industries in communities inhabited mainly by African-American, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, migrant farm workers, and the working poor” (Weintraub, 1994). I think this notion can be extended to embrace the activities of multinational corporations in developing nations where they abandon wastes in the open or otherwise pollute the environment, as was the case, for instance, with Shell Oil Company in Nigeria’s Ogoniland (Macalister, 2004). Such practices, in my view, are unacceptable because they violate the inherent human right to live in a healthy habitat. Environmental degradation that occurs around negatively impacts the health of poor populations, further limiting their prospects to succeed in making a decent living. Uncontrolled waste dumping represents another expression of the power of the dominant class or nations and as such should be contained at all times.

Speaking of my everyday behavior, I try to be as cautious with the environment as possible. In the rare times I get out in a forest or on the river shore, I try to clear up the garbage with the maximum effort so that not trace is left from our presence. I am trying to stop people from plucking flowers in

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