An Overview by Stephanie Ann Holbrook
There are many arguments that support environmental preservation. Many members of the human race feel a moral obligation to the future generations of man kind, while even more are directly affected by the consequences of the deteriorating environment around them. 7
Millions of people are subjected to city smog, polluted water, and the smell of the local dump every day. Environmental awareness is a daily concern for these people. Anyone who can smell, hear, or breathe is affected by the air, water, and land quality of their surroundings. With the population growing at a frantically exponential rate, the world must be taken care of as best it can in order to preserve life on this planet. 2 Taking care of the Earth is the responsibility of the people who inhabit her. The planet is not at fault for the lack of resources, rather the residents of the planet who are greedy, growing in number, engaging in over-consumption, and often ignorant and arrogant. If people become more aware of the importance of saving the planet, then the Earth and the human race may have a chance. 6
The lifestyles that most humans enjoy today in industrial and post industrial countries are a part of the deterioration of the environment. Besides the obvious pollution that factories emit into the air and the waste that is dumped into ponds regularly, there are also more incognito forms of ecological deterioration. Tourism is a major industry that has been growing since the sixties. Many non-industrial countries are being overtaken by the tourists that kill their crops, wildlife, and disrupt their traditional way of living. In some countries, the natives cater to the tourists, leaving their crops for an income based on tourists paying to take a picture of them or making replicas of their crafts to sell. Meanwhile, the people of their village or tribe go hungry. 8
Henry Thoureau believed that if every man lived as he did (while at Walden Pond during the Enlightenment) thieving and robbery would be unknown. The "dirty institutions" of men and their pressures would be left behind along with the rest of corporate America. All would live peacefully, caring for one another, with a different system of values based on natures laws.3 Perhaps this claim brings up an interesting question: Is it the fear of corporations having too much power that scares us...or is it their lack of moral pretensions that makes them so dangerous to society? 4
Nuclear plants have certainly displayed a lack of care and moral standards in the past. England was caught dumping radioactive waste into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, claiming that the cement barrels that it was kept in would not deteriorate for another 200 years. The future generations would have to deal with the radioactive contaminated ocean. The barrels would keep the plutonium-239 for 200 years, but the plutonium-239 has a half life of 24,113 years. 9
The United States government has taken steps toward raising environmental awareness of the general public. They induced Green taxes, which can pose as rewards for non-polluters. 5 It is a small step, but an important one.
1.Neuhaus, Richard. In Defense of the People The Macmillan Company: New York, 1971. pg 80.
2.Neuhaus, Richard. In Defense of the People The Macmillan Company: New York, 1971.pg 310.
3.Neuhaus, Richard. In Defense of the People The Macmillan Company: New York, 1971. pg 142.
4.Goodpaster, K.E. Sayre, K.M. Ethics &Problems of the 21st Century University of Notre Dame Press: Indiana, 1979. pg 124.
5. Maguire, Daniel C. Rasmussen, Larry L. Ethics for a Small Planet State University of New York Press: Albany, 1998. pg 16.
6.Maguire, Daniel C. Rasmussen, Larry L. Ethics for a Small Planet State University of New York Press: Albany, 1998. pg 119.
7. Cooper, David E. Palmer, Joy A. The Environment in Question: Ethics and Global Issues Routledge: New York, 1992. pg 2.
8. Cooper, David E. Palmer, Joy A. The Environment in Question: Ethics and Global Issues Routledge: New York, 1992. pg 41.
9. Cooper, David E. Palmer, Joy A. The Environment in Question: Ethics and Global Issues Routledge: New York, 1992. pg 56.