What is environmental ethic?

Why is environmental science important?

c. Individual organisms

As mentioned earlier, a number of philosophers have questioned the idea that only sentient beings have moral standing. Some have done so by proposing a thought experiment based on the “last man standing scenario” (Atfield, 1983, p. 155). The thought experiment asks us to consider a situation, such as the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, in which the lone surviving human faces the lone surviving tree of his kind. If someone cuts down a tree, no human being will be harmed by its destruction. For our purposes, we should change the example and say that all animals also perished in the Holocaust. If this change is made, we can go further and say that no living being will be harmed by the destruction of the tree. Would that person be at fault for destroying the tree? According to ethics centered around humans or animals, it is hard to see why such destruction would be wrong. However, many of us have a strong intuition that an individual might make a mistake by cutting down a tree. For some environmental philosophers, this intuition suggests that the moral state should extend beyond conscious life to include individual organisms, such as trees.

Of course, as I mentioned before, we cannot rely on intuition alone to decide who or what has moral status. For this reason, many philosophers have come up with arguments for attributing the moral state to individual organisms. Albert Schweitzer was one of the first philosophers to make such an argument. Schweitzer’s influential ethic of “respect for life” asserts that all living things have a “will to live” and that humans should not interfere with or extinguish this (Schweitzer, 1923). But while it is clear that organisms struggle to survive, it is not true that they simply “want” to live. This, after all, would require a kind of conscious experience, which many living beings lack. However, Schweitzer may have meant something like Paul W. Taylor’s more recent claim that all organisms are “teleological centers of life” (Taylor, 1986). For Taylor, this means that living beings have their own best interest that they strive for, even if they are not aware of this fact. This is good, according to Taylor, the full evolution of the biological forces of the organism. In arguments similar to Reagan’s, Taylor argues that because organisms have their own interest, they have an inherent value; That is, the value for its own sake, regardless of its value to other objects. It is this value that gives individual organisms a moral status and means that we must consider the interests and needs of these entities when formulating our ethical commitments.


When industrial processes destroy resources, isn’t it the responsibility of industry to restore depleted resources? Furthermore, can the restored environment replace the original environment? Mining operations disturb the ecological balance in certain areas. They harm the flora and fauna of these areas. Slash-and-burn techniques are used to clear land, destroying forests and woodlands. The land is used for farming, but is the loss of so many trees compensated?

Many human activities lead to environmental pollution. An increasing population increases the demand for natural resources. As the human population exceeds the carrying capacity of our planet, animal and plant habitats are destroyed to make room for human habitation. Megastructures (roads, buildings for residential and industrial purposes) are built at the expense of the environment. To make room for these structures, many trees have to lose their lives. Animals that thrive in them lose their natural habitat and eventually their lives. However, logging is rarely considered a loss of life. Isn’t this immoral? (texajp_7)

Leave a Comment