ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS: ISSUES AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
“Humans are part of the environment and not
conquerors of it.”
CONSUMPTION PATTERN AND THE NEED FOR EQUITABLE UTILISATION
Environmental ethics deals with issues that are related how we utilize and
distribute resources. The unequal distribution of wealth and access to land and
its resources is a serious concern .An equitable sharing of resources forms the
basis of sustainable development for urban, rural and wilderness dwelling
In 1985, Anil Agarwal published
the first report on the Status
of India’s Environment.
He brought forth a set of 8 propositions which are
of great relevance to the ethical issues that are related to environmental
concerns. These include:
Environmental destruction is largely caused by the
consumption of the rich.
The worst sufferers of environmental destruction are the
Even where nature is being ‘recreated’, as in afforestation,
it is being transformed away from the needs of the poor and towards those of
Even among the poor, the worst sufferers are the marginalized
cultures and occupations, and most of all, women.
There cannot be proper economic and social development
without a holistic understanding of society and nature.
If we care for the poor, we cannot allow gross nature product
to be destroyed any further. Conserving and recreating nature has become our
Gross Nature Product will be enhanced only if we can arrest
and reverse the growing alienation between the people and common property
resources. In this we will have to learn a lot from our traditional cultures.
It is totally inadequate to talk only of sustainable rural
development, as the World Conservation Strategy does. We cannot save the rural
environment or rural people dependent on it, unless we can bring about
sustainable urban development.
IN THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN COUNTRIES
Environmental ethics are
concerned with, who owns resources and how they are distributed. Say for
example the northern belt which includes countries like North-America, Europe
etc. are developed and hence use or better waste the resources and energy
derived from natural resources, hence overexploiting them. Whereas the
countries towards the south mostly comprise of developing countries, e.g.:
regions of southern Asia ; these countries though have abundant resources but
are financially weak and are exploited be the western developed countries who
buy their natural resources at cheap prices. This disparity should be dealt
with for equitable distribution of limited resources and prevention of
Due to expansion and
urbanization for the so called development of the nation poses the requirement
of land, and this demand is met by procuring the land at cheap rates from the
rural regions. Overlooking the fact that rural areas are the source of food,
energy and other resources for the urban areas as well. As a result the gap
between the rich urban community and the landless poor illiterate rural
community widens, again resulting in unequitable distribution of resources.
NEED FOR GENDER EQUITY
Women fetch water, collect fruits, fuelwood,
medicinal products etc. day in and day out, while the men work only
intermittently in the fields .
Unfortunately it is the men who play a decisive role in managing the village
commons and its resources whereas it should be the local women who should be
the decision makers at the local level. Moreover it has been observed that it
is the women who are more intimately attached to the environment and appreciate
its worth, and hence are instrumental in its conservation than men. E.g. The
Chipko Movement, women played a key role.
RESOURCES FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
current development trends and strategies have resulted in the overexploitation
and misuse of resources. Our thoughtless actions and insatiable greed
can render our environment and planet ailing. We must realize that
we cannot take our resources for granted, it is our duty to conserve and
preserve these resources for our future generations as well.
RIGHTS OF ANIMALS
of a single species of plant or animal results in
a dramatic imbalance in the ecosystem, as a number of other species dependent
on it are also affected?directly or indirectly. Humans derive countless economic
benefits from nature. The ethical argument for conserving the environment
relates to what we owe to millions of plant, animal and microbe species with
whom we share this planet. We need to realize that every species has an
THE ETHICAL BASIS OF ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
To encourage pro-environmental action and thought among our
young generation it becomes imperative that they are aware of their
environment, its current status, the various environmental issues and their
role in curbing this menace. Moreover apart from spreading awareness it is
essential to make them realize the value and importance of the piousness of
nature so that they appreciate the beauty which lies in its wilderness and
impalpable aesthetic delight which it offers. The Honorary Supreme Court of our
country has thus ordered that every young individual at school and college
level be exposed to a course on environment.
CONSERVATION OF ETHIC AND TRADITIONAL VALUE SYSTEMS OF INDIA
has always been very vibrant, philanthropic and resilient to a very large
extent. We, as Indians, take pride in our strong cultural heritage. Religion protects
and nurtures nature. In Hinduism, worship of sun, wind, land, trees, plants,
and water is prevalent, which is the very base of human survival. Likewise,
respect and conservation of wildlife—garuda, lion, peacock, and snake—are part
of our cultural ethos from time immemorial. Further, ancient texts written in
Sanskrit, Pali or other languages can provide significant details. For
instance, the scripture Vishnu Samhita in Sanskrit language contains some
direct instructions dealing with biodiversity conservation.