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Origins of Environmental Ethics

While it may be true that many feel human beings are superior to pigs and that it is unethical to raise humans as a food source, nature does not make such distinctions. In fact, those who feel superior to pigs and feel it is alright to raise and kill them for food often think there is no consequence due to such practices. However, nature sees all living things as parts of an interdependent whole. The effluents that stem from pig farming may one day be responsible for killing off the human race due to contaminated soil and water sources. It reminds me of a quote by Emerson that my father taught me, 'For every bounty nature bestows, she exacts a price.' Individuals who adopt a nature/culture dualistic ethical stance toward the environment might think otherwise.

Andrew Brennan and Yeuk-Sze Lo (2002) define environmental ethics as 'the discipline that studies the moral relationship of human beings to, and also the value and moral status of, the environment and its nonhuman contents,' (1). Within the ethical deliberations concerning the environment, individuals must often determine if it is morally permissible to destroy an indigenous species for the protection of human beings. Often such indigenous species are destroyed due to farming, development, or other human enterprises. Slashing and burning of the Rain Forest has destroyed many indigenous species and threatens others. From my holistic perspective, I feel such wanton destruction of the environment is morally unacceptable. Who knows if one of these species may provide answers to some dilemma that plagues human beings, like having a resistance to cancer or providing some kind of hormones or secretions that would help cure diseases like muscular dystrophy or others.

In my own life I have transgressed against my own environmental ethics like many American consumers. I used to drink coffee out of Styrofoam cups, buy products in environmentall


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Origins of Environmental Ethics. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:30, August 17, 2017, from
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