It is a recent sub-division of philosophy and it refers to providing justification and moral motivation for the cause of global environmental protection by dealing with ethical problems that are associated with environmental protection.
Many scholars (most especially, Marxist) believed that the rise of the Industrial Revolution caused environmental decadency which is fast becoming man’s biggest problem (1). In the current world, we are facing many indomitable Environmental Ethical Dilemmas. Most importantly:
- Global Warming
- Loss of Biodiversity
- Disposal of Wastes
In this session, we are going to discuss the Global Warming issue. It is one of the most important environmental ethical dilemmas and the whole world is responsible for global warming.
What is Global Warming?
Global warming refers to the slow increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere due to an increased amount of the energy (heat) striking the earth from the sun is being trapped in the atmosphere and not radiated out into space.
Environmental, Social, and Ethical Aspects of Global Warming
The explanation of environmental, social, and ethical aspects of Global Warming is given below:
1. The Environmental Aspects of Global Warming
Global warming is having a measurable effect on the earth. The surface of the planet is gradually heating, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels that pump carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Even, motor vehicles are emitting carbon monoxide when they burn diesel, petrol, etc. Thus, the atmospheric environment is polluting and it is directly associated with global warming.
Extreme weather is another effect of global warming. The climatic pattern of a specific location is changing due to global warming, for example, in Bangladesh, the length of the summer season is increased and rainfall patterns are also changed dramatically.
There is a profound effect of global warming on the earth’s ecosystems and that’s why different plants, animals are affected, for example, different species are moving themselves to the northward or the higher altitude due to higher temperatures.
2. The Social Aspects of Global Warming
It’s abundantly clear that global warming is already having an impact on human rights. And that this impact will only intensify in the coming years. Rising temperatures will also expand the range of different disease-causing pathogens that were once confined to tropical and subtropical areas, killing off the plant as well as animal species that formerly were protected from disease.
Besides, agricultural systems are also affecting, for example growing season in some places is expanding. Even, there is a combined effect of drought and severe weather. The groundwater table is also decreasing due to global warming. There is a loss of arable land that can cause severe crop failure and livestock shortage throughout the world.
The high demand for foods and low supply of it may, in turn, create havoc in international food markets and could spark famines, food riots, political instability, and civil unrest worldwide.
3. Ethical Aspects of Global Warming
Global warming is a problem that creates civilization challenging ethical issues. It is undeniably an ethical issue, and we must face it as such.
Environmental Ethics and Global Warming
Evaluation of the relevance of the different kinds of environmental ethics (Land Ethics, Deep Ecology and Ecofeminism) when it comes to Global Warming, an environmental ethical dilemma.
1. Land Ethics and Global Warming
Land ethic is an approach to issues of land use that emphasizes conservation of the land and respect for our natural environment. There are several threats to the land pyramid which are connecting land ethics and global warming which are given below:
a. Change in the composition of floras and fauna
b. Substitution of native species by domestic
c. Agricultural overdrafts on the soil
d. Changes to water bodies
All of the threats listed above can be happened due to global warming and thus the lands should be used conservatively according to Land Ethics.
2. Deep Ecology and Global Warming
Deep Ecology is an Environmental Philosophy. As we human beings are responsible for global warming, we require a drastic change in our national and international policies. Besides, we can redesign the transport system and other industrial sectors for what greenhouse gases are increasing day by day.
3. Ecofeminism and Global Warming
Ecofeminism, also called ecological feminism, is a movement and a branch of feminism that examines the connections between women and nature. Specifically, the philosophy emphasizes the ways both nature and women are treated by patriarchal (or male-centered) society.
There are several purposes of ecofeminism:
a. Avoid every kind of discrimination and domination
b. It emphasizes the importance of the interrelationship between humans, non-humans, and the Earth.
c. Earth and life forms are considered sacred and must be preserved.
d. We must live in a balance with nature to ensure the future.
e. Technological development should not be the main driver for the development of new technologies.
Female is contributing to reducing global warming by fulfilling the purpose listed above, for example, in Kenya, there is a movement named Greenbelt Movement by which women are doing the movement to save the earth by planting millions of trees in the arid deforested regions to bind the soil and store rainwater and thus they are making the earth greener and playing a crucial role to reduce the impact of global warming.
Human’s life span has been reduced compared to centuries ago, new forms of sickness and diseases are now evident in our societies. Different pollutions, especially, air pollution, one of the leading environmental problems has been said to have worsened human and other species conditions for years (2). So, we should apply environmental ethics in a wise way to save the earth.
- Gardiner, Stephen M. “A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics, and the Problem of Moral Corruption.” Environmental Values 15.3 (2006): 397–413. Web
- Brunekreef, Bert. “Air Pollution and Human Health: From Local to Global Issues.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Vol. 2. N.p., 2010. 6661–6669. Web.
Md. Nayem Hasan Munna
Soil and Environmental Sciences,
The University of Barishal,
Youtube: Md. Nayem Hasan Munna