Environmental Ethics : Learning, Questioning and Correcting Old and New Paths

Essay by renrenUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2004

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One of the first lectures of this year described the complex idea of environmental ethics in a very simple way, by demonstrating how life was before environmental ethics it was clear to deduce that environmental ethics indeed does "involve the development of a new set of values in a world which is deeply anthropocentric. " Human practices have evolved, however, not in a very egalitarian manor over time. Values have relied heavily on human practice and institutions, only those isolated from dominant values have escaped being influenced or becoming completely eradicated by colonialization, imperialism and now neo-liberism. It is impossible for me to separate thought from historical accounts, or political and cultural perspectives. The way humans conceptualize and perceive the world; what and how we value indeed have evolved with time. Culture and religion have served as landmarks which pin point fundamental tactics used by humans for survival. Because culture and religion are intimately interconnected, it is impossible to follow human history without mentioning the effects of industrialization and the influence of technology as part of new strategies for human survival and wellbeing.

There is no doubt that dominant ideas and actd such as animal eating, have been influenced by the institutionalization of ideas and ways of perceiving the world; namely capitalism and the institutionalization of patriarchy. From Christianity, to Deep Ecology and towards Eco-feminism, we see evidence that the world is seeking alternative ways to deal with ethical practices that have proven inefficient, undemocratic, and violent.

Defining terms in order to understand the proper path

A new environmental ethic is necessary, yet we must proceed with caution so as to not repeat the same errors as past theories and ethical practices that have resulted in oppressing both nature and women. According some, environmental ethics is in fact in...