ü Environmental ethics considers the ethical relationship between people and the natural world and the kind of decisions people have to make about the environment, in terms of conservation, resources, pollution i.e.
ü Environmental ethics tries to answer the questions of how humans should relate to their environment or whether we should allow the earth to work as its own system without human intervention.
Religious approach to Environmental Ethics
Dominion: Christians take an anthropocentric approach which places human interests above those of any other species. “Let them have dominion over all the wild animals of the earth” Genesis 1:26
Value of creation: “God called the dry ground ‘land’ and gathered waters he called ‘seas’ and God saw that it was good” Genesis 1:10
Stewardship: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it” Genesis 2:15. Care and conserve the environment as it is God’s gift to man. Creation is made my God and is good, and so we must preserve it as it has intrinsic value (value lies in itself).
Man’s Sin: The fall of man is sometimes seen as reason for the world’s environmental issues. Care for the environment will repair man’s broken relationship with God and bring about peace, harmony and justice.
ü God created the world and it is good
ü The world has intrinsic value
ü Humans are stewards of the world
ü Our bad treatment of the world harms our relationship with God, each other and the natural world
ü Using creation well and respecting it restores this relationship
ü Christians need to reaffirm the importance of environmental ethics
Rapture: ‘End of time’ second coming of Christ – uniting Christians “all over the earth, graves will explode as the occupants into the Heavens” Pastor John Hagee
Many fundamentalist Christians believe looking after the environment will not help get you to Heaven, those who truly believe and worship in God are taken to heaven, therefore conserving the environment is not an important issue. Some of these people believe that adding to the damage of the environment may speed up the process of the rapture.
Due to the finite life of the world, many fundamentalist Christians do not value the earth as it is finite whereas their lives in heaven are infinite.
An approach to environmental ethics that sees all life forms as of value and human life as just one part of the biosphere. Aldo Leopold: believed it was not right to see the natural world simply in terms of its economic worth to humans and therefore deep ecology rejects anthropomorphism. Leopold stated that we need to develop an ethics to deal with man’s relationship to land, animals and plants and to revert our priorities from people to land.
Aarne Naess: Stated that there were two ecology movements; the first concerned with pollution, depletion of natural resources and anthropocentrism. The…