OCR Philosophy & Ethics - Environmental Ethics


A2 Ethics

Environmental ethics

Key Scholars

-       Assisi

-       Aldo Leopold

-       Alan Marshall

-       Rachel Carson

-       Aarne Naess

James lovelock

Richard sylvan


Peter singer



-        Considers ethical relationships between people and the natural world

-        Should we cut down trees/manufacture petrol cars?

-        Obligations to future generations

Religious approaches


-        Anthropocentric approach – humans above all others

-        The world exists for our benefit, god does not care how we treat it

-        Tamed for human use – weeds in gardens

-        Aristotle and Aquinas – humans are morally important

-        No intrinsic value I the natural world

-        Bible is not always clear about dominion

o   ‘let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air'

o   ‘she (nature) has made all animals for the sake of man (Aristotle)

o   Story of creation is different to modern ideas of dominion

-        Singer – this approach is the root cause of all our problems


-        Care for and conserve creation – belongs to god, we are caretakers of his property

-        Humans are the peak of creation because we have the role of stewardship

-        Creation is made by god and is good – must be preserved because it has intrinsic value

-        Man was put into Eden to protect it – ‘to till it and keep it’

-        Humankind is responsible to god for looking after his creation

   Value of creation

-        God is seen to value the natural world – ‘god saw that it was good’

-        God is shown as having continued concern for creation – not even a sparrow falls without gods permission

-        If god values creation then the bible suggests it has intrinsic value.

-        We are made in gods image – special and apart from other beings

-        Assiss suggested god communicates with us through the natural world – sin to destroy them

-        Natural world is inherently good and a sign of gods goodness

-        All creatures have the ability and duty to worship god

   Effect of man’s sin

-        The fall is seen by some as the reason for our environment problems – became poor stewards

-        ‘the earth lies polluted under its inhabitants for they have transgressed laws

-        Christians teach that we should use our increasing knowledge to rectify this

-        The environment must be protected

-        Avoiding needless exploitation of the natural world will bring about peace, harmony and justice

-        Love of god and ones neighbour are fundamental in Christian ethics – applicable to the environment

   Rapture and end-time theology

-        No need to have concern for the earth as we have no future in it

-        Destruction of


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