The Possible Sale of the Sweetgrass Bed and Breakfast, Serenity Island: A Simulated Negotiation
The idea for this simulation is derived from the author’s study of actual events that have taken place in the Gullah/Geechee community of Hog Hammock on Sapelo Island, Georgia. The events portrayed in the simulation exercise, however, are fictional. Where circumstances from actual Sapelo Island events have been incorporated, they have been intentionally, necessarily, and significantly altered to preserve the fictive nature of the simulation, and to enhance its use in a classroom setting. The objective of this negotiation is to demonstrate to students the gains that can be achieved by use of principled, cooperative negotiation strategies versus negotiation strategies that focus on positions only. The idea is to allow students to practice
using principled negotiation techniques to search for, and ultimately agree on, solutions that best represent the substantive and legitimate interests of each party.
Allgood, Sara Elizabeth
Planning for a Sustainable Future: The 1991 INBio-Merck Deal
In 1991, over 100 billion dollars in worldwide sales were earned from drugs derived from fungi, plants and animals of tropical countries, yet these countries received little in the way of profits from these sales. In response to negative press and other factors, Merck & Co. Inc., whose 1991 profits were estimated to be more than seven billion dollars, attempted to capitalize on the natural resources of Costa Rica, while also giving something back to the country. In a 1991 deal hailed as a model for other nations around the world, Merck signed a two-year contract with Costa Ricas National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio) for one million dollars in exchange for screened samples from within the countrys protected areas. This deal has received praise as well as criticism from the international community. This deal raises ethical questions about placing an economic value on natural resources, as well as the claim by INBio that this new awareness of the value of biodiversity will provide incentives for biodiversity protection. The INBio-Merck deal, with careful consideration and planning, has the potential to be a valuable tool for sustainable development and conservation of resources.
Anderson, Amy E.
Reconsidering Development on Jekyll Island
Jekyll Island, one of Georgia’s barrier islands, was privately owned until 1947 when the State of Georgia purchased the lands. The State Legislature decided shortly thereafter that the island would become a self-supporting state park, maintaining 35 percent maximum development while 65 percent remained undeveloped. this percentage division will exist until the State lease to private landowners expires in 2049. Recently, the 35/65 decision has resurfaced in the Georgia Legislature along with the idea of extending the lease to allow new development and revenue for the island. With the exception of the historic district and educational facilities, Jekyll Island could be better utilized and appreciated if no development existed on the island.
Environmental Issues in Mexico under NAFTA
While the creation of the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) brought about the possibility of economic growth via trade liberalization, it also brought about the possibility of environmental degradation. I discuss how environmental degradation is being controlled under NAFTA, particularly in light of the possibility of NAFTA creating a pollution haven in Mexico where lower costs of production result from environmental regulations not being enforced. I use coffee production and water pollution as examples. Future trade agreements between the United States and other nations must include provisions that ensure a healthy environment along with a healthy economy.
Tragedy of the Counties: An Ethical Examination of the Diamond Bar Ranch
This paper will explore a philosophical debate over the proper method of allocating rights to rangeland in the western United States. I will argue for a reformed system of public rangeland premit grazing, as a opposed to a system of strict private property rights. I will discuss the "County Supremacy Movement," which exemplifies the public lands versus private lands debate, and I will examine the Diamond Bar Ranch in Catron County, New Mexico, as a particular case study. I chronicle the historic deterioration of western rangeland due to a "Tragedy of the Commons" effect and analyze this deterioration on an ethical level, applying claims by John Locke and Garrett Hardin. I explore the ethical propositions of Robert Goodin regarding property rights and apply them to the Diamond Bar Ranch case study. I conclude with suggestions for the most prudent method of managing western rangeland.
Barrineau, Kirsti Susanna
The Influence of the Finnish National Epic, the Kalevala, on Modern Day Finland's Environmental Ethic
Finland's national epic, the Kalevala, is a thousand-year-old epic that was passed down by singers. A product of its time, the epic exhibits the typical themes and elements of Northern folklore, including a pronounced spirituality associated with nature. Today most Finns read a version compiled by Elias Lonrot in the mid-nineteenth century, a version that aided in mobilizing Finnish nationalism. Standing out as a clear root of much of Finnish culture, this epic is arguably part of the reason for modern-day Finland's strong environmental ethic, whereby respect for the environment is the norm. I find that the Kalevala echoes the ancient spirit of the Finns and that spirit establishes the root of their environmental ethic.
Blankenship, Sara N.
Death in the Caves: the Failure to Save Endangered Gray Bats
There are currently 65 endangered species in the state of Georgia and the plight of these species is not improving. Although the United States enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to help ensure the survival of these species as well as hundreds of other endangered and threatened species in the United States, there is not very much actual improvement occurring. For this paper, I focus on the gray bat, an endangered species in Georgia. I use the gray bat as a metaphor for a number of endangered species on the list that do not receive the attention or protection that they deserve. I argue that the United States cannot just "legalize" a species' right to exist and expect the problem to disappear. There must be a change in our society's belief system about the survival of these endangered species.
Liberty and Justice for All? The Ethics of Environmental Justice
Not only is environmental discrimination a threat to human life and safety, but it is also a direct threat to the rights guaranteed to every U.S. citizen by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Our government is not only legally responsible for ensuring the health and safety of its citizens, but it has an ethical obligation as well when human lives are at stake. The pressure of environmental justice groups, in addition to the voices of the affected minority communities, has been a powerful tool in the fight against environmental injustice. Using weapons such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Protection Clause, and local protests, concerned citizens have made every attempt to advance the focus of the environmental justice movement. Executive Order 12898 looks extremely promising for the movement, as perhaps it will help prevent the problem of environmental injustice in the future.
Bono, Timothy J.
Environmentalism and the Confusion of Man: God in the Post-Modern World
In the discipline of environmental ethics, the understanding of God's role differs widely among various schools of thought. this paper examines the breadth of these worldviews by comparing the nature and locale of God in three differing and overarching conceptual frameworks: naturalism, or that of "God nowehere; pantheism, literally translated "God everywhere;" and that of Judeo-Christian Creationism or "God somewhere." this paper explores the implications of these views for the identity of humankind, arguing firstly that the naturalistic (and frequently pantheistic) philosophical integer characteristic of the Environmental Movement is corrosive of the existential significance of modern humankind, and secondly, contending that the theoretical account of a Creator as delineated in the Christian ethical worldview uniquely ascribes the highest degree of intrinsic value mutually to both mankind and the environment while also securing the greatest existential coherence. Lastly, the paper proposes the visionary model of sustainability espoused by eco-architect William McDonough as the most intelligent design template for future growth and the most natural application of the theoretical Christian Environmental Ethic of Creation.
Of Hope and Heed: A look at how Costa Rica has dealt with the mixed blessing of Ecotourism
In 1999 I took a trip to Costa Rica. At the time I had little clue of what ecotourism might mean or even where exactly I was heading. I fell in love with a country and landscape I only had ever imagined. What was supposed to be a three-week trip stretched on for two and a half years. In this time I learned a great deal about tropical ecology, Costa Rican culture, and how this country has had such a complex history in conservation and ecotourism. It astounded me the knowledge that could be found in the most humble of people throughout this country on the subjects and their apparent dedication to it. It was amazing to discover that a country with such a high population density and growing population would devote more of its land space to conservation than any other country in the world. Not only had I found a place I thought only existed in fantasy, but also some sort of preservationists utopia along with it. It was not until later, when I started to travel to the more developed and expensive luxury areas of Costa Rica, that the illusion shattered. It was at this point that I became concerned with the multi-dimensional aspects of tourism and how it could affect a community, culture, and country. This essay is the fruit of an obsession in learning how ecotourism can effectively boost a country's economic status while providing incentives for the preservation of biological treasure, and how to avoid the demons that trail on its coattails.
The Ethical Implications of Factory Farming
Renowned Nobel Prize winner and physicist Albert Einstein tells us "Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." How might we extend compassion, defined as "a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it"? Perhaps the first act of extending compassion to animals is not so much relieving animals of pain, but rather lessening their pain and making an effort to avoid causing pain.
The True Cost of Making Man’s Golden Dreams a Reality: An Evaluation of Corporate Responsibility in Global Gold Mining
When answering the phone, riding a bicycle, turning on the lamp, or getting a cavity filled, most people do not consider where the metal that is being used comes from. The majority of the metals must be mined from the Earth through processes that can have severe consequences for the environment. Gold mining is a particularly destructive type of mining. Currently gold is mined for a wide variety of purposes, but the major use of gold (over 80 percent), is for jewelry. Most gold is mined through a process called cyanide heap leaching which often leads to many social and environmental problems. Oddly enough, there is no definition of corporate responsibility related to mining. Therefore I propose a new, broad definition for corporate repsonsibility in the mining industry based on the ideas of several philophers and businesspersons. Using the criteria from this definition, I evaluate the corporate responsibility of four gold mining companies.
A month ago, I gazed over my shoulder as I stood on the edge of Lindy Point in my home of Tucker County, WV. The wind blew fiercely as it always did, but this time the view into Blackwater Canyon was somehow different. I realize now that it was not the view that was different — it was I. Now when I gaze in awe at Blackwater Canyon, it is not simply because of its aesthetic value; I gaze because I appreciate the ethical conflict that is occurring within the Canyon. Allegheny Wood Products has completed “selective timbering” on their 3,000 acres adjacent to Blackwater Falls State Park and have staked the land for condominium development. Not only does the acreage possess intrinsic value, but it is also home to three threatened and two endangered species. We have a collective responsibility to respect the habitat for our future generations; therefore, the 3,000 acres should be condemned and managed by the federal government.
Carroll, Elinore Rose
Hunting for Sustainability: An Evaluation of Culling and Sport Hunting's Role in the Environmental Movement
Hunting can take on many forms, making its role in sustainability more complicated than one might expect. Some people hunt for sport and others may participate in culling, or killing by professional marksmen to reduce population size (Dickson and Adams 112). Both culling and sport hunting achieve the same end, but are motivated by two very different principles. Some of Africa's National Parks cull as a last resort solution to managing environmentally damaging elephant populations. In other places, sport hunting is also sometimes justified as a means of promoting sustainability through economic growth and environmental protection. The first half of this paper will present research on culling in Kruger National Park and explain how its interest in protecting biodiversity above all make it a sustainable solution for Africa's current overpopulation problems. Next, I will compare Kruger's policies with Yellowstone National Parks bison management plan, finding a significant difference in the attitudes motivating each parks polices. Finally, I will evaluate the arguments both in favor of and opposed to sport hunting's ability to promote sustainability using data from psychological research. Evidence indicates that some types of hunting can have positive effects for the environment, but sport hunting ultimately fails at promoting long-term sustainability because it emphasizes consumption and anthropocentric values.
Carter, Lee Ellen
Assessing Environmental Attitudes of Residents of Cotacachi and Otavalo, Ecuador to Conserve Sacred Sites
In this study, data were collected involving ecoknowledge, ecotourism, environmental education, environmental ethics, environmental conservation, and the importance of sacred sites in the lives of indigenous citizens in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador. Even though different methods are currently being used in Cotacachi and Otavalo for sacred site conservation, a commonality of relationships that subsist among indigenous people and their natural environment was apparent. Through future studies, the reifying of landscape attributes should be indexed and formally protected with a Spiritual Park, Protected Landscape, and/or a designation within the UNESCO Program for Sacred Sites Conservation. In the end, these sacred sites must be protected not only for their environmental value, but also for the respect and significance of these sites held by many indigenous peoples in the Imbabura Province.
As the Twig Is Bent: Nurturing a Responsible Environmental Ethic
I argue that the best way to achieve a "responsible" environmental ethic in adults is to educate them when they are children. As a former Sandy Creek Nature Center counselor, I use Sandy Creek Nature Center as my
Assessing a Potential Relationship between Environmental Values, Perception, and Influences
In an effort to deduce a basis for one’s environmental ethic, I surveyed both residents and visitors to San Luis de Monteverde, Costa Rica. The survey required that each participant complete both a drawing of the “surrounding environment” of San Luis and a questionnaire. I evaluated each drawing to produce a participant’s perception and interpretation of the surrounding environment. The questionnaire addressed the participants’ personal histories pertaining to their exposure to various types of environments, their exposure to the media, and their stated values and perceptions of various types of environments (deduced from their own qualitative evaluation of a series of photographs of various environments).
Analyses showed no apparent correlation between participants’ personal experiences and their interpretations of their surrounding environment. Additionally, the correlations between participants’ personal experiences and their qualitative analysis of various environmental types were not consistent enough to make any definitively predictable connections between them. These tests reveal that although external influences did not strongly alter participants’ perceptions of the surrounding environment, on some level, they might affect the subjective qualification of various environments. The implication that exposure to various external influences might alter how participants assigned subjective values to various environments, though not predictably, is significant in understanding the method by which we formulate our individual environmental values and ethics. Through this understanding, we might hope to appropriately affect public opinion and response to the current environmental crisis.
Love and Deception: the Paradoxical Management of Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area
Can the right thing to do be nothing? This paper entails a scenario for a little known Natural Area where the best form of our love for this area is to use deception. Then again, is it really deception when what happens is natural? The setting where these terms are applied is at Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area off of Barnett Shoals Road in a subdivision of Athens Clark County in Georgia. It isn't the most impressive granite outcrop but with it being the habitat of a few ultra fragile rare plants, this has caught some attention. Using the ecofeministic views of sacrifice as a form of deceptive management, deception as a tool, and how our own "love" for nature is a double-edged sword. I explore how much Rock and Shoals is already employing a paradoxical management plan naturally due to its location, condition, and the fiscal situation it is in through my own first hand accounts of this unique natural area. I then discuss how that this management practice is practical for the natural area's plight for now; and my suggestions for a revised management plan.
Chinnan, Shelley Mahajan
Women, Development, and the Environment: Discussing Gender in Water Sanitation and Supply Issues
Women are often falsely accused of being the cause of environmental destruction, especially in the developing world. Because they are seen carrying wood and using the last of vegetation in an area for their families, they are blamed for the environmental devastation. However, “laying the blame on women is to ignore the globally linked causes of environmental destruction which have created and continue to create a situation of scarcity that often forces women into ecologically destructive actions” (Sontheimer i). Instead of blaming women for the environmental issues, it is important to note that they are often mere victims of economic circumstances beyond their control. The aim of this paper, then, is first to discuss how women are affected by environmental destruction in the developing world, namely with respect to WSS, and second to discuss some of the many ways in which women’s involvement in community projects can confront these challenges.
Images of the Environment in Advertising and their Ethical Implications
Advertising has become an intricate part of our everyday
lives and has had an undeniable, and even purposeful, effect on today’s social values and ideals. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the complex messages used in advertising as companies go to greater lengths to appeal to the target market. By considering the impact that advertising has on society, I have concluded that the American Association of Advertising Agencies should follow strict standards to protect the portrayal of the environment (as it has been used to protect minority groups and women in the past). My standards will forbid advertising that encourages human dominance over nature or uses false claims and vague references of environmental friendliness. The different types of environmental advertising can be organized into the following categories according to the messages they portray about the environment: 1) dominating nature, 2) Green advertising, 3) finding pleasure in nature, and 4) environmental conservation. I have deconstructed advertisements from each of these categories to prove that my standards are necessary to ensure that unethical ways of interacting with the environment are not being reinforced through advertising.
Collier, William Michael
Compassionate Engineering as an Ecocentric Approach to Reduce Human Poverty
The synergistic relationship between poverty and environmental degradation is a multifaceted worldwide phenomenon (Dasgupta 1995; Mabogunje 2002). In such a context, integrated social and environmental management strategies and solutions are exceptionally complex issues that are widely debated throughout the social, political, economic, environmental, and ethical realms (Mellor 1988). Poverty, as designated by the United Nations Development Programme, is divided into two categories: income poverty and human poverty. Measurements of income poverty are based on indices of individual income levels, national poverty margins, and the ability of economies to meet basic minimum needs, while measurements of human poverty are based on indices of individual vulnerability to death grounded in population death rates, individual exclusion of basic education measured by national illiteracy rates, individual standard of living based on the availability of healthcare and water services, and rates of malnourishment in children (UNDP 1997). Along with modern definitions of poverty, there are broader, more generalized designations of human deprivation, which includes economic, social, cultural, political, and environmental issues. Theses divisions are interrelated and continually reinforce one another to create a matrix in which poverty adversely affects the environment, and vice versa (Mabogunje 2002). Historical understandings of poverty were anything but dynamic in theory, and were dominated by the idea that economic development would eventually eradicate environmental as well as social problems in developing nations (Adams et al. 2004). However, this hierarchically top-down approach was heavily debated and ultimately undermined because of numerous environmental and social failures (Adams 2001). An investigation of the ideologies driving the controversy was conducted by Adams et al. (2004), who distinguished correlations between environmental degradation and poverty in four ways:
(1) Poverty and environmental degradation are separate. Solutions to these issues should be pursued independently; however, conservation and environmental planning efforts may indirectly benefit poverty, although that is not the overlying intention.
(2) Poverty is a limiting factor in the success of conservation and environmental planning efforts. Poverty must be reduced before any conservation or environmental planning strategy will be effective.
(3) Environmental planning strategies should be conscious of issues of deprivation as a moral and political obligation to humanity. Conservation efforts can succeed without decreases in deprivation.
(4) Environmental planning and conservation are both limiting factors in eradicating human deprivation. Therefore, proper environmental planning is a tool to successfully reduce poverty.
My analysis will describe the ethical ideologies related to environmental degradation and human deprivation, drawing from a case study on the African continent. I argue that an ecocentric view of environmental degradation and human deprivation nested within the dynamic social, political, economic, cultural, and environmental matrix is integral to a further understanding of the synergistic relationship between the environment and the social dilemmas facing developing nations.
Women, Islam, and Environmental Ethics: A Case Study in the Rif Mountains of Morocco
Islamic scripture provides a good basis for a strong environmental ethic involving stewardship, protection of land and resources for all creatures, and working for the common good. Yet my experience in Zerka, a small village in the Rif Mountains of northwestern Morocco revealed an astonishing disregard for nature. Some of the reasons for this discrepancy are imbedded in the difficult way of life the villagers face. Poverty, lack of education, overpopulation, and oppression of women are all obstacles to following an Islamic environmental ideal. In my opinion educating the people could bring about a number of these needed changes.
Indigenous Peoples: Complex Problems, Complex Solutions
In his essay Indigenous Peoples: The Miners Canary for the Twentieth Century, Jason W. Clay describes some of the many injustices that have been committed against indigenous groups by outsiders, including the denial of their rights to land and natural resources. One example given is that of gold mining in the territory of the Yanomami Indians of northern Brazil, which has had many negative social and environmental impacts, including the introduction of mercury into local rivers. For many years, indigenous peoples have faced difficulties in dealing with state governments that have refused to recognize them as citizens and recognize their rights to land and other natural resources. Clay believes that to remedy this situation, indigenous peoples need to work with outside groups to overcome their problems while maintaining their unique cultural identities. However, his proposed solutions may be too simple for the complex problems indigenous peoples face. In his examples of positive change, he fails to mention negative elements involved in these situations, including violence and possible coercion. Understanding the complexity involved in indigenous issues and responding accordingly is the only way the problems of indigenous peoples will ever be solved.
Meat in Moderation: Understanding the Ethics behind Animal Consumption
It is difficult to choose whether consuming non-human animals is morally right or wrong. There are many views on the subject, many approaches to discussing it, and pure confusion on the part of those who either do not have access to the information or are not presented the information in an understandable way. This essay will argue that non-human animal consumption in moderation is the best approach for those who have a difficult time choosing. The ethical theory of utilitarianism and references to a range of works that are both philosophically and scientifically based will be used to support my argument. By presenting these varying approaches in a clear way, this essay should show why this is such a complex choice in the first place and what the choice of moderation can do for the benefits of non-human animals, the environment, and therefore, for humans as well.
The University of Georgia's Environmental Difficulties
Two of the University of Georgia's largest environmental crises include the installation of a toxic landfill near the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the burial of barrels of DDT on the Plant Sciences Farm. Although these incidents have probably been the most profound and have had the most impact, they are only a few of many problems the University has had to face. The University needs to make decisions regarding the cleanup and prevention of environmental problems with the safety of students, staff, and the surrounding community in mind as well as considering the economics involved.
Evaluating Urban Growth Boundaries: Are they a feasible land use tool?
In its current form, urban sprawl negatively affects communities financially, socially, and environmentally. One way communities have responded to this problem is smart growth. Within smart growth, communities have developed a specific tool: Urban Growth Boundaries (UGB). UGBs are boundaries between urban and rural areas. UGBs have been noted for their effectiveness in increasing the density of development inside the boundary while reducing the loss of forests and farmland outside the boundary. UGBs can significantly benefit a community. However, this tool has many critics. For example, there is a UGB around the Portland, Oregon metropolitan region. On the one hand, some believe that Portland’s UGB is an important tool in curtailing its urban sprawl. On the other hand, some property owners argue that Portland’s UGB represents a taking (in violation of the Fifth Amendment) because property rights are vested in the property owner, and the government is regulating the property owners’ use of their land. Because of these kind of objections, it is unlikely that a UGB will ever be implemented around the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan region. Furthermore, the framework for land use policies in Georgia, although progressing towards regional control of land use, are still dominated by local control over land use decisions.
Comparative Analysis of Soil Organic Matter Fractionation in Ultisol Soils, Calhoun Critical Zone (2016)
Soil organic matter is one of the largest reservoirs of carbon on earth, containing more carbon than the atmosphere itself. Fractionation and accelerator mass spectrometry are used to study the turnover of soil organic matter carbon from its initial state in the biosphere to its decay in the atmosphere. In this study, we separated microaggregates from Ultisol soils collected in the Calhoun Critical Zone of South Carolina. These microaggregates were separated into heavy and light fractions through physical fractionation methods. The heavy fraction is depleted of organics, while the light fraction is enriched with organics. We then took these samples for AMS radiocarbon dating in order to analyze the turnover rate of each fraction. With this analysis, we are able to interpret the turnover rate of carbon for each fraction. Our results allows us to conclude that the heavier organically depleted fraction has a slower turnover rate and is therefore better preserved in the environment and more resistant to erosion and climate change.
Intergenerational Obligation and Sustainability: What Should We Save for Future People?
In assuming that current generations have certain ethical obligations to future generations (especially with regard to the natural environment), the question arises: what exactly should we sustain for future generations? Over the years, the meaning of sustainability has changed as different groups have tailored the concept to fit their own political agendas. Although there is little disagreement that sustainability, in the broad sense, is a good thing, there is an ongoing debate as to whether we should pursue weak sustainability policiesconcerning ourselves only with transferring an appropriate amount of economic capital to future generationsor strong sustainability policiesan approach requiring us to sustain economic capital in addition to certain noneconomic goods.
In this essay, I critique weak sustainability in two distinct ways. First, I challenge the major assumptions of many weak sustainability theoriesnamely, that 1) we cannot know what future generations will need or want and 2) that all resources, economic and natural, are substitutable. A series of detailed, hypothetical examples demonstrate the intuitive problems related to these two assumptions. Second, by drawing on Bryan Norton's explication of communal values, I contrast weak sustainability's focus on the maintenance of individual welfare with an alternate focus (found in strong sustainability theories) on the maintenance of specific stuffthat is, stuff conveying certain social and communal values. This contrast not only highlights additional problems with using individual welfare models in measuring sustainability, but also underscores one of the principal objectives of natural resource protection and strong sustainability in general: to shape the values and preferences of future generations.
Fatkin, K. Suzie
Ethical Considerations for the Effects of Ecotourism on Monkey Species in Costa Rica
In this paper, I focus on the effects of ecotourism for monkeys in Costa Rica and the ethical possibilities that several stakeholders have in this situation. Because ecotourism is often a praised institution, I focus on its detrimental effects and possible solutions to various problems. I argue that my environmental ethic, based in biocentrism and ecocentrism, could offer a foundation for thinking about these problems from a non-human perspective. Specifically, ecotourists need to become more ecologically aware of monkeys and monkey behavior, and foster the conservation of monkeys by eradicating selfish anthropocentric attitudes that reduce monkey habitat and increase monkey stress.
Puritanism, Transcendentalism and the Scarlet Letter: American Romantics
The writers of the American Romanticera displayed a number of values about nature. While some writers, such asNathanial Hawthorne, inherited their Puritan values, others such as Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau began to value nature as a sanctuary, a new temple of worship that suited them better than the confines of organized religion and culture. For centuries since the founding of America, the concept of nature was that of a frightening place, an untameable wilderness, and it was man’s duty to conquer it. Nature was a hostile environment, a physical representation of the evils of the world, and it must receive mankind’s touch to “tame it.” However, these new thinkers, the Transcendentalists, showed to the world that nature was a place of beauty and peace, a place where wilderness must be preserved for the benefits of mankind and of the greater system. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter demonstrates these thoughts in the Puritan Reverend Dimmsdale and the non-Christian Pearl, his illegitimate daughter. Through these characters, the contrasting views prove that mankind’s battle is not just with nature, but also with himself and his role in nature.
Fritts, Elizabeth Grace
Environmental Considerations of Mountaintop Removal in Eastern Kentucky
I discuss the practice of mountaintop removal, a coal-mining technique that has become controversial in the past decade because of its environmental destruction. I examine the circumstances surrounding the practice specifically in eastern Kentucky and parts of western West Virginia. I examine three groups of stakeholders: coal companies, federal agencies, and local residents. Coal companies argue that they are not only secure jobs for a declining Kentucky economy but that they also reclaim each mountaintop removal site, making the land more profitable than before extraction. In contrast to the clear position of the coal companies, the positions of the federal government and local residents are split, with some portions of the government and some local residents supporting mountaintop removal while others do not. I argue from an ecocentrist perspective of intrinsic value that mountaintop removal should be stopped.
The Environmental Ethics of Coffee Production
I highlight the differences between conventionally grown and alternatively grown coffee, and I argue from an ecocentric viewpoint that only alternatively grown coffee is sufficiently sustainable to warrant continued production. I use as my example coffee produced by Maquipucunu Foundation (affiliated with UGA) in Ecuador.
The Baha'i Teachings on the Environment
One option when searching for a coherent and workable environmental ethic is to turn to religion, the source of human ethics. I propose that we examine the teachings of Baháulláh for guidance on the very modern issue of sustainability. Although the Baháís believe that humans have a higher station in this world than plants and animals, we do not believe that this allows humans to run free with total disregard for the rest of creation. The teachings of Baháí call for humans to balance their spiritual and material natures, and exercise moderation in all things. People should strive to fulfill their needs, but not necessarily all of their wants, which are unlimited. Baháí teachings also emphasize that we should consider what is in the best interest of humanity and not just our own interests. While Baháí teachings dont directly address particular environmental issues, they can provide a strong basis for changing human behavior toward the environment. As Shoghi Effendi writes, We need a change of heart, a reframing of all our conceptions and a new orientation of our activities. The inward life of man as well as his outward environment have to be reshaped if human salvation is to be secured."
Georgia Lights Lead to Less Starry Nights: Light Pollution in Athens-Clarke County
This report focuses on light pollution in Athens-Clarke County (ACC). Athens-Clarke County is a heavily urbanized area that contains the cities of Athens and Winterville. In terms of intrinsic value, excessive artificial night lighting adversely affects our community through a loss of starry nights, a loss of beauty that I find unacceptable. There are ways to reduce our county’s light pollution and I propose a lighting plan for ACC. If this plan is followed, then ACC residents will be able to see 2,000 to 3,000 more stars at night instead of the current 800 stars. Such an improvement would enhance the sky’s beauty.
Harris, Jacob Laurence
Sustainability as an Aspect of an Environmental Ethic for the University of Georgia -- 2011
Codes of environmental ethics are guided and established by societies, organizations, and nations around the world. The University of Georgia has outlined a plan for its environmental relations through Strategic Direction VII of the UGA 2020 Strategic Plan, entitled Improving Stewardship of Natural Resources and Advancing Campus Sustainability. This document provides a framework for the University to improve conservation efforts and reduce its environmental impact, principally through illustrative benchmarks. The title uses the terms stewardship and sustainability, but the concepts of stewardship and sustainability, while related, are very different in their core foundations. In general, sustainability encompasses an ethic for the environment not based on tangible outcomes, but on a holistic and universal achievement of ecological, social, and economic viability and harmony.
While the Strategic Direction VII provides a future plan for the University, it does not establish the philosophical foundation by which the University contemplates its operations on an environmental level and focuses too much on quantitative benchmarks rather than on a holistic approach and evaluation. Using examples of various codes of environmental ethics around the country and globe as well as my own personal view of environmental ethics, I will demonstrate how sustainability should be used as a core aspect of the environmental ethic taken by the University. I will also show how Strategic Direction VII could be modified to incorporate a more holistic approach to sustainability.
the Ethics of Bananas and Eco-Labeling: Chiquita and the Better Banana
This is a case study analyzing the ethical implications and sustainability of Chiquita's banana production and subsequent eco-certification in Costa Rica. I focus on Chiquita Brands International instead of the other larger banana companies because Chiquita is the leader in the banana industry and provides the best example for future sustainability of banana production through its involvement with the Better Banana Certification Project of the Rainforest Alliance. I argue that sustainability should be a societal value. If we must use our natural resources to make a profit, we should do everything in our power to see that production is carried out in a sustainable manner.
Hein, Anna Kate
National Security and Endangered species: Navy Sonar and Protection of Whales
I consider the effects of U.S. Navy undersea sonar technology on whales.
Hemmings, Sarah N. J.
Industrial Culture and Industrial Nature as Examples of Urban Environmental Ethics in Germany's Emscher Park
In April 2004 I traveled to Germany to study industrial landscape parks in the Ruhr Valley, which was once Germany's industrial powerhouse for coal and steel production. With the depletion of these resources, the industries have since gradually migrated northward, leaving behind a path of abandoned industrial brownfields and economically depressed towns. I investigated an intriguing example of land reclamation and landscape architecture in the Ruhr Valley of Germany, the Emscher Landscape Park. The park project, which covers about 200 square miles over 17 cities, has rehabilitated degraded lands and waterways with a unique and pragmatic approach. Over 100 individual projects within the park have not only sought to renew the land ecologically, culturally, and economically, but also have strategically preserved the signs of industrial activity as historical and cultural monuments. Factory buildings have been recycled for housing, business, the arts, and community activities. Functional and aesthetic elements of the area's industrial past have been reused or preserved as a testament to human ingenuity and power.
For my project, I conducted interviews with park users at four parks within the Emscher project. This work summarizes data I collected and examines the many different layers of meaning in the parks. I describe several new theses articulated for an emerging urban environmental ethic, and then I discuss the two themes of Emscher Park's public relations campaign -- Industrial Culture and Heritage and Industrial Nature -- within the context of urban restoration ethics.
The Organic Philosophy: Will Regulatory Action Resolve the Uncertainty?
In recent years there has been a tremendous surge in
the sales of organic foods. Indeed, the organic foods industry is a booming business in the United States, and sales are estimated to reach $6.5 billion by the year 2000. As such alternative farming practices are viewed as more ecologically minded, the increasing attraction of organic agriculture reflects the broader trend of preserving the environment currently found in the United States and throughout the world. However, it appears that regulatory action addressing organic production methods is essential. Presently, no consensus is found among organic certifiers, and there exists a wide array of opinions on the issue of defining organic. Furthermore, 11 states and 33 private organizations regulate the organic industry. The variety of seals and labels used by the various certifiers also contributes to consumer confusion. As the definition of certified "organic" is so vague, a set of national standards for all organic producers must be established in order to preserve the integrity of organic practices and foods. The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) was enacted by Congress as part of the 1990 Farm Bill. The OFPA established the National Organic Program (NOP) within the USDA to define, oversee, and enforce organic standards. On December 16, 1997, the USDA issued their proposal of the NOP and called for public review. In response, there was intense opposition to several aspects of the USDA's definition of organic and the proposed standards. On May 8, 1998, the USDA announced the Proposed Rule would be revised. A practical compromise is necessary so that both the USDA and organic supporters will be content with what the term "organic" signifies. Politics plays a role in this debate; the public's perceptions on various issues, including the definition of organic farming, affect what goes on in the legislatures. One must also ask if choosing organic farming practices over conventional methods is more ethical. There seems to be little question that organic farming methods are superior to conventional agriculture as one considers the health of the planet. Indeed, the benefits of transforming farms from conventional technology to organic methods exceed the costs. Therefore, the USDA should do what the majority of consumers and farmers desire. Implementation of a single national organic standard is the only safeguard for
Overfishing in the Southern California Bight Region
The conditions for marine wildlife off the California coast have worsened to an unacceptable level. Everywhere the competition among commercial, recreational, and sporting fishing and small family fisherman is fierce. Each player wants to catch the biggest and most fish before the next one. This hoarding of resources in this Tragedy of the Commons has greatly reduced fishing stocks and pushed some species to the brink of extinction. Many agencies are attempting radical policies to increase the chances for some endangered species. However, the fishermen are opposed because to them it would mean less or no monetary gain. If we could all accept a similar value on the marine ecosystem or a similar ethic, maybe our grandchildren will live to see the animals in our bedtime stories instead of imagining them.
James Howard Kunstler and Environmental Ethics
The Border Problem: NAFTA and the Economic, Social, and Environmental Implications Thereof
There remains little question that the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
has expanded the economic systems within North America, especially between the United States and Mexico. The goals of NAFTA include the creation and expansion of markets and employment opportunities in North America and the desire to serve as a catalyst for international cooperation. However, economically, the so-called cooperation between the United States and Mexico should be questioned. While NAFTA may temporarily appear to boost the Mexican economy, the kind of social and economic development Mexico has been developing is not necessarily sustainable in the long term, partly because of its dependence on other foreign economies. Similarly, the path to unfettered economic development includes some negative side effects. Mexico, in particular, has experienced severe environmental degradation as well as serious social impacts on the human condition. Essentially, has NAFTA had an overall positive or negative effect on Mexico? In an effort to move toward an answer to this broad question, this paper examines the benefits and costs of the implementation of NAFTA and attempts to show the linkage between the onset of NAFTA and its economic, social, and environmental consequences.
Environmental Ethics of Traditional and Sport Rock Climbers 2011
Traditional climbing is a style of rock climbing where a climber places gear or “protection” in the rock wall and removes the gear after completing the route. Alternatively, sport climbing involves placing permanent, “fixed-protection” onto climbing routes. A previous study on rock climbers suggested that climbers who feel negatively about fixed gear (i.e., traditional climbers) had a different, more “metaphysical holistic environmental ethic” than sport climbers. I constructed a 10-sentence questionnaire and surveyed 20 climbers (8 traditional, 9 sport, and 3 other) to determine their environmental ethics foundations. In contrast to the aforementioned previous study, I found no major differences in the foundations of environmental ethics between traditional and sport climbers. As a whole, all rock climbers, both traditional and sport, were predominately ecocentrist, differing only in minor spiritual aspects from a “metaphysical holistic environmental ethic”.
Collection of Poems: To the River, Mind of a Child, Teardrops, Dear Children of the Future, Loss
These poems were submitted in satisfaction of the certificate requirement.
The Surface of a Mystery: Tracing the Modern Nature Writer’s Communication with Environment
The emergence of a distinct genre of literature, Nature writing, reflects a larger social, political and ethical awareness of the non-human world. Three modern writers, Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez and Terry Tempest Williams, question the role of humans in environment in order to come to terms with their own unique relationships with a landscape. Each writer discovers a particular method through which they communicate with environment, and from which they glean a code for interaction, or an ethic. This code becomes the primary tool through which each writer grapples with the landscape’s history and changes, and with the place of humans in the changing landscape. The notion that a place creates and maintains an identity apart from the identity humans assign it pushes the writers toward an investigation into what, exactly, the land means to itself, and to the “others” who inhabit it — how landscape defines itself, how it escapes the conventional definitions we confer. Although the methods of communication differ from writer to writer — whether the methods are seeing, as in Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, or conversing, as in Lopez’s Arctic Dreams, or simply being, as in Williams’ Refuge — the conclusions they infer parallel. As the writers bring their conversations to the forum of environmental ethics, they create a new and deeply personal way of speaking to and about the world around us.
Jordan, Mary Charles
Ethical Considerations for the Ogeechee River Greenway
The city of Jewel, Georgia, is considering the construction of a Greenway along the Ogeechee River. The Greenway is approximately 7 miles long, and will be a recreational trail with pedestrian, bicycle, equestrian, and aquatic access. It crosses the property of 13 landowners. To date, the citizens of Hancock and Warren Counties, who share land on the proposed Ogeechee River Greenway corridor, have attended a community meeting in which the author presented concepts and ideas behind the Greenway. No construction has occurred. In this paper, I discuss the Greenway concept and ideas, including inventory and analysis studies, master plan development and supplemental drawings. I conclude my paper with ethical considerations. Outside of not constructing the greenway at all, I conclude that the best option is to construct a Greenway following the Ogeechee River proposed corridor with modifications. The modified trail would not cross the land of unwilling property owners, but instead would cross the Ogeechee from the Warren County side to the Hancock County side over bridges onto property of willing owners. This solution maintains a linear, unbroken Greenway along the Ogeechee and satisfies landowners of both counties. In this manner, I balance of the utilitarian good for all the involved communities with our Kantian obligations and responsibilities to property rights.
Right to Pollute, Right to Health: A Look at the Ethics of Air Pollution
My paper considers the sources of air pollution affecting Atlanta and explores
the ethical implications of these sources. I determine that it is unethical that the
people who produce most of the pollution are not the ones that bear the costs.
Further, I consider the ways in which the political and physical infrastructure of
the city perpetuates these discrepancies rather than alleviating them. Addressing
these discrepancies will require efforts on both an individual and systemic level,
including grassroots environmental justice and citizen groups, non-profit
organizations, the private sector, government agencies, and the efforts of
individuals acting as citizens and consumers.
Duty to Distant Generations and the importance of the Preservation of Nature
In the paper I address the question of duty to posterity and its relevance to preservation of nature. In particular I focus on whether or not we (the currently existing generations) have any obligation to those generations in the distant future. I argue that existing generations are obligated to take into account the impact of our actions and policies on all generations in the near and distant future and make decisions concerning our actions accordingly. I claim that the present generations are obligated to provide for the “needs” of future generations since we have no way of knowing their wants and desires (a definition of “need” is given later which distinguishes it from “want” or “desire”). I claim that from an egocentric point of view, humans have a need for the natural environment and therefore we have an obligation to the future to preserve the natural environment in which we live and on which we depend.
Environmentally Responsible Event Planning
I am an event planner. Of 614 event planning agencies in Georgia, only four use the term "ecofriendly." I consider ways to make the industry not just "ecofriendly" but "environmentally responsible."
A Hindu Perspective on Ecology
Todays world faces the threat of populations exceeding the earths carrying capacity and the consequences of population pressure on the degradation of the environment. Lives are at stake because of humanitys dependence upon the fragile ecosystems that are being destroyed, most often in the name of capitalism. The country of India is not immune to these problems and has been searching for solutions and new government policies to address their environmental crisis. Globalization has imposed new models of government and changes in lifestyle that have led to a loss of traditional practices and values. With priority given to capitalism and economic interest of the country, environmental degradation has ensued, and one of the main environmental concerns has been deforestation. Industrial companies have moved into heavily forested areas, taken away the peoples customary rights to the land, and denuded the areas for commercial gain without compensating the locals. Globalization has also led to lifestyle changes that have threatened many traditional practices deeply embedded in Hindu religion. This paper looks into the interplay between the loss of religious beliefs and the loss of environmental values all in the context of a country experiencing the negative effects of globalization. More specifically, a closer look is given to deforestation and traditional Hindu practices that managed for centuries without causing such environmental degradation. In the end, the paper explores the areas of reform that are needed to ameliorate Indias environmental crisis and the role of religion in environmental ethics.
Removal of Invasive Species from Navarino Island, Tierra del Fuego, Chile
Invasive species, as defined by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), are organisms (usually transported by humans) which successfully establish themselves in, and then overcome, otherwise intact, pre-existing native ecosystems (www.issg.org). Invasive species are not the same as “introduced” species, as introduced species are organisms, which find a niche and establish themselves into a new environment. Some introduced species do not negatively affect their new environment or the organisms that are native to it. Conversely, a serious conundrum exists about invasive species: biological invasions are natural and necessary for the persistence of life on Earth, but some of the worst threats to biodiversity are from biological invasions (Botkin 2001). However, species that enter a new environment that have no similar species become invasive species. Because native species have evolved without the presence of invasives, native species are sometimes extirpated because they are pushed out of their niche, depredated, or overrun by the introduced invasive species. Invasive species are recognized as one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity (Mack et al. 2000. Since islands are particularly vulnerable to the effects of introduced species I will discuss the recent introduction of species to Navarino Island, Chile. Similar to other islands mentioned, Navarino Island has many endemic species, including numerous bird species. Navarino Island is in the transition period of adjusting to relatively newly introduced species, thus making it a perfect candidate to study and learn the outcome of attempting to remove these species or to observe how the introduced species affect native ones.
Environmental Volunteerism in the United States
Despite the internationally-held stereotype that most Americans have little concern for the natural world, environmental volunteerism in America is present and pervasive. Since before the twentieth century, environmental volunteerism has been the unacknowledged backbone of the American environmental movement. This paper reviews environmental volunteerism in America and how differences in ideology influence volunteer-based environmental groups within the United States. It also compares and contrasts the Sierra Club and Earth First!, two volunteer-based environmental groups that have similar ideologies but take dramatically different actions. Finally, it discusses what drives the participants of these two organizations to adopt the approaches they take.
Ethical Implications of Releasing Non-Native Insects to Control Non-Native Invasive Plants
I consider the conflict between the removal of the invasive plant, salt cedar (tamarisk), from the southwestern United States using a biocontrol agent, the Chinese leaf beetle, and the effect of this removal on an endangered bird, the southwestern willow flycatcher, which uses salt cedar for nesting.
Mitchell, Debra Bailey
Human Nature and Sustainability
Humans have evolved physiologically, mentally, and
culturally with our environment. Included in the many human characteristics determined by adaptation to the environment is that of aesthetic preference. One of the ways this aesthetic preference is manifested is by human manipulation of nature, such as the landscaping of property or the cultivation of preferred fruits and vegetables. Humans in the past lived sustainably with the earth; today most humans live unsustainably on the earth. We have refined the list of needs for human survival and have created technologies to satisfy our wants and individual aesthetic preferences. The manufacture of these needs is destroying the earth, depleting nature of its original essences, species diversity, and integrity. Psychological studies have shown that nature experiences are of greater benefit to humans than non-natural experiences. Younger people now have a fear of nature due to their lack of experience with it. Our psychological advances have allowed us to distance ourselves from the natural environment in which we developed, and this has, ironically, been detrimental to us psychologically. We must use our mental abilities to realize the interconnectedness of all living and non-living parts of the earth, educate others, and change our wants from those of instant material gratification of the self to those benefiting the whole. One way to start is to preserve and reintroduce sustainable practices. Another is to examine our view of the earth in comparison with the view of those humans who have lived sustainably. These steps will maintain sociocultural and ecological diversity, fortify the integrated structure of the earth, and allow the spirit of nature to once again be present in human life.
Assessing the Environmental Literacy Requirement at the University of Georgia
The Environmental Literacy Requirement (ELR) at the University of Georgia has changed considerably from the original requirements promulgated in 1991. To assess student and faculty satisfaction with the current ELR requirements, I randomly surveyed 408 students and 103 faculty and asked them to evaluate the ELR. Among the students, the vast majority (88.9%) was somewhat satisfied or extremely satisfied with the ELR regardless of their discipline or class standing. However, there were certain exceptions. For example, nearly half of the students who took Chemistry 1110 were dissatisfied with their teachers performance in fulfilling the criteria. A high percentage of both chemisty students (43.2%) and faculty (42.7%) were unaware of the ELR. In contrast to students, a majority of faculty was dissatisfied with the ELR. Nevertheless, both students and faculty thought that the idea of the ELR was important. The results suggest that the ELR program should continue but it could be improved by increasing students and facultys awareness of the requirement.
From Economic Incentives to Environmental Duty, A Historical Analysis of Recycling
This paper will explore the history of recycling to examine where this alternative originated and how far it can (or should) take us as a waste disposal alternative. It will consider the influence of recycling practices of the past on today's recycling industry, and it will discuss the benefits and costs of recycling (to the environment and to society) in today's market.
The Value of Ethnobotanical Gardens in Teaching Environmental Ethics
An ethnobotanical garden on school grounds provides contyext for teaching about the many people-plant-environment relationships throughout history. The gardens provide an ideal framework for classroom engagement because of the interdisciplinary nature and because students can identify a personal relationship with plants – food, medicine, fiber, housing and other. However, in Georgia, fewer than five demonstration gardens presently exist. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) restrict teachers’ ability to deliver instruction in outdoor classrooms. I propose an interdisciplinary curriculum based on multicultural picture books satisfying NCLB and GPS that will support building in elementary-aged children both self-efficacy and environmental decision-making. Ethnobotanical gardens supported with this curriculum promote environmental literacy that will provide opportunities for students to acquire an environmental ethic.
Phillips, Lee Anne
The Ethics of Extraction: Oil in Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge
I analyze arguments to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR) in Alaska for oil extraction. I argue that although economic benefits may exist, there are non-economic factors whose value exceed any economic benefit. The purpose of this paper is not to attempt to further the idea that this is a struggle of good environmentalists versus evil oil corporations; it is to provide a reasonable argument for the preservation of ANWR. I argue that preservation of this wilderness is tantamount to the future protection of America's wild places; its preservation for the coming generations will show that, more than short-term economic gain, our government is willing to work for dependence on long-term sustainable resources.
Pilzer, Sarah Tovah
The Impacts of the CLean Air Act on the U.S. Coal Industry: An Examination of Overlooked Externalities
Overall the Clean Air Act amendments have been successful at achieving the intended goal: emission reduction in the United States. The primary factor for this analysis, then, will be the indirect impacts of this policy on the coal industry. Elucidating these unintended effects will provide a more complete assessment of the effectiveness of the Clean Air Act. About 60 percent of total sulfur dioxide emissions in the nation are directly attributable to coal-fired power plants. As a result, any legislation that serves to reduce overall levels of sulfur dioxide will have a major impact on the coal industry. Some of the changes that will be addressed include the impacts on coal production, transportation, and clean-up. These factors must be quantified and qualified when determining the overall success of the Clean Air Act.
Pitt, Chandra M.
National Forests: Management and Property Rights
The United States’ National Forests are in dire straits. They are being depleted of their timber at an unsustainable rate; their ecosystems are being altered. The purpose of this paper is to examine the current management practices of the United States Forest Service and identify the sources of the destruction of America’s national treasures. It is established that the National Forest Service has management problems. One of the key claims for logging in the National Forests is that the National Forest Service makes a profit from these sales. However, it is firmly established in this paper that this claim is false. In fact, the National Forest Service loses money through logging. There are various reasons for this loss; they include the cost of road building, below-cost timber sales, and losses in fisheries due to runoff from clear cuts. Even if the Forest Service made a profit from the logging of federal lands, it is argued that this practice should be discontinued for practical and ethical reasons. A value system that allows for the continued destruction of public lands is problematic. The ecological damage caused by clear-cuts and other deleterious management practices is not justified by a non-anthropocentric value system, as advocated in this paper. The property rights afforded to the National Forest Service are examined in this paper as well. This examination is necessitated by the desire to show that a policy of stewardship is not only ethical, it is the most advantageous for the National Forest Service to adopt. Such a policy would require that all logging and other such operations be discontinued.
Reconnecting with Wilderness in America
Wilderness has played an important role in the lives of people in the US, even before the land was called the
United States. The role of wilderness in the lives of people has changed drastically over the years, just as the amount of wilderness and the understanding of the term has changed drastically. People living in todays society are much more disconnected from the land than our predecessors. Society underwent many changes that caused people to become disconnected with the land physically, historically, ecologically, spiritually, and psychologically. These disconnections were the result of development, urbanization, industrialization, mechanization, science, technology and globalization. Results of this disconnection from land
range from personal dissatisfaction to larger societal problems. Reconnection with the land is sought for many reasons, and individuals and society as a whole can benefit from this reconnection. Seven inter-related wilderness values relate to the reconnection with the land people are seeking and can experience in wilderness. Wilderness has scientific value, heritage value, ecological value, spiritual value, psychological value, cultural value and intrinsic value. The existence of wilderness serves as a reminder of our connection with the land, and wilderness experiences help foster an understanding of this connection as well. Perhaps wilderness will provide enough of a reminder of our connection with the land that as a society we will not, as the Union of Concerned Scientists warned, so alter the world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.
Ethical Consideration of the U.S. Forest Service Proposed Usage Control Plan for the Chattooga River
The Chattooga River, which forms a natural border between Georgia and northwestern South Carolina, has been a source of aesthetic pleasure and recreation for many people throughout the years. However, because of recent surges in recreational use, the Forest Service and proposed a permit plan to minimize the effects this rising demand has on water quality, local wildlife, and plant life. I discuss this proposed plan, what it means for all stakeholders involved, and the environmental and ethical issues involved. Part I is a description of the Chattooga watershed; Part II is a description of the concerns of each stakeholder: the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the commercial outfitters, the public, the wildlife, and the Chattooga Conservancy; Part III discusses the positions for each stakeholder in the event that this permit system is actually imposed; and Part IV presents my thoughts on the best ethical solution based on deontological and teleological grounds.
Big Waters and Pink Dolphins: Environmental and Cultural Degradation in the Amazon Basin
The pink dolphins of the Amazon basin are an important mythological element for the majority of traditional cultures throughout the Amazon River system; furthermore, they are an integral part of the river ecosystem. Having thrived in the Amazon River and its tributaries for upwards of 15 million years, the dolphins, like many other species in the rainforest, are at risk of extinction. Although they are not yet critically endangered, a quick and drastic decline in population could easily occur, much like the loss of river dolphins in the Indus River (India) and Yangtze River (China). Developmental studies from around the world and current trends in Brazil were evaluated and compared in order to construct the most feasible and promising plan for protecting the pink dolphins. The best solution is a long-term program that will preserve the dolphin’s habitat, protect indigenous knowledge, and allow for economic sustainability. Appropriate foresight and implementation will not only safeguard the dolphins and their habitat; moreover, proper forest and river management will benefit a number of interested parties both socially and economically.
Let Wildfires Burn Wild
This essay presents the argument that all wildfires, regardless of how they are ignited, should be left to
burn unsuppressed. Believing that current fire suppression policies are jeopardizing firefighters’ lives, wasting money, and are environmentally unfriendly, the essay advocates changes to wildfire management. It suggests a biocentric approach to fire policy as the key to reversing over a century of total fire suppression in our nation’s forests. In doing so, it chronicles the history of fire management policy in the United States. In addition, the essay shows how fire management has been affected by events such as the Yellowstone fires of 1988 and the Florida fires of 1998. Finally, it discusses current and future changes to fire management policy through legislation like President Bush’s recently enacted Healthy Forests Restoration Act.
Richerson, Brantley T.
The Ethics of Catch-and-Release Fishing
What is the catch-and-release fishing movement about? As this analysis will reveal, the protection of endangered species and the responsible management of the world's fresh- and salt-water fisheries today more than ever rely on the ethical code of catch-and-release fishing. Yet there is opposition to its restrictions, particularly in terms of its effectiveness, and its coverage of waters that do not contain endangered species of fish. In an effort to resolve these issues, this analysis traces the history, scope,efficacy, and philosophy of this practice.
The Economic Advantages of Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) are organizations created within communities to support sustainable agriculture. They are formed by farmers or groups of consumers in order to connect farmers with their consumers. Within the past couple of decades, CSAs have grown into a viable economic market. However, CSAs are young and are still struggling with ways to perfect economic efficiency. Despite their shortcomings, CSAs are progressing to meet the needs of consumers.
Ecofeminism and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)
This essay explores the current debate of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from an ecological feminist perspective. I begin with a brief description of ecofeminism and the importance it places on relationships. In her book, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, Val Plumwood critiques these relationships and offers viable solutions for overcoming dualisms. I have used her critique as a guide for dissecting the case of ANWR. By appplying her theory to a practical situation, I hope to exhibit the value of approaching ethical dilemmas from an ecofeminist stance.
Regulatory Takings and The Endangered Species Act
In this paper, I examine two areas of much current
interest in environmental policy: regulatory takings and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The takings proposition and the ESA have generated an enormous amount of debate of legal scholarship, case law, and political activity — all in an effort to determine exactly what sorts of government actions constitute takings. In addition to exploring regulatory takings and their relationship with the ESA, this paper includes discussion on nuisance law and policy evaluation, particularly in light of biocentrism and preservationism.
To Modify or Not to Modify? that is the Question: a look into the possibilities of genetically modified foods
Scientists have developed methods of inserting genes from one species into another unrelated species to bring about a specific modification in plants. In this paper, I evaluate the benefits and consequences related to transgenic or genetically modified plants from biocentrist and Judeo-Christian perspectives. After comparing and contrasting these benefits and consequences of genetically modified plants to those found in traditional agricultural methods, I conclude that genetic modification is an ethical and beneficial technological advantage for agriculture despite its negative impacts on local farms and surrounding wildlife. As long as we continue to regulate transgenic plants to the safest possible standards of the surrounding environments, I argue that genetic modification in agriculture should not be shied away from but embraced.
Scholfield, John Logan
“Three Films, Two Fellows, and One Environmental Ethic”
In 1978, filmmaker Geoffrey Reggio, cinematographer Ron Fricke and composer Phillip Glass set out to create a trilogy of films that examine the ubiquitous presence of technology that pervades the cultures and invariably the ecosystems of the planet. The three films “Koyaanisqatsi,” “Powaqqatsi,” and “Noqoyqatsi” take their titles from Hopi for “life out of balance,” “life in transformation,” and “life as war.” These are nonstory, noncharacter films that convey abstract emotional experience through unique cinematic devices such as montage, camera movement, alteration of speed, and sound-visual relationships. In Reggio’s films, only with a change in the minds of humanity across all levels of power, wealth and education can a sense of balance be achieved in terms of human beings and their interactions with each other (on a global and local scale) and on the planet.
Adaptive Management to Establish Sustainable Ecotourism in the Serengeti Ecosystem
Adaptive management will play a major role in the future conservation of wildlife areas. Adaptive management is a branch of conservation ecology that combines scientific research and experimental design with dynamic ecology. It is flexible and works to integrate successful conservation strategies. For example, the Serengeti ecosystem, composed of a number of parks, is currently under stress from ecotourism. When the parks are managed separately, the importance of the Seregeti ecosystem is not acknowledged although decisions in individual parks affect the ecosystem as a whole. Tranitioning to sustainable ecotourism and implementing adaptive management will improve the current situation.
Becoming Believers in the Earth: Deep Ecology as a Crisis Discipline
Unfortunately, humans often fail to recognize not only the vastness of the natural world but also the interconnectedness and interdependency of every living and nonliving entity on the planet. Failure to recognize this interconnectedness has left us with a dualistic view of humans and the environment, which is precisely the fundamental cause of the present environmental crisis. That is right; humans are the fundamental cause. The reality is that species and their habitats are being destroyed at alarming rates; wilderness is on its way to non-existence; water, air, and soil are continuously being polluted; climate change is undoubtedly occurring; human overpopulation is soaring exponentially; and human-made artificiality is replacing the natural. The alarming rate at which ecological devastation is occurring and its irreversibility lead to the following conclusion in the minds of environmentalists: What is taking place is an environmental crisis. This paper discusses the term crisis discipline and identifies the Deep Ecology Movement (which calls for a radical shift in environmental values) as the fundamental crisis discipline of the larger environmental movement. The reason the Deep Ecology Movement is a crisis discipline is because humans need to change their values quickly, due to the environmental devastation that has already occurred and that is continuing to occur at alarming rates. It is the fundamental crisis discipline because without a radical shift in values, conservation efforts are only shallow, short-term fixes that will not yield a lasting, positive impact on the planet. This paper discusses the following: Michael Soules definition of crisis disciplines, Arne Naess philosophy deep ecology (which is also a call to action), Jeremy Kerrs article Habitat Loss and the Limits to Endangered Species Recovery, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), and Richard Louvs concept of Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). Overall, this paper points to the following conclusion: the way to solve the environmental crisis is to follow the tenets of the Deep Ecology Movement.
The Future of Tobacco: What Should Government Do?
Tobacco has been grown commercially in America since settlement began in the 1600s. Its popularity has grown so much that today tobacco is produced in 20 states and raises an immense amount of money for the U.S. government. However, our perspective of tobacco has changed. In this paper, I discuss how decreasing support, changes in the market from an auction to contract system, and quota changes have left tobacco producers with few options. I also discuss how the U.S. government is schizophrenic in its tobacco policies, and how tobacco companies have been unethical in their conduct through withholding information from the public. I evaluate the benefits and costs of what would happen if the government decided to completely stop supporting American tobacco producers. Based on the results, I explain how the government, along with tobacco companies, have been unethical to the American farmer on both utilitarian and deontological grounds.
Smith, Leslie Susan
"Peace is War: the Environmental Ethics of Arundahti Roy"
In this paper I examine the environmental ethic of Arundahti Roy by focusing on her fictional novel, "The God of Small Things," and a collection of her essays, An Ordinary Person's Guide to the Empire," to show that Roy's environmental ethic is one based on a holistic view of the world, valuing everything natural, from the smallest most insignificant organism to the largest. Because Roy recognizes the interconnectedness of all beings, she weaves many issues (e.g., political, economic, and social) into a holistic environmental ethic. While Roy's position on spirituality in her environmental ethic is unclear, I reveal my ecocentric value system that acknowledges the importance of non-living ecosystems and finds a spiritual tranquility in nature.
A Concise Account of the Christian Relationship with the Environment
The proper context of the Biblical environmental ethic is very difficult to define. The skeptic observes a certain trend in creation theology since Lynn White's essay back in 1968. However, just because ecological ethics may not have been a critical issue to the believer of the 18th century does not mean that it is not to one now. Moreover, it does not mean that the Bible has nothing to say on ecological matters now, nor does it mean that it had nothing to say of ecology to 18th century man. In order to place the Biblical view of environmental ethics in the proper context, it is necessary to approach the scriptures in light of current ecological issues while giving the scriptures the critical respect they deserve. One can only conclude that different historical patterns and issues make the relevance of Scripture far-reaching and complex, but no less valid. even today the Gospel finds significance for believers who struggle with the question of how to care for creation.
Ethical Considerations for a Tree Ordinance in Athens, Georgia
Trees are a vital resource to the world and individual communities. Tree ordinances are city measures designed to ensure protection for this resource. Trees add several benefits to communities and Athens-Clarke County must recognize these benefits and enact an ordinance that protects its trees. Problems with an ordinance arise when stakeholders feel that the government is infringing on their individual rights. This paper explains the reasons how a tree ordinance will benefit Athens-Clarke County. Ethical dilemmas will be examined resulting in recommendations for an ordinance.
Patagonia: A Company Pioneering in Environmental Leadership
As I was beginning my paper for the completion of the Environmental Ethics program, I asked myself many questions. How would I approach this paper, what aspects of the program influenced me most, and how has the program changed my perspectives all factored in my decision of what to write about. However, instead of regurgitating what I learned in the past, my focus shifted towards the future, and how this program influenced my career decision; specifically, which company I will work for. That company is Patagonia. After learning of the values of corporate responsibility, pre-consumer waste reduction, and ethical practices that respect the environment as well as people, I decided I could not work for a company that did not represent my interests and ethics. Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company, is one of the leading corporations in environmental concerns. For example, in their Enviroact program, employees can take a paid leave of absence—with full benefits—for two months to volunteer for an organization of their choice. Patagonia also donates annually a percentage of their pretax profits to grassroots organizations around the world such as the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper in Atlanta. They were also the first organization to introduce an entire sportswear line made from organic cotton. Whatever the issue, Patagonia is dedicated to finding a better solution to the environmental crisis, never resting or accepting the status quo.
Places Into Minds, Minds Into Places: Deep Ecology in the Writings of Native Americans and Wendell Berry
Connection with the land is a cross-cultural connection, ranging from the Scandinavian culture of deep ecologist Arne Naess to the West Coast culture of Gary Snyder, to the Southern culture of Wendell Berry, to the ancient eastern and native cultures with "Old Ways" from which modern deep ecologists draw ideas and inspiration. By realizing the hold the land will claim on a person, Native American cultures' theme of the two-way hold between a person and the environment is more detailed than Naess's ideas of relation with the land. the people, or even whole cultures, who lose their sense of place appear to be self-destructive. In the real world, problems such as pollution, erosion, and depleted resources show that everyone does not realize this connection. Deep ecology's focus, regardless of whether found in literature or scientifically based essays, emphasizes this connection between place and self -- a story that can be told to anyone who will listen.
Evolutionary Theory, Developmental Systems, and Contemporary Human Evolution
Prelude to an Environmental Ethic -- In this essay, I explore recent developments in evolutionary theory to see how they might apply to contemporary human evolution and evolutionary ethics. In particular, I look at the Developmental Systems Theory (DST) of Paul Griffiths and others, the multi-level selection theory of Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson, and various other theories in game theoretics and evolutionary biology. Using these, I aim for ways at breaking down the dichotomy between biological and cultural evolution. In doing this, I try to offer a new perspective on human population dynamics and the forces driving our current period of exponential growth. Models of population dynamics similar to our own predict a period of destabilization if the population passes its carrying capacity too rapidly. By attempting to more fully understand the time scale of cultural changes or adaptation, and by trying to understand how these cultural changes affect us biologically and ecologically (through longevity, mortality, and fecundity), perhaps we can better prepare for selective forces on our own population. If this can be done, and if ethical systems are part of that preparation, then it seems likely that a genuine environmental ethic will arise through our own informed self-preservation.
Thompson, Bradley Robert
The Ethica Fitness of Nuclear Power
The Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Waynesboro, Georgia has been using two nuclear reactors to produce electricity for customers in the state of Georgia for over 30 years. Recently the owners of the plant have begun construction of two new reactors on the site with the aid of the federal government. The project finds itself in an ethical gray area because of a mixture of the long and short-term considerations. The depth of the current economic downturn necessitates the project yet many are hard pressed to fully support such a proposal given the lack of a long-term vision for mitigating the effects of hazardous nuclear waste. The Plant Vogtle project is own of immense cost, ethical importance and historical relevance and stands as a symbol for the relevance of many factors in the determination of ethical fitness of a project or policy. With many unresolved issues at hand there can be no definitive answer to the ethical fitness of this plan but there remain many avenues open for future research to be undertaken.
Thompson, Claire Bowie
Going to the Mountains: Cultural, Economic, and Environmental Implications of Exurban Development on the Cumberland Plateau
Although much of the culture, native landscape, and natural ecosystem of the southern portion of the Cumberland Plateau is intact, the area faces land-use changes and development pressures that will have long-term effects on the land, people, and economy. Now more than ever, it is necessary to look strategically at the cultural, economic, and environmental parameters of the Plateau. In this manner, it is possible to develop a framework for best management and land-use practices of exurban development that considers both public and private interests and ensures the conservation of the land and way of life. Without developing a growth plan, the Cumberland Plateau may fall victim to another commercially exploited "mountain retreat." Cooley's Rift, a case study for development in the region, looks at both the advantages and disadvantages of intense growth within the region and addresses problems faced by developers, communities, and the environment. From an ecocentric environmental ethic, I conclude that development is inevitable within the Cumberland Plateau, but it is also essential to determine the Plateau's future land-use patterns so development is positive for all stakeholders, not the select few.
There is a growing market in produce and goods labeled "organically grown." This label has raised many questions and doubts as to the difference and significance of organic products. A consumer has the right to know if their purchase is supporting positive changes for the way food is produced and if the farmers who produce these goods actually grow them in a more sustainable fashion. In this paper, I interviewed eleven "organic" growers. I show that the interviewees work towards a more sustainable agriculture system
that focuses on creating healthy soils and ecosystems. These farmers feel that it is important to have educated consumers who know what is involved in farming — organic and conventional. For different reasons and by varying practices, organic farmers are keeping people and soils healthy and alive by working against many mainstream ideals. The appearance of "organic" farming began over three decades ago out of response to the mass culture trend of chemical applications. People then, just as now, questioned the ethics and safety of such practices. Now, a growing movement of farmers are changing the way people eat, treat the land, and live. Organic farmers are setting a standard of working with the land and natural processes instead of trying to control or "treat" them. The future of organic farming lies in support of the consumers. Choices to move to sustainability are available in all realms of everyday life. It is now evident that our choices of food production and quality are directly linked to the health of people and the environment. Organic farms are moving in a positive direction for responsible stewardship. Aldo Leopold's words continue to be a wonderful guide: In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror on the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such. A land ethic, then, reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of the land. Health is the capacity of the land for self renewal. Conservation is our effort to understand and preserve this capacity (A Sand County Almanac, pp. 204-214).
Replacing the Idea of Wilderness with a Biosphere Reserve
In this paper, I argue that the idea of wilderness is outmoded and should be replaced with the idea of a biosphere reserve. The idea of wilderness is outmoded for two reasons. First, humans and indigenous cultures are excluded from wilderness areas. Second, wilderness does not necessarily include entire ecosystems or hotspots of biodiversity. Many scientific studies show that when only small patches of land are preserved, the resulting fragmentation threatens population viability. To include humans and indigenous cultures, as well as entire ecosystems and hotspots of biodiversity, requires a new perspective: a biosphere reserve. A biosphere reserve conserves ecosystem function, allows long-term human occupation, and emphasizes the inherent value of ecosystems and species. I use the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, which is the southernmost biosphere reserve in the world, to show how a biosphere reserve can replace a wilderness. The Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve shows how scientists, local people, and authorities can work together to preserve culture, history, and ecology of a unique area in a sustainable and holistic fashion.
The Psychological Relationship between Humans and Nature
In this paper I explore the relationship between humans and nature. I use a developmental psychological framework to support the theory on how humans develop this relationship. I include support of the biophilia hypothesis, which states that humans have an innate appreciation of life and the natural world. I argue that the environment plays a natural role in humans both psychologically and physiologically. I tie all these ideas together in order to argue that humans have a natural relationship with nature, and the environment is one key to psychological health.
Geeen Beauty in Vogue: Green marketing trends in Vogue Magazine
In this paper I examine womens beauty products advertised in Vogue magazine from the early 1900s to today for green marketing. Green marketing responds to consumers who attempt to express their desire to promote sustainability and their personal well-being by purchasing products which have been manufactured efficiently with the least possible environmental impact. Even in 1914, womens beauty products placed a strong emphasis on being natural. I show that green marketing has had a lengthy presence in advertising of womens beauty products. I agree that while it is not new, the increased use of green marketing in advertising is a positive reflection of the progression toward a more widespread green consciousness among American consumers.
Van Damm, Rebecca
I decided to further explore my own feminism through an examination of ecofeminism and what it offers both as a way to understand the environment and our place in it.
Quantum Physics, Chaos Theory, Indigenous Perception, Environmental Ethics, and a New World View: A Poetic Essay
Indigenous philosophy provides a surer path toward a sustainable, peaceful, and productive life for humans and might increase the probability that humans will survive as a species in harmony with the natural forces of the Earth. The indigenous philosophy is made up of several ideas: the earth is vital and has a spiritual dimension; humans are part of nature and are connected to other organisms in complex webs of relationship; time is circular, and life is part of the cycles of matter, energy, and spirit that are present; the connections between land and being are nonlinear; and real, direct interaction is highly valued. The contrast is resolved through chaos and similar scientific ideas that emphasize nonlinearity, probability, and complexity. Certainly there is similar language linking these diverse perspectives, but there is also the problem that modern science is at the center of the modern world view point. Ecology failed to provide the impetus for a fundamental change in perspective; each of us will have to make our own judgment about chaos theory and similar concepts. Finally we must bring these ideas together with environmental ethics, beginning with the earth and Gary Snyder's concept of reinhabitation of place. A necessary part of place is political action. As Wendell Berry said: "The real work of planet saving will be small, humble, and humbling," but essential for change. We need to get environmental ethics out of academia and into community and to "follow our heart and intuition to engage in activity that is good for the whole."
Weinstein, David Evan
Ethical Issues in Recycling Electronics
Think about the number of computers, TVs, cell phones, radios, game
consoles, and music players that have passed through your hands over the years.
These are just a few examples of devices that are part of the growing phenomenon
known as e-waste. E-waste is the term used to describe discarded electronics and
electrical products and is the fastest growing waste problem in the world. E-waste
contains a variety of toxic and hazardous components that is currently being sent to
landfills. Ensuring the proper management of recycling and disposing of electronic
waste is a global ethical and environmental issue that is of vital importance to solve if
wanting to achieve a sustainable future. It is necessary to increase e-waste recycling
rates in order to improve the efficiency with which resources are used, reduce the
impact on the environment of waste disposal, and to provide for equity between
This study evaluated and analyzed electronic waste recycling in Sydney,
Australia. The study determined the current methods of recycling and collecting
electronic waste available to the public and examined what measures are in place to
regulate and ensure that electronic waste is recycled and handled in an ethical and
environmentally friendly manner. To accomplish these goals, interviews with four
electronic waste recycling and collection companies were conducted, interviews with
three government offices were conducted, and a survey of 150 people in Sydney was
conducted. The study suggests that e-waste recycling in Sydney needs to be
improved to increase the rate of recycling of e-waste.
People in Sydney are willing to recycle e-waste, but a lack of knowledge of
available options, costs to recycle, and the ease of simply throwing out e-waste
prevents the public from recycling e-waste. This study suggests that to increase
recycling volumes of e-waste government action needs to ban e-waste from landfills,
provide education on options to recycle e-waste, and create funds to help cover the
expensive costs of e-waste recycling. With limited help from government, this study
suggests that e-waste recycling and collection can greatly be improved to increase the
rate of e-waste that gets recycled in Sydney.
A Comparison of the Land Ethic
This paper will be an examination of Aldo Leopold's land ethic (an ethical system that he has developed to try and include both the land and non-human animals in a human morality). I will then look at J. Baird Callicott's reformulation of the land ethic and the problem that he thinks he is solving with his version of the original land ethic: namely, the fact that Leopold's version of the ethic does not seem to give moral value to specific beings in particular, but just to the system as a whole.
American Narcissism and Environmental Ethics
Environment and Literature in Georgia: an Ecocritical Perspective
This paper reviews a representative sample of modern and historical environmental literatures of Georgia in search of common themes, driving forces,and shared values among the writers. I examine the works of writers from different eras, considering how their writing about Georgia has influenced the reading public's attitudes and actions towards the land.
Quinoa Production In Bolivia: What are the social and environmental factors of the super food
Quinoa consumption has been on the rise in the international market over the past few decades primarily due to the fact that the grain is packed with important nutrients and considered a "super food." However many consumers of this powerful grain do not realize the social and environmental consequences this demand has had on the Southern Altiplano region of Bolivia where a production hub can be found for the crop. This once staple crop for the ancestors of the Andean region has now become a not-so-simple means of livelihood for the rural peasant farmers of this region. This paper looks at the potential social injustices the quinoa market holds,especially regarding the use of a middleman and the potential devastating environmental consequences industrialized farming has had on the local area. This paper also offers potential ways in which these negative impacts could be eliminated.
Zylla, Abigail Garrison
Cremation and Mother Ganges: Conflicting Worldviews and Implications on Environmental Ethics
In areas along the Ganges River, Hindu rituals surrounding death involve cremation and release of the remaining ashes into that particular river for reasons of spiritual purification. Given current socio-economic conditions in the region, many people cannot afford full cremation ceremonies, resulting in a large number of semi-incinerated and bacteria-ridden carcasses of cows and human remains released into the river. Given other urban waste carried by the river, public health is put at great risk and there are ecological impacts as well. Local government influenced by Western science have made efforts to limit this occurrence with little success, due to the importance of this ritual in religion and culture. Do we as Westerners, working from frameworks of the science of microbiology and contrasting ideas of pollution/cleanliness, have a right to put a stop to a practice that is an integral part of a belief system?