The words environment and ethics are not commonly found together in a sentence. However, in today's global environment, environmental ethics have become a required practice for everyone in the world. Creating effective strategies for protecting the environment often brings ethical issues to the forefront. When confronted with the issues of how to get rid of hazardous waste, air or water pollution, ethics play a major role in the decision when there is an absence of laws to governor the issue.
Ethics are the body of principles or standards of human conduct that govern the behavior of individuals and groups (Bazerman and Messick 52). Ethics arise not simply from man's creation but from human nature itself making it a natural body of law from which man's laws follow. Good ethics allow one to do what is right in the absence of written rules or guidelines.
Environmental ethics have no precisely fixed conventional definition in glossaries or dictionary terminology. However, Aldo Leopold is universally recognized as the father or founding genius of the recent environmental ethics (Bazerman and Messick 187). His land ethic has become a modern classic and may be treated as the standard example of environmental ethics.
The recent inspiration for environmental ethics was the first Earth Day in 1970 when environmentalists started urging leaders of environmental groups to do something about environmental ethics. A climate had developed over the last few years of the 1960s due largely because of the publication of two papers: Lynn White's "The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis" in March of 1967 and Garett Hardin's "The Tragedy of the Commons" in December of 1968. These papers were most influential with regard to environmental issues. However, it was an essay in Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, "The Land Ethic," in which Leopold explicitly claimed that the roots of the ecological crisis were philos... Continue Reading