Free Environmental Ethics Essay Sample
Human beings are part of the ecosystem since they live in the natural environment even though civilization made people adjust the ecosystem. The idea of economic wellbeing and concentration of wealth have significantly affected the world. It has led to increased exploitation of the natural environment resources at rates that may not give room for regeneration. The economic rivalry has also brought wars between communities as well as countries, thus, leading to more intensive destruction of the environment since fighting interferes with the natural landscape. People have equated natural environment to the material wealth. They try to exploit every available resource to get money or material possessions. Governments of various countries have also undertaken such projects as mining, generation of electricity, and construction of infrastructure while showing little or no concern for their impact on the environment. People destroy the ecosystems since they concentrate on using natural resources for increasing profit letting own needs override the inherent significance of the environment.
Climate Changes and Droughts
Even in the wake of unexpected climate changes that have led to intensified drought, people had not limited the use of farmlands on the cultivation of agricultural crops. Instead, they thought about money. For instance, Afghanistan is a dry arid and semi-arid country, and two-thirds of its population rely on agriculture. By 2011, 3 million people were under the threat of hunger. However, instead of improving old irrigation system on the governmental level and focusing on the cultivation of essential food, people concentrate on growing poppy that allows producing opium; it is illegal in many countries and prohibited by various international organizations including United Nations Organization among others. The development is, therefore, the assault on the environment since the cultivators have the motivation for money. Thus, farming indirectly converts the environment into capital.
Human beings have failed to respect the original status of the environment as they have named themselves the masters of nature hence manipulating ecosystem to fulfill their interests. They cultivate crops as well as change the primary flow of rivers through diversion and damming; people have coined the term “social nature” that equated natural resources to human welfare and economic development. The author of “Flower of War” further states that drought is not merely a product of little precipitation but also the established environment and social relations, for instance, the way people facilitate the emission of greenhouse gases. These gases trap heat and interfere with the natural climate, thus, building a local climate. A similar case appears in Greece where Eldorado Gold Mining Company seeks to mine gold in the Skouries forest. The company had the intention to clear the old-growth forest, modify the water system, and build an open cast as well as an underground gold and copper mine plus factory. In this regard, the modification of nature by people has contributed to the emergence of drought. This fact reveals the disastrous human misconception of the environment.
Human Unsustainable Efforts to Solve the Drought Issue
In the wake of increased drought prevalence, people have designed the ways of alleviating the problem but today, the issue causes much harm to the environment. For instance, Afghanistan has supported the creation of irrigation for public and private farms. The irrigation projects involved damming, collection of surface water, and directing it to open canals. The examples of the dams include Helmand, Argandab, and Kajakai among others that; the drainage waters of diverted rivers feed them, and they have 300 miles of canals lined with concrete. When executing the project, the government did not consider the negative impact of such actions as soil salinization, evaporation of water as well as reduced water supply to Hamoun Wetland. The problem has affected the marshlands and lakes in Hamoun region and destroyed the habitats for many representatives of the local fauna including fish, deer, and jaguars among others. Even though the government planned that the project would benefit the residents, there was no ethical consideration of the harmful consequences.
Another example of an initiative for solving drought problem is the Karez irrigation in Afghanistan. The system has trenches and tunnels that tap the ground water from the alluvial fan aquifers; thus, it draws water from the underground sources and directs it to other remote locations. The length of the waterways of Afghanistan ranges from hundred meters to twenty kilometers. The irrigation system, therefore, depicts the method, by which the government relocates underground waters from one area to others, hence worsening the drought problem. It can be considered unethical act towards the environment.
Finally, in Tropic of Chaos the case of Ekaru Loruman, a pastoralist from Turkana in Kenya, is mentioned. He was killed by enemies from the Pokot people during a raid for animals after the drought killed their stock. To find the real cause of the problem, the author blames the drought for killing animals but then he mentions the fact that human activities contribute to the emergence of natural disasters. In Tropic of Chaos, Parenti states that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change blamed the civilization for the increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that the growing burning of fossil fuels caused. The report states that the increased level of the compound in the nature results in the increased temperatures that cause droughts. Thus, it exposes human unethical practices towards the environment.
Exposing the Environment to Destructive Impacts of War
In the contemporary world, there are volatile relations between various groups, and when the conflicts lead to armed confrontations between them, people tend to mutilate the environmental by dragging it into wars. According to “Flower of War”, the United States military occupation of Afghanistan that resulted in the employment of various weapons ranging from grenades to missiles had an adverse impact on the natural vegetation and topography. The author of the book also states that in Afghanistan, there are several rival groups, among which Taliban and Haqqani are the key actors, and these groups continue to expose natural environment to wanton destruction since they fight with each other. Also, the presence of war ushers in lawlessness, thus, giving people a chance to use the environment for such wasteful purposes as, for example, the illegal growth of poppy. For instance, in Afghanistan, the warlords grow poppy to finance their activities with the proceeds from sales. Lawlessness, therefore, enables the groups to liquidate the fertile soils of the country through the cultivation and sale of poppy. According to “Flower of War”, the fighting groups divert water resources from upstream to deprive the downstream rivals of water. For instance, a Mujahedeen faction in the upstream hijacked the Mirab project irrigation water to prevent its downstream rivals from accessing the resource. Farmers also have to bribe the warlords to get access to water. The above-mentioned information depicts the fact that people continue to destroy the environment by starting wars as well as using it as a weapon to fight their rivals.
Another example of how people expose the environment to destruction through war is Blockadia. Klein states that in several instances, people in various locations have realized that closed-door meetings and summits could not save the environment and decided to take protests to the field. However, their governments respond to them with lethal force unleashing anti-riot police officers to crush the demonstrations violently. For instance, when people demonstrated against gold and copper mining in Greece, the government turned the Skouries forest into a battle zone as it dispersed the protesters. In Romania, the government also used violence to end the protests against gas exploration destroying the environment. Klein argues that in the Chinese Inner Mongolia, the government used violence towards the herders who opposed large-scale mining of fossil fuels on their ancestral land, which has led to the destruction of the environment as well. The above examples reveal how governments disregard the environment by using natural ecosystems as battlefields to attack the demonstrators. This trend is highly undesirable.
The increased industrial investment on warfare is also an unethical practice that is dangerous to the environment. Tsing states that the latest developments are deadlier than they were 100 years ago. The author highlights the fact of the development of atomic bombs that are capable of ruining the whole planet either accidentally or deliberately. Tsing gives an example of the attack on Hiroshima in 1945 that destroyed the landscape and lead to the emergence of mushrooms. With modern technologies, countries that engage in atomic and nuclear activities expose the environment to the threat of accidental explosions or even use of the weapons in warfare. It can destroy the whole world ecosystem and leave no future for the descendants. It is, therefore, advisable for the countries to stop these activities and design the ways of safe disposing of the atomic weapons. Thus, they have to avoid exposing the global ecosystem to the threat of decimation.
Inconsiderate Mining of Natural Resources
A group of Canadian filmmakers collected facts about the mining of various resources in different countries trying to define its impact on the environment, the response of the locals as well as the reaction of the governments towards the uproar, which the aggrieved residents of the affected areas caused. The results were shocking since most of the responses of the governments presented the use of force against the peaceful demonstrators who just opposed the destruction of the environment. The documentary makers combined instances from different countries and put them into an episode named “Blockadia.” The chapters capture an international scene where mining companies scramble for natural resources including oil and gas among others in disregard of the ecosystems. To make matters worse, the industrial activities are not adequately regulated or tested, and they are prone to the creation of accidents that kill people as well as harm the environment. When the locals from various places realize that the environmental talks and conferences do not give appropriate results, they decide to protest in defense of the natural environment but their governments crush the movements by use of violence. The collection, therefore, shows how much the environment suffers from the actions of corporations that have thirst for resources.
The Greece government is an example of the administration that seeks to grow the economy in disregard of the natural environment. Eldorado, a Canadian company, aims to mine copper and gold in Skouries forest; to create space for open cast and underground mining, it has to remove the old-growth forest. The firm also has to build dams and ponds for liquid waste. The project poses a threat to the nearby residents who fear for their health as well as that of livestock, fate of fishing, tourism, and farming in the area. The issue causes controversy in local gatherings as well as the national parliament; what is more, the unknown assailants torched the pieces of equipment of the firm. A group of environmental activists organized demonstrations against the project in Athens and Thessaloniki. However, the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras states that the project must continue at all costs in the name of protecting foreign investment and portraying the country as the destination for international traders. He further approved several other controversial programs aimed at instance drilling of gas and oil in the sea, coal mining, and development of protected beaches. Regarding the above-mentioned statement, the government continues to battle the demonstrators in forests using all sorts of weapons, and it leads to the severe destruction of the environment. This story shows that the government uses force against the citizens who seek to have their environment protected.
The government of Romania also demonstrates no respect for the natural environment. The residents continue to oppose the bid of the Chevron Company, which tries to create shale gas exploration well. In 2013, the farmers have been flocking the field for weeks attempting to stop the firm from accessing the site. Just like their Greek counterparts, the Romanians responded to it in a militarized manner: the anti-riot officers clobbered the protesters and mounted travel bans; they blocked the access of the media to the site in order to prevent it from airing the facts. A similar situation took place in Canadian Brunswick Province where the authorities allowed a Texas-based company to conduct seismic tests before fracking. The residents responded by peaceful blocking of the access of the company to the site but the government applied violence to them. Thus, the problem indicates that the Romanian and Canadian governments used unethical actions by prioritizing the economic development at the expense of natural environment.
The government of the United Kingdom also conducts mining with little regard for the environment. The administration has proposed the initiative called “dash for gas”, which entailed fracking and drilling in Balcombe and West Burton, and the residents had to rise and fight for their environment. Similarly, there was a protest of 30 activists in Russia against drilling under the melting ice. The coast guard arrested people, and after charge of piracy, they were imprisoned for two months. However, the Nobel Prize winners and activists from more than forty countries staged demonstrations while the heads of many states pressurized the Russian government to release them. The two incidences reveal the fact that the governments of the United Kingdom and Russia demonstrated unethical behavior towards the protection of the environment. However, the last case is worse due to the irrational response.
The Chinese government is also in the list of irresponsible administrations since it disregarded the environment in the name of economic development. The government sought to establish a primary energy base in the Inner Mongolia despite the resistance of the natives who were herders. The residents complained about dust and decreased water level but the state responded on it by using violence towards them; as a result, many people had died. However, the protests have made it hard for China to utilize the coal resources efficiently; thus, the administration imports certain amount of coal from Australia. However, Australia is also facing the resistance of the locals who oppose a mega coal project that is set to reduce the Leard State Forest by half; this can increase the annual greenhouse gas emission by 5%. The project, which will affect the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem, a world heritage site, as well as the aquatic creatures, is also set. The above information, therefore, reveals the fact that the actions of the governments of China and Australia respectively must be considered unethical due to the manner, in which they disregard the environment.
Industries and Infrastructure
The issue of unethical environmental practices also appears in the American continent since local governments develop infrastructure with little concern for the environment. The first phase of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is notorious for the spillage of tar sand oil, and once, a rancher from North Dakota woke up to find a spring of oil on the territory of his farm. The whole project is set to add 2677 kilometers of pipeline crossing seven states, and it prompted public action in 2011; there was the civil protest in Washington D.C., during which 40,000 people demonstrated near the White House. Klein cites similar protests in Texas. Similarly, in Canada, the Enbridge Energy Company seeks to build a pipeline running 1177 kilometers from Edmonton through numerous waterways and rainforests to the District of Columbia. The proposal, thus, appears as a threat to the Canadian fishing grounds, wilderness, beaches, and marine life in general. Thus, the citizens continue to oppose the project. The above-mentioned issue depicts environmental irresponsibility of the governments of the United States and Canada.
The Afghanistan government is also cited to have irresponsibly developed power generation infrastructure. The country constructed large dams, for example, Helmand, Argandab, and Kajakai that led to the diversion of rivers. The project severely affected the environment since it resulted in the deprivation of water of the Hamoun Wetland. The problem influenced the natural ecosystem of Hamoun region comprising of marshlands and lakes and destroyed the habitats for wild animals and water creatures. The acts of the Afghanistan government are the example of unethical behavior of people towards the environment.
The government of the Soviet Union also appears to have violated environmental ethics by constructing a nuclear reactor on the territory of Ukraine without proper precautions and taking into account its great danger. Tsing claims that the Chernobyl disaster was a result of the nuclear accident. The aftermath was the destruction of a large tract of land where mushrooms were naturally growing. Due to the increased demand for them, the Japanese, who previously bought mushrooms from that area, started to import them from the North West Pacific located on the American continent. The accident, therefore, reveals the fact that people had not taken into consideration the potential hazards, which the nuclear reactors posed. Thus, the rulers of the state violated the environmental ethics.
Intensified use of machines in industries has led to the increased combustion processes as well as the exploitation of raw materials. Timber harvesting in Portland, Oregon, is an example demonstrating this process, which Tsing provides. The author states that from 1910, the logging in the region was enhanced. It has led to the fact that Oregon started exporting timber to distant markets. By 1989, the environmentalists began protesting against increased logging in the North West Pacific forests. Federal judge's decision to halt activities in the woods annoyed the logging firms. However, by that same time, the resources of the woods were already depleted, and the companies simply migrated from the region leaving it as an area rich in matsutake mushroom that grew naturally after deforestation. By turning a tropical forest into a mushroom area, the firms highly disregarded the environmental ethics, which they ought to obey.
It is true that people have substantially disregarded natural environment since they severely exploited the natural resources to do what would give them money despite the emergence of problems with the ecosystem. It is, therefore, high time people adopted the idea of sustainable development. It can make them able to ensure that human needs do not override the inherent significance of the environment. In Afghanistan, the cartels cultivate poppy on agricultural lands for producing drug. Their motivation is selling the substance and getting money oblivious to the aridity of their country. People have also turned themselves into the masters of the ecosystem as opposed to being part of it. Thus, they seek to modify nature for their selfish gains. In response to the drought problem, people engage in initiatives that are not suitable for solving it. They also destroy the environment through war and inconsiderate mining of natural resources, which include oil among others. The irresponsible construction of infrastructure causes damage to the environment as well. Lastly, fast development of the humankind and its technologies has led to industrial combustion of fossil fuel and increased the carbon level in the atmosphere. It is, therefore, a duty of every individual to exercise environmental ethics. It will significantly improve the tools of handling the environment, which organizations and governments use.