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Why it is an Ethical and Moral Responsibility (Essay Sample)


Once you have found a Question at Issue you feel you can make an argument about, write an enthymeme (claim because reason) that makes an arguable claim and support that claim with one good reason for believing that claim.

Do humans have an ethical or moral responsibility to protect the environment?
The environment is made up of everything that is around us (Gardiner 390). This means that all tangible and intangible properties around us that make our existence complete as human beings make up the environment. All people are born into the environment, and there is every indication that through whatever means the world came into existence, the environment existed before human beings. If not for this, there should be no way the first kind or group of human beings to have occupied the earth would have survived because the environment supports both the natural and artificial needs of mankind. The issue of who is responsible for the protection of the environment is something that has gone on for years. As a natural phenomenon, there are some who think that the environment is responsible for its own care and protection but this is not a position that I share. As the most beneficiaries of the environment, I opine that indeed humans have an ethical or moral responsibility to protect the environment. This essay debates this position taken through three major generational processes, which are the past, the present and the future. Eventually, the justification of this stand is consolidated with the position that a refusal to protect the environment is something that comes with consequences that we must suffer as human beings.
Why it is an Ethical and Moral Responsibility
There are various forms of responsibilities, with one of the most common being legal responsibility. Once mention is made of legal responsibility, we are quick to think of it as something that we have no option to than to oblige because we are bound by law to do so. Ethical or moral responsibility is however different. With ethical or moral responsibility, the core idea to honouring a piece of responsibility is based on the conscience and reasoning of a person, whereby a person admits without compulsion that he or she has an allegiance to get something done (Feinberg 21). From the deontological ethics, which is a moral framework conceived by Immanuel Kant, there is a better understanding of ethical and moral responsibility, where it is explained that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined as a function of reason (Gardiner 392). It is further stated that right and wrong assigns an infinite worth to human beings. This means that human beings are rational based on the fact that they are free to form their own intentions and act upon them but such intentions must be back by reason. In the same way, it is argued that the need to protect the environment is not one that must be forced on humans through legalities but through an infinite worth on human beings that acknowledges a function of reason to do so. With man’s responsibility to protect the environment seen as an ethical or moral responsibility, there is better self-consciousness to fulfil that responsibility.
Living out our debt to the past generation
One of the major reasons why it is argued that humans have an ethical or moral responsibility to protect the environment is that we have a moral allegiance to pay our debt to the past generation, which handed the existing environment to us. Until today, nations of the world continue to depend very heavily on natural resources for their socio-economic development. Meanwhile, most of these natural resources, which are components of the environment existed years ago when none of us were born (Chan 40). This means that the existing environment was once the property of the past generation, which they had every right to use in a way that pleased them and satisfied their selfish needs, including the total destruction of it. However, the past generation did not choose this line, but put in conscious efforts to ensure that the environment remained preserved and conserved for those of us in the present generation. It is not surprising that up to date, there is sufficient forestland, water bodies, soil, and mineral resources to satisfy our present needs. If deontological ethics teaches that we are free to formulate our actions but our actions must be based on function of reason, then we have a function to reason to ensure that we pay our debts to the past generation by following their steps in remaining responsible to the environment.
The environment as the responsibility of the present
The present generation have often described itself as more advanced than the past generation, which lived centuries ago. One of the major bases for this argument is the advancement in technology which the present generation currently enjoys. Technology has really come to make the world well advanced and modernised than it used to be some years back. Meanwhile, the invention of technology did not happen overnight but through the systematic and gradual efforts of the past generation. The reason for this argument is that most forms of technology take their basis from such mathematical and scientific discoveries that were made even before electricity was discovered (Elliot 102). So if technology, part of which is attributable to the past generation has made our world advanced, then we have the ethical or moral responsibility to use the advancement to protect the environment. For the present generation therefore, we are to see the environment as our responsibility to care rather than our privilege to enjoy. This is because the actual privilege we had was with the efforts that were started by the generations of old, of which we have been able to make our world advanced and modernised. If we have no discovered technology, it becomes our responsibility to use technology to protect the environment rather than to destroy it. With this said, practices based on technological advancement and industrialisation that destroy the environment will be most concerned.
The environment as the property of the future
Again, it will be argued that one reason that we have ethical and moral responsibility to protect the environment and consequently, no ethical and moral right to destroy the environment is because the environment does not belong to us but to the future generation. This should be a very simple position to accept because the existing environment is not something that we brought with us but something we came to inherit. Meanwhile, when a generational or family inheritance exists, it exist a perpetual property and not just for the current generation. For this reason, the morality in the basis of protecting the environment in a non-questionable manner is because we have a responsibility with the environment to protecting it for its rightful owners, who are the future generations. Most certainly, when one is obliged with the responsibility of catering for two things, one of which belongs to the person and the other of which belongs to another person, there is much personal reasoning to be more careful with that which belongs to another person because it is that which when gets missing comes with the duty of replacing. Since the environment is not something we can in anyway recreate or refund to its rightful owners, which is the future generation when we destroy it, we are morally and ethically obliged to be highly responsible for it as the only way of remaining accountable to it.
The consequences of refusal to protect the environment
One other major factor that constitutes factors explaining why humans have moral and ethical right to protecting the environment is the consequences that we face when we refuse to do so. As indicated earlier, the environm...
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