Environmental problems allow us to draw upon many different principles in moral reasoning. There is natural world at our disposal and as human beings we must decide our duties to preserve it (Douglas & DeCosse, 2009).
Three classic ethical principles
The ethical principles of solidarity, sufficiency and justice; which can be traced back to many different sources including religious teachings, Greek philosophy and reflection on the experiences of humanity, can be used to guide us approaching environmental problems. It is important that we ask ourselves how each of these ethical principles can be applied to the situation of the environment (Douglas & DeCosse, 2009).
The principle of solidarity is used to help us understand how to relate to each other in community. This principle is based on the assumption that we know we are part of, at the very least, our biological family. It also reminds us we are part of our local and national community and at the same time challenges us to look at the full range of our relationships with others. Solidarity requires us to look out to an extended community and to act with concern for the well-being of those whom we share this earth. In applying the principle of solidarity we ask: A. In this situation, who are all of the human stakeholders? B. Who are the natural stakeholders? C. Is there an ecosystem (community of life) involved? D. What human and on-human stakeholders are especially vulnerable? (Douglas & DeCosse, 2009).
Sufficiency directs us to realize that every form of life is entitled to enough goods to live on and to flourish. This also means that no one should be wasteful or hoard resources that that are in place for the sufficiency of all. This ...
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...re generous or more humble? Using this approach to ethical reasoning brings calls us to use careful and honest self-reflection both individually and in a group. Whether it involves other people or the nature world, we become what we do (Douglas & DeCosse, 2009).
As public administrators and human beings, environmental concerns challenge us to extend our moral principles to include the well-being of our natural world and our responsibilities to it. Ethical principles are our standards of which we evaluate our actions. They are the signposts that point us to the direction of right or wrong (Douglas & DeCosse, 2009). Ethical concern about human welfare demands respect for life and the environment (Rolston, 1991). We must change our course and take action to protect the future of an earth that is peril. We must because justice demands it (Moore & Nelson, 2010)
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