American Environmentalism: Values, Tactics, Priorities

By Joseph M. Petulla | Go to book overview
Save to active project

10
Environmental Ethics

THE term environmental ethics usually refers to Aldo Leopold's "land ethic," which prescribes that nature should be granted rights on an equal status with humans. Writers on the environmental crisis have often taken their cue from Leopold, who deprecated the human "failure to accord to all life and to the environment itself an ethical status comparable to that which he normally accords to his fellow man. It follows that any meaningful long-term corrective to environmental abuse depends on ethical evolution. People have to grow up, ethically, to a realization that the concepts of right and wrong do not end with man-to-man relationships."1

Leopold attempted to illustrate that ethics has evolved from rights given by individuals to one another and step by step expanded to include one's family, tribe, region, nation, race, all races, some animals (SPCA), and thence all life ( Schweitzer); his point was that ethics should continue to include the entire natural world, including plants and rocks. Although Leopold's perspective is, from an environmentalist point of view, beyond reproach, the argument breaks down at many stages. Tribal morality, for example, undoubtedly pre

____________________
1
R. Nash, "Environmental Ethics", in Environmental Spectrum, ed. R. O. Clark and P. C. List ( New York: Van Nostrand, 1974), pp. 142-143, quoted in R. E. Dunlap and K. D. Van Liere, "Land Ethics or Golden Rule", Journal of Social Issues 33 ( 1977): 1-11. See also I. Barbour, ed., Western Man and Environmental Ethics (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1973); and D. H. Strong and E. S. Rosenfield, "Ethics or Expediency: An Environmental Question", Environmental Affairs 5 ( 1976): 255-270.

-204-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
American Environmentalism: Values, Tactics, Priorities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 239

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?