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Chapter 2: Environmental Ethics
and Economics
values and choices
Culture, Worldview and the
Culture is the ensemble of knowledge,
beliefs, values and learned ways of life
shared by a group of people.
Worldview is a personal culture and
experiences that influence his/her behavior
towards meaning, operation and essence
(point of view).
Guns, Germs & Steel→"why is it that you
white people developed so much cargo and
brought it back to New Guinea but we had
little cargo of our own"
World Map
Tropic of Cancer
Arctic circle
Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Equator
Tropic of Capricorn
Antarctic circle
Factors shaping the worldview and
perception of the environment
Political idiology
some sites may be sacred in some religions but
not others; for some people, as they migrated,
they consider the new place hostile
should government intervene to protect the
Economic factors
interest in using proper technology vs own gains
Environmental Ethics
Ethics: set of moral values/principles
relativists: ethics change with each society,
values may change
universalist: different societies do agree in
many moral standards, values are not that
Ethical Standard: criteria that helps
differentiate right from wrong
Ethical Consideration
Anthropocentrism: humans are the center of the
universe, the rest does not matter
Biocentrism: evaluates actions in terms of the impact
on the local environment and other species. All living
things have equal value.
Ecocentrism: evaluates actions in terms of the
integrity of the ecological system
Ecofeminism: argues that the female point of view is
more in tune to the environment than that of men.
Conservation & Preservation
conservation: natural resources are there to
be used, but with it comes the responsability
of managing it wisely.
preservation: we should protect all natural
environment in a pristine, unaltered state.
Environmental Justice
Involves the fair and equitable treatment of
all people with respect to environmental
policy and practice, regardless of their
income, race or ethnicity
Consider de place where you grew up. Where
were the factories, waste dumps and polluting
facilities located? Who lives near by?
Economics: Aproaches and
Environmental Implications
Environmental protection is generally good for the
Types of economies
capitalist: relation between buyers and sellers
determines the market
centrally planned: government determines the
allocation of resources.
mixed economies: capitalism-socialism mixed
Economy & Environment linkage
Ecosystem services: support the life that
makes our economic activity possible. Some
examples are:
air cycle
water cycle
nutrient cycles
recycling systems
pollination by animals
Economic Activity
Economic Philosophy
Classical: when free to pursue their own
economic self-interest in a competitive
marketplace, marketplace will behave as if
guided by an "invisible hand" that ensures
their actions will benefit society as a whole.
Neoclassical: supply and demand are the
rules for the pricing of the goods.
Neoclassical Economics and its
The four fundamental assumptions of neoclassical
capitalism are:
resourses are infinite or sustainable
costs and benefits are only between buyer and seller
ocean pollution today
long-term effects should be discounted
Easter island
forestry decision
growth is good
used as measurement of development
Ecological vs Environmental
Ecological economists argue that the natural
systems operate in a self-renewing cylce, it is not a
linear progressive manner; and because of it growth
can not be sustained as it is today; they advocate
steady-state economies.
Environmental Economists on the other hand argue
that it can be obtained if following the neoclassical
principles and improving it with newer and better
Measurement of Economic Progress
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)
conventional economy in which:
positive contributions which are not paid with
money are added (volunteer work, parenting)
negative impacts are then substracted
(crime, pollution, social gaps, etc)
It is controversial
Giving Monetary Value to Ecosystem
Goods and Services
can you give monetary value to rain? clean air?
can you value natural meadows or lakes or rivers?
ecosystems are said to have nonmarket values
(intangible cultural, ecological, spiritual)
These are said to be not compatible with the system
of monetary valuation used today.
Contingent valuation uses surveys to determine how
much people are willing to pay to protect or restore a
Other Means of Evaluating Ecosystem
comparison of prices between homes near
parks and similar ones in size and types, but
away from parks. Gives dollar value to
landscape, views, peace, quiet.
measuring the cost required to restore
natural systems that have been damaged or
to mitigate harm from pollution
Responce of Corporations
green wave
consumer preference is now more towards
sustainable products and businesses
improve labor conditions (responce to media
coverage and consumer concern)
energy efficiency
less toxic materials
minimize greenhouse gas emissions