Ethical Issue Of The Earth Deterioration

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Reasoning About an Ethical Issue

Throughout our daily lives, we see more technological advances and reactive actions aimed at tackling the already polluted environment. Society has made far-reaching adaptations to the way we all live, from new automobiles, such as the Tesla all-electric vehicles, to powerful and innovative new pieces of legislation that grant households with possible tax write-offs for environmentally friendly behavior. Yet, even these advances and efforts still have taken years of debating and arguing to have gotten to where they are. Recently, more reports, models, and articles over the climate change debate have been released and a lot of them are claiming the same. If we as a human society don’t change our course of action within the next decade or so, the damage to our environments and especially the planet will become too toxic and overwhelming for us. However, there has been some agreeance between the two sides of this argument. In the last ten years or so, irrefutable and accepted information along with data, models, projections, visual evidence, case studies and more has come out showing the rise in global temperature alongside levels of carbon dioxide and methane in our atmosphere. In spite of the recent and long-awaited realization from certain corporations, organizations, and political figures, society now has another argument at hand. Whether or not the rising global climate issues, which affect every human on Earth, is even the human race’s fault. Some claim that although already agreeing on the temperature change and the already proven techniques to aid the earth, there is more to do to greater enhance daily life for millions if not billions of people. Global warming and climate change are due, partly if not fully, to the human race and the poor living habits that have become adopted throughout the world.

When analyzing the long and drawn-out argument over who is at fault over the Earth’s deterioration and its possible solutions, there is a connection that can be made to the theory of Rogerian argument. Carl Rogers expresses his thoughts through his psychotherapy approach and then relates it to a common day rhetoric scenario. His claim, that when there are individuals deep in an argument, most of the time there is a sense of never persuading your counterpart and the frustration that comes along with it. Rogers continues to offer his solution to this common dilemma. His simple fix is being more of a listener when involved in such a debate. Taking the time to hear the opposition’s points and focuses, and using that to further the communication (Lunsford).

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While the Rogerian argument connection involves each side of the debate and how they can both become a better understanding of what each other want by listening more, Aristotle’s ethics of life may resonate more with the nonbelievers of climate change. Aristotle believed that humans need to stay out of their own way essentially. That all humans have specific functions and interfering with our ways of life can do us more harm than good. Translated to the climate change debate, if society keeps interfering with how we live now we will end up causing more damage to basic human function.

On the other hand, you have those who believe we must interject and change our course of action. This community sees that the human race has had a poor effect on the world and environment and they heed the warnings that scientists and environmental organizations put out. This group also realizes that the fight for a cleaner and more efficient earth is not just for this generation or the next one, but the ones that follow. They recognize the long-term consequences and have shown initiative to make waves in the “green” community. The main concern for these people is the unknown along with the already clear statistical data that has been released. While the data and models help show how fast pollution levels have risen, the future models only look worse.

This more concerned and active group would not be compatible with Aristotle’s ethic of life. Actually, they would be the complete opposite. These individuals go out of their way to break the norm. They research and are constantly searching for the newest most efficient solutions to the Earth’s crippling Ozone layer or new technologies to clean our oceans along with much more. One theory that would relate to these people is one that focuses on morals and compassion. The ethical theory pathos is one that could be a motivation or form of inspiration. One of the main arguments from this side of the controversy is that climate change will not affect this generation, yet it will affect the ones to come. This argument clearly strikes a chord with a large mass of advocates. The thought behind it is that the world that society gets to enjoy now may not be there for our loved ones in the future. While a bit of an exaggeration, the thought of raising a family in an environment and society that is not as pleasant and enjoyable as the one we live in is simply hard to fathom and ends up becoming a moral and emotional issue.

These two ethically charged groups are now in back and forth. Throughout past years events such as the United States abandoning its role in the Paris Agreement was a real loss in the fight for a more sustainable planet on the United States front. While there are negative events like such, there have also been advancements and a change of culture regarding improving the quality of life. For example, the rise and popularity of cycling in major cities have been clear and noticeable. And so is the effect of the cycling community. Lowered emissions along with a decrease in carbon footprints have been associated with the increase in cyclists. In a recent article even more improvements in Europe are making waves in the bicycle and eco-friendly community, “London announced a plan to spend a billion dollars on bike highways and cycling infrastructure late last year. Oslo wants to transform its downtown into a car-free zone by 2019. German cities are testing out bike-based cargo delivery services. And bike-friendly policies have made Copenhagen and Amsterdam cycling havens” (Sisson).

As we continue to watch this tug of war between the two sides, one can only hope that agreement over climate change is followed by initiative and advocacy.

When an individual looks at the models, statistics, and case studies there is little argument as to what is occurring in our world’s environments. It is clear to see that the measured atmosphere and oceans are not trending in a natural direction, and if they do it is offset by the much larger and powerful forces of human beings. However, going through these pieces of data and analysis does not take into account the moral and emotional theory. In truth, it is more leaning toward the logos ethical theory. The breakdown and interpretation of all the numeric data and consuming the case study experiments are all focused on fact. It is presented in such a way that doesn’t allow for the bias of one’s morals or only consuming selective information.

So where does that leave the ongoing tug-of-war that is the climate change debate?

Essentially, in the same place as it’s been in the last ten or so years. The constant dance between the non-believer politicians and environmentalist scientists continues. Back and forth each party pushing their agenda more and more. But through a different lens and a new form of trying to achieve a common goal that benefits us all, we may be able to take steps if not leaps towards ending this controversy.

A major step that can be taken to advance the fight for either side and being able to understand what either party wants is what Carl Rogers was preaching. If society takes Rogers Advice and puts it to good use, each faction can further comprehend each other and begin to form a mutual and beneficial goal. Although easier said than done, the argument over environmental change has gone on for so long that both parties have become almost stubborn and at times refuse to listen to the opposition. Perhaps a step back and reassessment will allow for the fix to this worldwide problem to prevail.  


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