Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability

Question 1: Are we over-reacting and over-estimating the extent of Environmental sustainability degradation and despoliation and their effects?

From an ethical perspective, a response to these issues can be justified using both principled (deontological) and consequentialist (utilitarian) arguments.
•The principled argument: Natural justice would be the basis for opposition to what many would argue to be unsustainable environmental depletion and pollution linked to the double-standards of critical decision makes. An important factor in this debate is the issue of property rights. We (societies) have created the construct of property rights as a way of managing important parts of our lives this development has been a significant force in economic development, but it has not been a universal approach.
To be a principled-based argument, the case has to be that the decisions and/or the processes by which such decisions are made are inadequate and unjust at the general, societal level.
Resource: a value-laden concept, carrying with it connotations of something to be used. Even the notion of usage is usually considered in terms of economic usage. This is a particular way of seeing‘ nature – as a resource, as something to be exploited.
•The consequentialist argument: Opposition to and criticism of current decision-making processes that impact upon sustainability issues that stem from a consequentialist perspective will be as a result of weighing all the ramification of the decisions in terms of their effects upon various groups. As a result of this calculative approach, the consequentialist perspective is a stance that can be employed to both support and condemn environmental exploitation. These are often far from easy decisions and decision processes, although utilitarian considerations will often lie at the heart of political and planning decisions.

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Question 2: What are the implications of relying exclusively upon enlightened/rational self-interest to drive sustainable corporate behavior and practices?‘

A decision based exclusively upon rational self-interest fails to address the wider significance of individual choices and decisions. Whilst our actions and behaviours affect others, they have ethical import.
Ethical egoism (sometimes referred to as possessive egoism), with its reliance upon market signals to reflect social preferences, would, at best, appear to require an ambivalent stance towards environmental issues.