|345-HSD-VA, Environment and Society |
It’s clear that many individual and societal changes will need to be made in order to slow or stop damage to our environment. We know, for example, we need to burn less oil. But how do we actually go about getting individuals to make choices that reduce their consumption? How do we get societies to dramatically scale back on things we have come to see as necessary? What are the ethical issues that arise when we try to make people change their attitudes and behaviour? In this course, we will explore some of the ethical questions that arise in discussions of our relationship to the environment. For example, is a livable environment a human right? If so, do we have a moral obligation to change our behavior to protect the rights of people we’ve never met? What about people who have not yet been born? Is it fair to expect developing countries to restrict their use of fossil fuels for environmental reasons when they have not contributed significantly to environmental damage, and when doing so will interfere with their ability to raise their standard of living?