From the deontological ethics, which is a moral framework conceived by Immanuel Kant, there is a better understanding of ethical and moral responsibility, where it is explained that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined as a function of reason (Gardiner 392). It is further stated that right and wrong assigns an infinite worth to human beings. This means that human beings are rational based on the fact that they are free to form their own intentions and act upon them, but such intentions must be backed by reason. In the same way, it is argued that the need to protect the environment is not one that must be forced on humans through legalities, but through an infinite worth on human beings that acknowledges a function of reason to do so. With man’s responsibility to protect the environment seen as an ethical or moral responsibility, there is better self-consciousness to fulfill that responsibility.One of the major reasons why it is argued that humans have an ethical or moral responsibility to protect the environment is that we have a moral allegiance to pay our debt to the past generation, which handed the existing environment to us. Until today, nations of the world continue to depend very heavily on natural resources for their socio-economic development. Meanwhile, most of these natural resources, which are components of the environment, existed years ago, when none of us were born (Chan 40). This means that the existing environment was once the property of the past generation, which they had every right to use in a way that pleased them and satisfied their selfish needs, including the total destruction of it. However, the past generation did not choose this line, but put in conscious efforts to ensure that the environment remained preserved and conserved for those of us in the present generation. It is not surprising that up to date, there is sufficient forestland, water bodies, soil, and mineral resources to satisfy our present needs. If deontological ethics teaches that we are free to formulate our actions but our actions must be based on function of reason, then we have a function to reason to ensure that we pay our debts to the past generation by following their steps in remaining responsible to the environment.The present generation has often described itself as more advanced than the past generation, which lived before modern technology was invented. One of the major bases
Chan, Kai M.A. “The Golden Rule and the Potentiality Principle: Future Persons and Contingent Interests.” Journal of Applied Psychology 21.1 (2004): 33–41. Print.
Clayton, Susan. “Models of Justice in the Environmental Debate.” Journal of Social Issues. 56.3 (2000): 459–474. Print.
Elliot, Robert. Environmental Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Print.
Feinberg, Joel. Environmental Ethics: What Really Matters, What Really Works. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.
Gardiner, Stephen M. “The Real Tragedy of the Commons.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 30.4 (2002): 387–416. Print.
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