Environmental Ethics



Overthe last holiday, I visited Auntie Suzanna, my mother’s youngestsister. I have always envied her as she is well informed and drives abig car. I interviewed her to get insight on her profession. Sheworks for the World Bank in the Environmental Protection Department.She has served as the chief environmental assessor in California forthe past ten years and apart from being widely acquainted withenvironmental matters she is a supportive mentor.

AuntieSuzanna’s Key role is to support the decision making processthrough methodologies such as environmental economics. She conductsassessments on pollution and provides advice on how governments canbest weigh the costs of contamination and climate-related risks. Herdepartment also provides data that helps various states to identifysynergies and understand the repercussions of environment-relatedpolicies. She is actively involved in running various campaigns onenvironmental awareness.

Sheexplained that she has dealt with multiple environments relatedethical issues during her tenure. According to her, “Every humanbeing has an undeniable right to breathe clean air.” She explainedthat apart from people who pollute their air by smoking or releasingeffluents into water bodies, some individuals contaminate the air webreathe without recourse. As such, their actions are against themoral precepts as per the golden rule that requires people to bemindful of the repercussions of their actions to others.

Sheobserved that globalization has increased the level of environmentalpollution as people find easy avenues to dispose their wastes. Largeenterprises take advantage of poorly developed environmental laws indeveloping countries. According to her, “It is a matter of ethicssince organizations move their facilities to such ‘pollutionhavens’ instead of working in regulated states.” Althoughresponsible businesses are expected to implement reasonable measuresto reduce the impact of their activities to the society, the bigorganizations relocate to developing countries with the perceptionthat their emissions will be untraceable or unnoticed.

Forthe last century, a multi-stakeholder cooperative approach has beenadopted to solve the issue. The method entails creating a memorandumof understanding between developing governments, industries, andnon-state organizations. A group of health experts is consulted indesigning the most appropriate interventions and the timelines forimplementation. A team of assessors is also mandated to monitor thelevel of application and provide feedback to the related parties.Normally, some charges apply when an organization fails to implementchanges within a given period. “The model has been effective sinceair pollution from industrial operations is relatively easy toregulate,” she detected. She also explained that it has led tochanges in practices and improved the approach to preventativemaintenance. Preventative maintenance includes requesting industriesto adopt more environmentally friendly raw materials. Besides, theprocess has led to improved air pollution control systems andenhancing energy efficiencies that have lowered costs and increasedthe profitability of the industries.

However,she aired her concerns about the difficulty of the program incontrolling air pollution created by multiple sources. Smallenterprises unlike the industries are hard to regulate. They includebuilding and home heating systems, motor vehicle exhausts andagricultural wastes. Another challenge is the indoor pollution causedby the poor who use biofuels such as dung and agricultural waste forheating. The products release a broad range of toxic substances atmagnitudes above safe limits. She observed that indoor pollution isan ethical problem related to poverty. However, there are neededinterventions inform of clean and affordable energy such as cleanburning stove technology and household ventilation.