Chapter 6 pdf

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9/26/2011

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© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.

Lecture Outlines

Chapter 6 Environmental
Ethics and Economics

Environment:

The Science behind the Stories

4th Edition

Withgott/Brennan

© 2011 Pearson Education, Inc.


Commercially valuable uranium deposits in Australia
occur on sacred Aboriginal land


The Mirrar oppose the mine for economic, social,
cultural, spiritual, ethical, and health reasons

-
Despite the economic benefits of jobs, income,
development, and a higher standard of living

Central Case: The Mirrar Clan Confronts the
Jabiluka Uranium Mine

Mining options may be
revisited due to increased
uranium prices

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Culture and worldviews affect perceptions


The landscape is a sacred text to
Australian Aborigines

-
Holding their beliefs and values

-
Equal to the Christian Bible or
Islamic Koran


Spirit ancestors leave signs and
lessons in the landscape

-
Aborigines construct mental
maps of their surroundings in
―walkabouts‖

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Culture and worldview


Our relationship with the environment depends on
assessments of costs and benefits

-
But culture and worldview also affect this relationship


Culture

= knowledge, beliefs, values, and learned ways
of life shared by a group of people


Worldview

= a person’s or group’s beliefs about the
meaning, operation, and essence of the world

-
People draw dramatically different conclusions about
a situation based on their worldviews

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Many factors shape worldviews


Religious and spiritual beliefs shape our worldview
and perception of the environment


Community experiences shape attitudes


Political ideology: government’s role in protecting
the environment


Economics


Vested interest

= the strong interest of an individual
in the outcome of a decision

-
Results in gain or loss for that individual

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Environmental ethics


Ethics

= the study of good and bad, right and wrong

-
Moral principles or values held by a person or society

-
Promoting human welfare, maximizing freedom,
minimizing pain and suffering

-
Relativists

= ethics varies with social context

-
Universalists

= right and wrong remains the same
across cultures and situations


Ethics is a
prescriptive pursuit
: it tells us how we
ought

to
behave

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Ethical standards: judging right and wrong


Ethical standards

= criteria that help differentiate right
from wrong


Categorical imperative
: the golden rule

-
Most world religions teach this same lesson

-
How would you feel if your sacred homeland was
defiled with a uranium mine?


Principle of utility

= something right produces the most
practical benefits for the most people

-
A uranium mine could benefit thousands of people

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We value things in two ways


Instrumental
(utilitarian)

value
: valuing something for
its pragmatic benefits by using it

-
Animals are valuable because we can eat them


Intrinsic
(inherent)

value
: valuing something for its own
sake because it has a right to exist

-
Animals are valuable because they live their own lives


Things can have both instrumental and intrinsic value

-
But different people emphasize different values


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Environmental ethics


Environmental ethics

= application of ethical standards
to relationships between human and nonhuman entities


Hard to resolve: it depends on the person’s ethical
standards and domain of ethical concern

Should we save
resources for future
generations?

Is it OK for some
communities to be exposed
to more pollution?

Should humans drive
other species to
extinction?

When is it OK to destroy a
forest to create jobs?

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We have expanded our ethical consideration


People have granted intrinsic value and ethical
consideration to more and more people and things


Including animals, communities, and nature


Animal rights activists voice concern for animals that
are hunted, raised in pens, or used for testing


Rising economic prosperity broadens our ethical domain


Science shows people are part of nature


All organisms are interconnected


Many non
-
Western cultures often have broader ethical
domains

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Three ethical perspectives


Anthropocentrism
= only humans have intrinsic value


Biocentrism

= some nonhuman life has intrinsic value


Ecocentrism

= whole ecological systems have value

-
A holistic perspective that preserves connections

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History of environmental ethics


Christianity’s attitude toward the environment:
anthropocentric hostility or stewardship?



The Industrial Revolution increased consumption and
pollution


Transcendentalism

= nature is a manifestation of the
divine


People need to experience nature


Ralph Waldo Emerson
,
Henry David Thoreau’s

Walden

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The preservation ethic


Unspoiled nature should be
protected


for its own intrinsic value


John Muir

had an
ecocentric


viewpoint


He was a tireless advocate

for wilderness
preservation

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The conservation ethic


Use natural resources wisely for the greatest good for the
most people (the utilitarian standard
)


―Wise Use‖


Gifford Pinchot had an anthropocentric viewpoint

“Conservation means the wise use of the earth and its
resources for the lasting good of men”

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The land ethic


Healthy ecological systems

depend on protecting all

parts


Aldo Leopold believed

the land ethic changes

the role of people from

conquerors of the land to

citizens of it


The land ethic can help

guide decision making


We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us.
When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may
begin to use it with love and respect.”

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Deep ecology, ecofeminism, and justice


Some scholars feel that male
-
dominated societies cause
both social and environmental problems


Domination and competition degrade women and the
environment


Ecofeminism

= the female worldview interprets the
world through interrelationships and cooperation


More compatible with nature


Environmental justice

= the fair and equitable treatment
of all people regarding environmental issues


The poor and minorities have less information, power,
and money

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Environmental justice (EJ)


The poor and minorities are exposed to more pollution,
hazards, and environmental degradation












North Carolina wanted to put a toxic waste site in the
county with the highest percentage of African Americans

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Significant inequities still remain


Significant inequities remain despite progress toward
racial equality


Economic gaps between rich and poor have widened


Minorities and the poor still suffer substandard
environmental conditions


Poor Latino farm workers in California suffer from
unregulated air pollution (dairy and pesticide emissions)


Organized groups convinced regulators to enforce the
Clean Air Act and state legislatures to pass new laws

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Environmental justice and Hurricane Katrina

People most affected by the hurricane and its aftermath
were poor and nonwhite

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Environmental justice: an international issue


Wealthy nations impose pollution on poorer nations

-
Hazardous waste is expensive to dispose of


Companies pay poor nations to take the waste

-
It is dumped illegally

-
It may be falsely labeled as harmless or beneficial

-
Workers are uninformed or unprotected


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The environment vs. economics


Is there a trade
-
off between economics and the
environment?


People say protection costs too much money, interferes
with progress, or causes job loses


But environmental protection is good for the economy


Traditional economic thought ignores or underestimates
contributions of the environment to the economy


Human economies
depend

on the environment

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Uranium mining: ethics vs. economics


Uranium mining provides jobs and income

-
Unemployment is above 16% among Aborigines

-
20% of mine employees are Aboriginal

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Economics


Economics

studies how people use resources to provide
goods and services in the face of demand


Most environmental and economic problems are linked


Root
oikos
,
meaning ―household,‖ gave rise to both
ecology

and
economics


Economy

= a social system that converts resources into:



Goods
: manufactured materials that are bought, and



Services
: work done for others as a form of business


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Types of modern economies


Subsistence economy
= people get their daily needs
directly from nature or their own production


They do not purchase or trade products


Capitalist market economy

= buyers and sellers interact
to determine prices and production of goods and services


Centrally planned economy

= the government
determines how to allocate resources


Mixed economy

= governments intervene to some extent


Unregulated financial practices caused the
2009/current recession

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Governments intervene in a market economy


Even in mixed market economies, governments
intervene to:


Eliminate unfair advantages held by single buyers or
sellers


Provide social services (national defense, medical
care, education)


Provide safety nets for elderly, disaster victims, etc.


Manage the commons


Mitigate pollution and other threats to health and
quality of life

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The economy exists within the environment


Economies receive inputs
(resources)


Process them


Discharge outputs (waste)


Traditional economics


Ignores the environment


Resources are ―limitless‖


Wastes are absorbed at no
cost

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Environmental view of economics

Human economies exist within, and depend on, the
environment for goods and services

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Environmental systems support economies


Environmental goods = natural resources (sun’s energy,
water, trees, rocks, fossil fuels)


Ecosystem services

= essential services support the life
that makes economic activities possible

*
Soil formation




*
Pollination

*
Water purification


*
Nutrient cycling

*
Climate regulation


*
Waste treatment


Economic activities affect the environment


Depleting natural resources, generating pollution

15 of 24 ecosystem services are being degraded or
used unsustainably

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Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”


Classical economics
: when people pursue economic
self
-
interest in a competitive marketplace


The market is guided by an ―invisible hand‖


Society benefits


This idea is a pillar of free
-
market thought today


It is also blamed for economic inequality between
rich and poor


Critics feel that market capitalism promotes
environmental degradation

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Neoclassical economics includes psychology


What psychological factors
underlie consumer choices?


Market prices reflect
supply

vs.
demand


Buyers vs. sellers


The ―right‖ quantities of a
product are produced


―Optimal‖ levels of
pollution, resource use

The market favors equilibrium between supply and demand

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Cost
-
benefit analysis


Cost
-
benefit analysis

= costs of a proposed action are
compared to benefits that result from the action


If benefits > costs: pursue the action


Cost
-
benefit analysis is controversial: not all costs and
benefits can be identified or defined


It is easy to quantify wages paid to miners


But hard to assess the cost of a scarred landscape


Monetary benefits are overrepresented


Analysis is biased in favor of economic development


Biased against environmental protection

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Neoclassical
economics: positive aspects


Capitalist market systems operate according to
neoclassical economics

-
Enormous wealth and jobs are generated

-
Environmental problems are also created


Four Assumptions
of neoclassical economics:

1.
Resources are infinite or substitutable

2.
Costs and benefits are internal

3.
Long
-
term effects are discounted

4.
Growth is good

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Some resources are unique and can’t be replaced.


Many environmental problems develop slowly
and affect future generations.


Costs and benefits of a transaction affect people
other than the buyer or seller (
external costs
).


Taxpayers clean up pollution.


The ―pie‖ can’t grow infinitely.


Economic growth is the yardstick that measures
progress.

Neoclassical economics: negative aspects

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People suffer external costs

External costs include water pollution, health problems,
property damage, and harm to other organism


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Some examples of externalities


External costs
: borne by
someone not involved in a
transaction


Hard to account for and
eliminate


Human health


Property damage


Declines in desirable elements
(resources)


Aesthetic damage


Stress and anxiety


Declining real estate values

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We live in a growth
-
oriented economy


Growth is used to measure progress

-
All economic growth is seen as good and necessary

-
Economic growth is
always

good news


Modern global economic growth is unprecedented

-
Higher trade, production, amount and value of goods


The United States has a ―more and bigger‖ attitude

-
Americans are in a frenzy of consumption

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The dramatic rise in per
-
person consumption has severe
environmental consequences

Is the growth paradigm good for us?

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Can growth go on forever?


Economic growth comes from:

-
Increased inputs (labor, natural resources)

-
Economic development = improved efficiency of
production (technology, ideas, equipment)


Uncontrolled economic growth is unsustainable

-
Technology can push back limits, but not forever

-
Efficient resource extraction and production
perpetuate the illusion that resources are unlimited


Many economists believe technology can solve anything

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Cornucopians vs. Cassandras


Cornucopians = economists, businesspeople,
policymakers

-
Improved technology allows continued economic
growth

-
Human innovation, technologies, and market forces
increase access to resources and avoid depletion


Cassandras = scientists and others

-
Limits to Growth, Beyond the Limits, Limits to
Growth: The Thirty
-
year Update

-
Computer models predict economic collapse as
resources become scarce

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Computer simulations project future
trends

Current consumption
patterns predict economic
collapse

Results of policies
of sustainability

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Other types of economies


Environmental economics

= unsustainable economies
have high population growth and inefficient resource use

-
Modify neoclassical economics to increase efficiency

-
Calls for reform


Ecological economics

= civilizations cannot overcome
environmental limitations

-
Endless economic growth is not possible

-
Calls for revolution


Steady
-
state economies
mirror natural ecological
systems

they neither grow nor shrink

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Measuring economic progress: GDP


Gross Domestic Product

(GDP) = the total monetary
value of goods and services
a nation produces


Does not account for
nonmarket values


Does not express only
desirable

economic
activity


Pollution, oil spills,
disasters, etc. increase
GDP

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GPI: An alternative to the GDP


Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)

= differentiates
between desirable and undesirable economic activity

-
Positive contributions (e.g., volunteer work) not paid
for with money are added to economic activity

-
Negative impacts (crime, pollution) are subtracted

In the United States, GDP has risen greatly, but not GPI

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More green accounting indicators


Net Economic Welfare (NEW) = adjusts GDP by adding
the value of leisure time and personal transactions

-
While deducting costs of environmental degradation


Human Development Index

= assesses a nation’s standard
of living, life expectancy, and education


Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) = based on
income, wealth distribution, resource depletion


These indicators give a more accurate indication of a
nation’s welfare

-
Very controversial, hard to practice

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Valuing ecosystem goods and services


Our society mistreats the very systems that sustain it

-
The market ignores/undervalues ecosystem values


Nonmarket values

= values not included in the price of a
good or service (e.g., ecological, cultural, spiritual)


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Valuing ecosystems goods and services


Environmental and ecological economists have tried to
assign monetary values to ecosystems services.


Surveys: determine how much people are willing to
pay to protect or restore a resource


Money, time, effort people expend to travel to parks
for recreation


Inferring the dollar value of landscapes, views, and
peace and quiet


Costs required to restore natural systems

The biosphere provides at least $44 trillion (2009 dollars) worth
of ecosystem services per year


more than the gross domestic
product of all nations combined!

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The global value of all ecosystem services


The global economic value
of all ecosystem services
equals $46 trillion

-
More than the GDP of all
nations combined


Protecting land gives 100
times more value than
converting it to some other
use

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Markets can fail


Market failure

= occurs when markets ignore:

-
The environment’s positive impacts

-
The negative effects of activities on the environment or
people (external costs)


Government intervention counters market failure

-
Laws and regulations

-
Green taxes

= penalize harmful activities

-
Economic incentives to promote fairness,
conservation, and sustainability (e.g., pollution
permits)

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The market can counter market failure


Ecolabeling

= tells
consumers which brands
use environmentally
benign processes

-
A powerful incentive
for businesses to
change

-
Dolphin
-
safe tuna,
organic food


Socially responsible
investing
in sustainable
companies

-
$2.7 trillion in 2007

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Corporations are responding to concerns


Industries, businesses, and
corporations make money by
―greening‖ their operations

-
Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream),
Patagonia (clothing)


Industries donate to
environmental groups,

preserve land, etc.


Manufacturers use recycled
materials, cut energy use, etc.


Local sustainable businesses

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A “green wave” of consumer preferences


Large corporations are riding the ―green wave‖ of
consumer preference for sustainable products

-
McDonald’s, Starbucks, Intel, Ford, Dow, etc.


Greenwashing
: consumers are misled into thinking
companies are acting more sustainably than they are

-
―Pure‖ bottled water may not be safer or better


Any changes made by large companies will help

-
Hewlett
-
Packard, Wal
-
Mart


Corporate actions hinge on consumer behavior

-
People must support sustainable economics

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Conclusion


Recent developments have brought economic approaches
to bear on environmental protection and conservation

-
Corporate sustainability, ecolabeling, new ways of
measuring growth, valuation of ecosystem services


Environmental ethics has expanded people’s ethical
considerations

-
Environmental justice


Economic welfare can be enhanced without growth

-
Increasing economic health and environmental quality