Climate Change: A Challenge for Ethics

In Walter Leal Filho Evangelos Manolas (ed.), English through Climate Change. Democritus University of Thrace. pp. 167 (2012)
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Climate change – and its most dangerous consequence, the rapid overheating of the planet – is not the offspring of a natural procedure; instead, it is human-induced. It is only the aftermath of a specific pattern of conomic development, one that focuses mainly on economic growth rather than on quality of life and sustainability. Since climate change is a major threat not only to millions of humans, but also to numerous non-human species and other forms of life, as well as to the equilibrium and the viability of the very planet, addressing it is of dire importance. In this chapter it will be argued that addressing the threat of climate change is primarily a task and a challenge for ethics, since the stabilization and gradual amelioration of the situation requires abandoning an up to now dominant model of life, longestablished customs and a so far cogent system of moral values. It will be further maintained that this for ethics might – or, even, should – become a new categorical imperative, since preserving the viability of the planet is a fundamental moral duty not only towards the existing members of the moral community, but also towards future generations.
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