Do No Harm: A Cross-Disciplinary, Cross-Cultural Climate Ethics

De Ethica 1 (2):05-22 (2014)
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Anthropogenic climate change has become a hot button issue in the scientific, economic, political, and ethical sectors. While the science behind climate change is clear, responses in the economic and political realms have been unfulfilling. On the economic front, companies have marketed themselves as pioneers in the quest to go green while simultaneously engaging in environmentally destructive practices and on the political front, politicians have failed to make any significant global progress. I argue that climate change needs to be framed as an ethical issue to make serious progress towards the path to a sustainable human civilization. In an effort to motivate the urgency needed to confront climate change, I argue that climate change seriously affects human beings living here and now, and if one cares about unnecessarily harming fellow innocent living human beings, then one should care about one’s own environmental impact related to climate change. Since this argument does not depend upon any specific philosophical, religious, or ethical tradition but applies regardless of one’s particular background, I hope to induce genuine concern among all human beings regarding this issue.

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Casey Rentmeester
University of South Florida (PhD)


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