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The Ethics of Climate Change?

Although difficult to express  in this medium, that title should be accompanied by quite a bit of sarcasm and cynicism. I recently read an article entitled “The Ethics of Climate Change” which discussed largely the economic and business ethics side of global climate change. And I can’t say I agreed with it. In fact it annoyed me quite a lot. In the article, the author talks about weighing the potential costs against the potential benefits. But when this is the kind of thinking that we are employing  on an issue like this, especially when we are pouring literally billions each year into destroying this planet (people and all), then something needs to change.

Now, of course I realize that businesses are most likely to make a big change in climate change efforts in this country. Where the money is is always where the major players are. And what they’re most likely to listen to, most of the time, is how dumping money into climate change efforts is going to effect them, in which case the previously mentioned article might be on the right track. But this is not how it should be. The fact that our planet is slowly dying should be enough to give them pause. So should the fact that an estimated 5 million people die each year due to the effects of climate change and fossil fuels.

5 million.

7.6 million is the number of people killed by cancer each year.


If that isn’t enough to get through to anybody, then it might be a lost cause… As of now, this is the only planet that we have that is habitable. And as far as we know, we are the only life, let alone intelligent life, in the universe. So it seems irresponsible, if not downright idiotic, to just “let the next generation deal with it”. It shouldn’t matter what is going on in the world, what war we’ve gotten ourselves in to, or what economic throes we are currently in. You can’t put a cost/ benefit analysis on the longevity of the human race. No one can just ignore the death of future generations. And perhaps this is because they don’t have to. They aren’t even made aware of it.

The other major problem with climate change philosophy is public awareness. Compared to other countries, the effort to fight climate change in the United States is just sad. The people who are actually aware of the seriousness of the issue generally don’t have the power or voice to make enough of an impact. The ones who do for some reason like to keep it a secret and ignore its existence. (Remember the whole climate change is a myth thing…) And to me, this just doesn’t make sense.

What I do think is that we need a complete overhaul of how we view climate change and what we are doing about it. If we don’t, we will never make any real progress.


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