Taking Responsibility for the Environment.

Nnenna Nick-Obiegbu Written by Nnenna Nick-Obiegbu · 1 min read >

The environment can be impacted by economic activity in a variety of ways. The list of potential issues is very broad and includes things like ozone layer damage, factory and car emissions, beer can and plastic wrap littering, oil spills, industrial waste disposal, and garbage dumped into the sea or rivers. These issues have become much more prominent over the past fifty years. This is due in part to the fact that as economic activity has grown in scope, its potentially negative environmental effects have also grown often more than proportionately.

Today, villages may have grown into a sizable vacation destinations with hundreds of thousands of tourists each holiday season, and the amount and type of waste it produces may have significantly altered. Due to the significantly larger scale of operations, without careful management, it would only take very little time for its beaches to be littered and the surrounding waters to become so contaminated that it posed a health risk. Similar to this, small-scale economic activity that was formerly easily absorbed by the ecology has exploded in many locations, acquiring a dimension well capable of causing long-term harm.

Concern over the effects of economic activities on the environment has increased as this process gained momentum.
Growing prosperity has also influenced people’s interest in the environment’s quality. Simply said, people in rich nations can now afford to be much pickier. People who are unsure about where their next meal will come from are less likely to worry excessively or spend limited resources on enhancing the quality of the water in the nearby stream. However, when more pressing needs are met, individuals in wealthy nations are now demanding environmental quality standards that their great-grandparents could never have imagined.

The idea behind this is that when determining environmental harm and how far human interests and projects should be curbed in order to avoid it, the ultimate reference point should be the well-being of people: both those who are directly involved and those who are likely to be indirectly affected; both those who are currently alive and members of future generations.

When examined from an ethical perspective, the typical environmental issue usually resolves into a decision on whether it is acceptable to accept some negative side effects in the context of a given situation. Someone is engaged in economic activity with a clear economic goal as the main focus, never to harm the environment. However, injury to the environment is a natural byproduct of such activity, and as a result, harm to certain people’s interests follows. Even though cost-benefit analysis tools can be very helpful in determining what expenses, both financial and otherwise, might be reasonable to incur in order to achieve certain environmental objectives, they should never be employed in isolation from more fundamental moral considerations.

As a result, their findings cannot be used to defend the choice to intentionally cause injury to someone because they do not offer an absolute comparison of value.

Let us all make a conscious effort to take care of our home(earth), we have just one Earth.

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