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Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

Learn how ethics is part of our everyday lives by reading articles and stories that show ethical dilemmas are everywhere.

Reject Over Easy Eggs

by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
Announcement of voluntary recalls prompted by food safety concerns have become increasingly familiar. In 2006, there were E. coli O157 infections from fresh spinach. In 2007, contamination of pet food by melamine sickened or killed an unknown number of pets and animals and presaged a much larger issue with melamine contamination of milk that impacted China and other countries in 2008. Then there was the outbreak of salmonella infections associated with peanut butter in 2008-2009.

What Needs To Be Done To Assure That Ethical Principles Guide Climate Change Policy Making: A Look At The Bridge at The End OF The World

by SKeira Apr 15, 2015
Although this new book examines the causes of an unfolding failure to protect the environment on a matter of a number of global environmental issues, this book makes a major contribution to many issues that have been of interest to ClimateEthics. It is a provocative book, but in the best sense of the word. It is a compelling exhortation to look deeper and more critically at the institutions, dominant discourses, and reigning ideas structuring and defining global environmental controversies-matters that for the most part have gone unchallenged by civil society including environmental groups.

Are Ethical Arguments for Climate Change Action Weaker Than Self-Interest Based Arguments? Why Taking Ethical Arguments Off the Table Is Like A Soccer Team Unilaterally Taking The Goalie Out of the Net.

by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
Many commentators to ClimateEthics argue that since people are self-interested beings, it is more important to make arguments in support of climate change based upon self-interest rather than ethical arguments. Some go so far to assert that people don't care about ethics and therefore only self-interest-based arguments should be used to convince people to enact domestic climate change legislation. In other words, they argue:"get real" only self-interest arguments matter.

Provocative ethics speaker to appear on campus

by SKeira Apr 15, 2015
My own introduction to Regan's work came because of my interest in G. E. Moore, the-turn-of-the-(last)-century British philosopher who famously argued that the ultimate "goods" -- those that cannot be justified by reference to any other good -- are the appreciation of experiences of beauty and the appreciation of relationships with other people. All other values, he argued, ultimately can be measured by their tendency to contribute to detract from those things. Moore's ideas were very influential for the slightly younger generation of his students who became known as the Bloomsbury Group. Regan's book Bloomsbury's Prophet is very illuminating concerning Moore's influence on Bloomsbury. As part of a program for Penn State faculty to integrate ethics issues into their teaching, I used Regan's book to help create a unit on Moore's aesthetics in my English classes about Bloomsbury.

The Worst Ethical Scandal In the US Congress: Climate Change?

by SKeira Apr 15, 2015
Although the US media has recently paid attention to the comparatively minor ethical stories unfolding in the US House of Representatives, there is not a peep in the US media about a much more momentous unfolding ethical failure in the US Senate. While many press stories have appeared in the past few week about potential ethical problems of Representatives Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters in the House, ethical lapses that harm society because public servants may have abused their power in ways that enrich themselves or their families, the US Senate ethical failure is more ethically reprehensible because it is depriving tens of millions of people around the world of life itself or the natural resources necessary to sustain life. The failure in the US Senate to enact legislation to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions is a moral lapse of epic proportions. Yet it is not discussed this way.

Stopping the Worst Environmental Disaster?: An Ethical and Scientific Comparison of the Gulf Oil Spill and Climate Change.

by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
Over the last two months the U.S. Congress has been engaged in a great operatic drama over what many have called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history: the BP Gulf oil spill. Last week U.S Congressman angrily grilled BP CEO Tony Hayward about the causes of the disaster and BPs inability to shut off the oil flow. As this took place, the brown and orange slick continued its daily assault on fisheries, birds, and livelihoods.

Ethical Issues Raised By Carbon Trading

by SKeira Apr 15, 2015
This post examines ethical issues raised by the cap and trade regimes that have emerged to solve the climate change crisis in the last decade. These regimes have emerged: (1) at the international level under the Kyoto Protocol, (2) at the regional international level including in the European Union and between US states and the Canadian provinces, and (3) at the sub-national level including among Northeastern U.S states. There is also a large voluntary carbon trading market that has emerged around the world that is not the focus of this post although these regimes raise many ethical issues considered here.

Nigel Dower on Sustainability and Cosmopolitanism

by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
As one of the two public talks that preceded the recent Sustainability Ethics Conference at Penn State University Park, Nigel Dower presented a paper that highlighted the relationship between sustainability and cosmopolitanism. (Cosmopolitanism can be crudely broken down in terms of the following: Cosmos = cosmos, whole world, and polis = citizen, people, such that one is considered not simply as a citizen of a particular nation state but as a global citizen, a "citizen of the world.") The key point of Dower's talk was that there is a global dimension in most of the ways we talk about sustainability, even if it is usually working only in the background of our research as an orientational concept. Smaller projects, such as sustainable forestry, sustainable development, and sustainable tourism, already contain a more global, more cosmopolitan consideration of sustainability for the planet and all those who live on it. His thesis, then, is that sustainability requires cosmopolitanism as a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition. Cosmopolitanism is an ethically adequate basis for sustainability.