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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.

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

by SKeira Dec 05, 2017
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.

Art Imitates Life... and Death

by SKeira Jul 22, 2015

Have We Been Asking the Wrong Questions About Climate Change Science? Why Strong Climate Change Ethical Duties Exist Before Scientific Uncertainties are Resolved.

by SKeira Jul 22, 2015
Are we asking climate change science some of the wrong questions? If what we do about the threat of climate change is an ethical issue, how does this affect how we talk about: (a) climate change science, (b) climate change "alarmists,"(d) the appropriate role of climate change skeptics, (e) what we mean when we make claims that climate change science is "settled", (d) what should nations, sub-national governments. organizations, and individuals do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in light of what science is saying about climate change impacts?