As the destructive consequences of environmental problems such as global warming, water scarcity and resource and biodiversity destruction have been felt ever more heavily, people are becoming more aware of the importance of and their responsibilities towards environmental protection. The causes of our problems are anthropogenic. The number of people working in what might be termed "environmental industries" or with environmental responsibilities in their day-to-day work has mushroomed. In many cases, however, individuals charged with protecting the environment have a set of empirical priorities: what *is* done, rather than moral priorities which consider what *should* be done. The need to harmonize environmental knowledge with ethical behaviour and thus achieve behavioural change and the internalization of environmentally ethical values has never been more urgent.
This book, developed as part of an EU programme to diffuse the application of environmental ethics to decision-making on pollution control, is a response to the need for a restatement of environmental ethics and for a code of behaviour and set of values that can be internalised and adopted to guide the actions by individuals at the sharp end of protecting the environment: decision-makers and environmental experts/executives/staff working in municipalities and public/government organisations throughout the EU and Turkey. It is nothing short of an ethical training manual that will guide environmental experts/decision-makers in making sound judgements and decisions and will act as a bridge between environmental knowledge and environmental behaviour.
The book will be essential reading for decision-makers and experts working in local authorities and governmental organisations with responsibility for environmental protection: for both graduate and postgraduate students in environment-related disciplines and for vocational education teachers with a focus on the environment.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 300 g
Dimensions: 235 x 159 mm
Kees Vromans' environmental ethics has five other editors and seven additional contributors. Among the three books under review, given it is a learning guide, it is the most pedagogically well-crafted book. Its preface discusses environmental ethics and the author's `Environmental Ethics Project' (www.env-ethics.com). Lesson one of the first chapter -introduction to environmental ethics- starts with a case study on `Clean and Clean Chemical Inc.'. The chapter comprehensively explains why environmental ethics is important and how this relates to real-live problems such as, for example, management. The chapter has three parts: the complexity of environmental problems; the socio-economical background; and the history of environmentalism. Each section closes with `Check Your Understanding of the Lesson'. This structure is repeated in the subsequent chapters: 2. ethics - the search for decision criteria, 3. the challenge to environmental ethics; 4. main approaches to envi- ronmental ethics; 5. the need for political and legal regulation; and 6. from environmental ethics to sustainable decision-making. The book concludes with a summary.
Overall, the book provides an accomplished, easy-to-read and understandable introduction to the key issues related to environmental ethics. Having outlined the complexities associated with environmental ethics, the book prefers a somewhat utilitarian definition of ethics, e.g. `good or not good ends' while also discussing the non-utilitarian philosophy of Kant. However, the book somewhat negates perhaps the world's greatest moral philosopher - Aristotle. It mentions `deep ecology' in passing while lacking Bookchin's most illuminating and far-reaching work on environmental ethics. Nonetheless, the authors define environmental ethics in three ways: i) as a condition of life; ii) by having intrinsic value; and m) as a means of production. The authors also outline the two main perspectives on environmental ethics: the anthropocentric and the non-anthropocentric view. The distinction is whether only human beings have value (anthropocentric) or whether other elements of nature and environment also have value in-itself to use a Kantian term (non-anthropocentric). Chapter three discusses the ethics of resources, animal ethics, and the ethics of nature while dividing environmental ethics into a philosophical level (ethics), a political-legal level (laws), and a causalistic level (single cases and actions).
The book also explains ethical decision-making, and why we need political-legal regulation and the regulation of environ- mental behaviour. In other words, environmental ethics can never be separated from the economic, political, and managerial realm. On that, the book suggests three steps for environment decision-making: i) description and analysis; ii) assessment; and m) justification with a proposal for a `six hat thinking' creating a multi-perspective viewpoint on environ- mental ethics. Overall, the introduction to environmental ethics presented as a well-crafted pedagogically useful `learning guide' providing a thoughtful and commendable introduction to environmental ethics. -- Thomas Klikauer, Philosophy of Management, Volume 13, Number 1, 2014