Environmental Ethical Issues in the Early 21st Term Paper

Pages: 3 (868 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

Environmental Ethical Issues

In the early 21st century, environmental concerns have emerged as some of the most important social policy issues. Environmental ethics issues go back to the earliest era of American history but they became more important as the nation became more industrialized in the 19th and early 20th century. Today, the major environmental ethics concerns include the concept of disproportionate global resource consumption by wealthy nations, the depletion of fossil fuels and the need to develop alternative sources of energy, the outsourcing of negative consequences from industrial processes from wealthier nations to poorer nations, the environmental impact of U.S. military operations on foreign peoples, anthropomorphism in wildlife preservation and conservation, and the relative obligation of current generations to future generations inheriting the planet.

Background and Early American History of Environmental Concerns

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Even in the infancy of the United States, environmental ethics issues existed in the form of concern over the different way that the Settlers used the land in comparison to the Native Americans (Poiman & Poiman, 2007). In principle, Native Americans traditionally practiced what we would regard to day as environmentally conscious methods of hunting and of minimizing the impact of human activities on the natural environment. In contrast, the settlers applied laissez-fair business models to the harvesting and exploitation of natural resources without regard for the impact on the natural environment (Poiman & Poiman, 2007).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Environmental Ethical Issues in the Early 21st Assignment

As the nation became more industrialized in the 19th and early 20th century, new environmental ethics issues emerged, such as those in relation to the effect of factories and other industrial processes on the quality of breathable air in large cities (Nevins & Commager, 2002). At that time, children labored side-by-side with adults working long hours and in hazardous environments until the introduction of the first child labor laws (Halbert & Ingulli, 2008).

In big cities at that time, environmental ethics issues also included the accumulation of garbage and animal waste that made streets and sidewalks unsafe and sometimes impassable for pedestrians (Nevins & Commager, 2002). Many people were sickened, even dying, from unsanitary drinking water; this problem affected the urban poor much more than their better-off counterparts who typically had access to cleaner water sources. Other early environmental ethics issues that arose in that era involved the consequences of major construction projects on local populations. For example, the 1889 bursting of a dam built by companies financed by Andrew Carnegie resulted in the deaths of 2,200 people in Johnston, Pennsylvania (Nevins & Commager, 2002).

The Significance of Contemporary Environmental Issues

Today, environmental ethics issues are much larger, mainly because those attributable to modern industrial… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Environmental Ethical Issues in the Early 21st."  Essaytown.com.  April 5, 2010.  Accessed November 27, 2021.