1.3 The influence of environmental ethics: value and care

Religious ethics can play a significant role in shaping appropriate narratives that provide for a lived ethic – that is, the obligations and entitlements associated with human relationships with Nature that embody what’s good and what’s right. But how might other ethical traditions help towards developing a lived ethic? To what extent has the emergence of environmental ethics since the 1970s influenced a lived ethic commensurate with developing care for the environment?

Andrew Lig
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1.2 The influence of narratives and spiritual traditions

In his 1974 publication Man’s Responsibility for Nature, John Passmore – an Australian philosopher who pioneered a concern for developing a change of attitude towards the environment – argues from an explicitly anthropocentric perspective. He suggests that the special ties between parents and children provide the basis for continual development of obligations amongst humans, which can then translate into a more responsible engagement with the environment.

People normally ca
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6 Further reading

The models being used in research take such simple energy flows and increase the ‘granularity’ of the components used, to build complex time sequences.

You may like to see Information Sheet 8 at the website of the Climatic Research Unit for a summary of how these have developed.

Click on 'View document' to see charts mentioned in the activity below

2 A 4.6 billion-year history

Climate change is a natural process of warming and cooling that has occurred all through the Earth's history. Throughout geological time there have been ‘hot-house’ periods and ice ages. In order to understand the current situation, it is necessary to have some sense of context and perspective, from historical and geological time-scales. The document below shows a chart showing a generalised temperature history of the Earth.

Click on 'View document' to see the chart

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6 Conclusion

Perhaps it is a truism to say that all life is full of risk. We encounter many uncalculated outcomes, some beneficial and others adverse. It can be difficult to know which adverse events will prove permanently disadvantageous, since some may lead to innovation and opportunities for the future. Businesses, especially in the financial context, often consider risk in terms of opportunities for gain. Risk in our context is a way of describing the probability and consequences of harm, or at worst
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3.2 Multiple causes

Now we will explore multiple causes using an example familiar to us all – road accidents. The deaths of about 10 people each day on the UK's roads are less dramatic than, for example, the capsize of the Herald of Free Enterprise, but one feature that links them both is the element of risk associated with everything we do – and even with inaction.

We have just seen that many factors contribute to the risks which result from the inherent hazards associated with something we do.
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9 Unit questions

Unit Question A

Foxes eat rabbits and rabbits eat dandelions. Predict what will happen if rabbit numbers are severely reduced (e.g. by disease). How confident are you about your predictions?

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2 Altering the environment

Later in this unit we will be considering a number of ways in which humans alter their environment.

Question 3

In what ways do you think we are altering the environment?

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6.2 The hierarchy of human needs

A second approach is to look at the human needs and wants from a more theoretical perspective. One such model was developed in the 1950s and 1960s by Abraham Maslow. Although it exists in many variants it is generally known as Maslow's hierarchy of human needs. In the most common interpretations it places the fundamental material needs of survival, such as food, shelter and safety at the base of a triangle, rising through social needs of belonging in human society, to
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3.2 Exploring your quality of life

In this activity the aim is to develop and use a range of interdisciplinary indicators that describe your quality of life.

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Glossary

Click on the link below to open the unit glossary.

Open glossary now...


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3.2 (2B): Developing a relational model of the Powerdown Show programme

In this activity you will be challenged to reinterpret the following programme extracted from the Powerdown Show DVD: Energy Descent Pathways. The reason this programme was selected, from the many audio-visual programmes currently available online that tackle environmental and social issues, was because it presents an "ecotopian" approach to tackling the converging social, economic and environmental crises. Your challen
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3.1 (2A): Exploring the global implications of different mindsets

In this activity the aim is to investigate the implications of different mindsets with regards to the future unfolding of events on a global scale.

Activity

So far, you have focused your attention on exploring your personal cognitive
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2.6 Mathematical communication

When you looked at the title of this reading, did you experience unease? Most people shudder at the thought of dealing with anything mathematical, remembering the torturous lessons at school trying to grapple with calculus, statistics and logic. Yet most of us use mathematical com
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2.5 Visual communication

As discussed in Reading 2.4, written text has major limitations in representing relationships between things when they do not follow the linear structure of the text. Relationships can be extremely complex, even circular, as you will see in this block. In particular, the linear sequence of text is not able to clearly show context, elements, structure, processes and functions of
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2.1 Learning and culture

As discussed in Reading 1.6, the behaviour of all living organisms that determines their resource use is mostly controlled by a set of models encoded in their genetic material. Most significant changes in the behaviour of a particular species of organism are usually a result of genetic evolution.
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2.1 Boiling water

Whether it's to wash clothes, make a cup of tea, or just make it safe to drink, water often has to be heated – sometimes to boiling point. There are many ways to do this, but a very common means is some form of electric water-boiler, such as a kettle or an urn. In all but the crudest ones, a device is fitted to ensure that heating does not continue once the boiling point of water is reached.

In deciding on the type and design of such a device, we can suppose that a company manufacturi
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1 Temperature – problem or solution?

‘Have you taken the temperature effects into account?’ (Figure 1) is nearly always a valid question in any discussion about a proposed engineering solution. Everything has a temperature, and everything behaves differently at different temperatures. It therefore deserves its own special plac
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2.3.2 The project (single) team

The project, or single, team consists of a group of people who come together as a distinct organisational unit in order to work on a project or projects. The team is often led by a project manager, though self-managing and self-organising arrangements are also found. Quite often, a team that has been successful on one project will stay together to work on subsequent projects. This is particularly common where an organisation engages repeatedly in projects of a broadly similar nature – for e
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