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Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers extending the traditional boundaries of ethics from solely including humans to including the non-human world. It exerts influence on a large range of disciplines including environmental law, environmental sociology, ecotheology, ecological economics, ecology and environmental geography.

There are many ethical decisions that human beings make with respect to the environment. For example:

  • Should we continue to clear cut forests for the sake of human consumption?
  • Why should we continue to propagate our species, and life itself? <ref name = "Bioethics">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation

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The academic field of environmental ethics grew up in response to the work of scientists such as Rachel Carson and events such as the first Earth Day in 1970, when environmentalists started urging philosophers to consider the philosophical aspects of environmental problems. Two papers published in Science had a crucial impact: Lynn White's "The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis" (March 1967)<ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> and Garrett Hardin's "The Tragedy of the Commons" (December 1968).<ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> Also influential was Garett Hardin's later essay called "Exploring New Ethics for Survival", as well as an essay by Aldo Leopold in his A Sand County Almanac, called "The Land Ethic," in which Leopold explicitly claimed that the roots of the ecological crisis were philosophical (1949).<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

The first international academic journals in this field emerged from North America in the late 1970s and early 1980s – the US-based journal Environmental Ethics in 1979 and the Canadian-based journal The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy in 1983. The first British based journal of this kind, Environmental Values, was launched in 1992.


Environmental ethics sections
Intro   Marshall's categories of environmental ethics    Humanist theories    Applied theology    Anthropocentrism    Status of the field   See also   Notes    External links   

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