Thus far this semester we’ve asked what considered how what we do now impacts people and other living creatures in the future. What does it mean to consider the rights of future persons? Do you agree with this premise? Why or why not? Be sure to answer this question using one or more examples of how considering the rights of future persons may play out in the present.
Watch one or more of the Coal Ash Stories from The Lilies Project, a local environmental justice action creative project https://theliliesproject.org/hear-our-stories. Explore the site a bit. How does a project like this draw from/relate to two or more of our readings so far this semester? What you think and/or how do you feel about an approach like this? Why?
Linda Robyn’s “Indigenous Knowledge and Technology: Creating Environmental Justice in the Twenty-First Century” outlines the ways in which ignoring and/or criminalizing the knowledge of Native peoples allows for environmental harm and is an environmental injustice. How does she define indigenous knowledge and how does she suggest it is a kind of technology? How does indigenous knowledge involve values? How does she argue for holism? In answering these questions be sure to make it clear whether you agree with her overall argument.
Choose one of the topics we have discussed so far this semester. Find a news article, Twitter discussion, TED Talk, TikTok creator, or something else from social media, the news, or pop culture that addresses this issue in a way that complements your perspective on it (note: you do not have to completely agree, but it should be a perspective that resonates with you). Link to the article, thread, talk, creator, or other source and explain what this adds to your perspective. Note: for this question the author or creator’s work will need to be publicly accessible so that I can review it.
Based on your reading and any other external experience you wish to bring to the answer, construct a brief argument about how humans should understand the role of animals in creating a sustainable future. These could be animals used for food or work, or animals that are part of ecosystems beyond a relationship to humans. Draw from at least one reading to assist you.
In “Intergenerational Justice” by Richard B. Howarth, he outlines three approaches to intergenerational justice and argues for the ones he thinks most valuable. Do you agree with his argument? Why or why not? In your discussion, use an environmental issue of interest to you to help explain the problems and/or benefits of each.
Imagine you are speaking with someone who has never heard of the concept of environmental justice. How would you explain what it is, why it matters, and how we can do something about it? Use at least two of the readings to help you. (Please note – this does not have to cover every single element of environmental justice. You should include a definition in your own words, a discussion of some key points, and an example).
In Katie McShane’s introductory article “What is Ethics” she lists 4 things that ethics is not. Imagine you are talking to someone you don’t know well about the ethics of an environmental issue that interests you. You are arguing for your position, but they bring up 2 of these 4 misunderstandings. What do you think they would say? What would you counter with in return? (Basic ex.: If you are concerned about rainforest deforestation, you may argue that we should slow or end it. The other person might suggest that we have the right to use any resources available. This could be an example of an individual or cultural opinion about the role of rainforests and who counts as “we” rather than an object fact about the environment. An excellent response would develop this idea just a bit more.)
In Katie McShane’s introductory article “What is Ethics” she defines utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics. These are very introductory definitions, but based on the reading which of these appeals to you most? Why? Using an example of an environmental issue that is of interest to you, how do you think an ethicist using the approach you like best might apply that approach?
Peter Singer’s “A Utilitarian Defense of Animal Liberation” compares speciesism to other forms of social injustice. Briefly explain his argument in your own words. What are two ways in which the argument is coherent (either to you or to someone who agrees with him)? What are two ways in which the argument is incoherent (either to you or to someone who disagrees with him)? In answering these questions be sure to make it clear whether you agree with his overall argument.
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