The Ethics of Long Term Environmental Responsibility: the Problem of Climatic Change

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Dieter Birnbacher

Abstract

Environmental problems are, roughly, of two sorts: concrete, palable, fairly well known, and related primarily to the present; or abstract, unfamiliar, rather badly known, and related primarily to the future. Pollution is mainly of the first sort. Much of it can be seen, smelled, and tasted right now. Given minimal environmental awareness, public pressure is high to lower its incidence and impact. Resource depletion, soil and water depravation and climatic change are of the second sort. Public pressure to diminish the environmental risks associated with these problems cannot be expected from reactions to direct impacts but only from the persistence of a high level of future-oriented environmental concern and an educational and political system supporting it. Environmental politics in regard to problems of the first sort is mainly a matter of enlightened self-interest. Environmental politics in regard to problems of the latter sort is unthinkable without an essentially ethical basis.

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How to Cite
Birnbacher, D. (2007). The Ethics of Long Term Environmental Responsibility: the Problem of Climatic Change. Envigogika, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.14712/18023061.326
Section
Inspirations
Author Biography

Dieter Birnbacher

Dieter BIRNBACHER, Priv.- Doz., Dr., Ak. Rat University of Essen, Germany