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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

This week’s Senate deliberations on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Bill, made for a fascinating display of high-level politics psychology, all viewable on YouTube:

Yet another display of kindergarten squabble, this time from the Senate Republican Minority – with a few exceptions – How else would you call the ridiculous request of subjecting colleagues to a whole day of reading of a 500 page document?

Per Reuters, ‘Environmental groups were jubilant, even as the bill was defeated . “Today’s vote sets the stage for a new president and Congress to enact strong legislation that will more effectively build a clean energy economy and prevent the worst consequences of global warming,” a coalition of green groups, including Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.

I am not sure I can share such enthusiasm. That is placing a lot of hope in our new president, and in the Congress. It will require new anti-lobbying legislation, to minimize the power of the special fossil fuel interests, over our senators and congressmen. Also, climate change does not respond well to our human attempts at bargaining for more time. Every day counts, at this point.

Again, I ask myself the question of why? Why, would otherwise, well meaning, intelligent people engage in such destructive acts as denying their constituents the chance of a healthy place to live? All I can think of, is that these climate denying senators are the victim of terrible misinformation, on the part of lobbyists, and the Bush administration. They obviously do not understand the realities of climate science and economics. They may also be seduced into cheap populism, the same way Hillary Clinton tried to rally popular support with her gas tax holiday proposal. All in all, not a pretty picture, and one that raises issues of political ethics.

The solution, besides pushing for more Democratic representation in both houses? Maybe introducing climate change on the agendas of both Senate and House Ethics Committees? And asking that the next rounds of climate debates be preceded by introductory sessions on climate ethics.

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For all of us climate deniers, in various states, as in here and here and here, Meryn Stol found a new argument, for why we should all care, and take quick action, no matter what:

Donald Brown is Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics at Penn State University, and the head of the Collaborative Program on the Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change, as part of the Rock Ethics Institute.

I could see a series of climate ethics workshops with decision-makers both in the business and policy fields. For instance, the next G8 Environment meeting could open up with a climate ethics session led by Donald Brown. This way, the debate would rightfully shift to a deeper level, that of underpinning values. Any other thoughts?

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The Green Bracelet from Simmons Jewelry is tempting me. It is hard to resist green malachite, rough diamond, and a little bit of gold, all thrown into a great looking bracelet, for a Green cause, and for only $125. Could it be that I can satisfy my shopping urges and do good, both at the same time? Green is becoming the new land of opportunities for marketers of all sorts. And a new outlet for the Green Wannabes like me, who still want to shop, but without the guilt. Which raises the question of, is it possible to be green and a consumer? Green citizen, yes. But green consumer? Sounds like the oxymoron of the twenty first century.

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Now is payback time

Great article from Vaclav Havel in the New York Times yesterday. He was able to put in words what I have been feeling for a long time. ‘Maybe we should start considering our sojourn on earth as a loan. There can be no doubt that for the past hundred years at least, Europe and the United States have been running up a debt, and now other parts of the world are following their example. Nature is issuing warnings that we must not only stop the debt from growing but start to pay it back. There is little point in asking whether we have borrowed too much or what would happen if we postponed the repayments. Anyone with a mortgage or a bank loan can easily imagine the answer.’

The bargaining problem

I can so well relate to the internal bargaining part, this vain attempt on the part of my ego to negotiate with nature. In my case, I am not questioning the need to repay with some kind of personal sacrifice. I am just wondering if, maybe, I can get away with not paying all of my personal debt back. OK, I will cut down on all the things that don’t deprive me that much, but the ones I really like, such as shopping for clothes, could I please keep on my to do list? I am also tempted to abdicate some of my personal responsibility and to turn it over to policy makers.

We are all responsible

I will leave the last word to Vaclav Havel. ‘I’m skeptical that a problem as complex as climate change can be solved by any single branch of science. Technological measures and regulations are important, but equally important is support for education, ecological training and ethics – a consciousness of the commonality of all living beings and an emphasis on shared responsibility.’

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