“Utilitarianism Is the Best Approach to Environmental Issues.” Discuss

Topics: Ethics, Jeremy Bentham, Peter Singer Pages: 2 (839 words) Published: June 5, 2013
Utilitarianism is a consequentialist ethical theory and therefore when evaluating ethics and the environment they would look at the end result and not necessarily the action. Utilitarianism is a teleological theory and would look at the purpose or the end goal of an action. With regards to deforestation the end goal is to create space for new homes, particularly in Brazil and therefore according to utilitarianism this is ethical because it brings great pleasure to those who are provided with homes. Utilitarians believed that ethics could be found in what bought about the greatest amount of pleasure and providing these homes would do just that. This also according to Mill who was concerned with qualitative pleasure rather than quantitative pleasure is a good and ethically just thing as having shelter, a basic human need, is a high quality pleasure. However, the quantitative part of the theory with regards to deforestation seems flawed. It is inaccurate to calculate whether more pleasure will be gained from homes being provided for those without one, or whether more pleasure will be gained from preserving the forest, not only for those who are concerned with the environment, but also for future generations who will have to pick up the pieces. Instead it makes sense to select an ethical theory that is more practical in its method of dealing with deforestation. Kant would state that we should not be allowed to pursue in deforestation because if we made it a law of nature that trees automatically came down to make room for development and homes it would not work, as we would soon run out of resources and oxygen. This seems like a more practical way as it is absolutist and ethics based on pleasure when dealing with this topic is unhelpful. On the other hand Bentham can be helpful when dealing with environmental ethics. For example in recent days even farming cod is not sustainable to stop them from becoming extinct and Bentham would not only look at the pleasure of...
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