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Is climate change a moral issue?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Featured Debate 31

 

Is climate change a moral issue?

 

To kick start the debate...here's what one group of Christian activists thinks:

 

ACCRA (Reuters) - Morality should be a spur for stronger action to fight climate change, which threatens food and water supplies for the poorest in Africa, a group of Christian activists said on Saturday during U.N. climate talks.


"We hear about climate change as a political issue, an environmental issue and an economic issue. We want to press the point that this is a moral issue," said Marcia Owens, a minister in the Florida branch of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.


She and a group of Christian activists told Reuters they were lobbying delegates at the August 21-27 U.N. talks in Ghana to work out a strong new treaty, due for completion by the end of 2009, to slow global warming.

 

[Read the rest at Reuters]

post #2 of 6

Hmmm interesting question.  I think it's a moral issue to the extent that those of us "using" the Earth and its natural resources now should leave it in good condition for "subsequent users" (future generations).  That's sort of an extension of the golden rule, right?  I feel like we should leave the earth as we'd want to inherit it.

 

I think that this is a moral imperative especially for those of us who elect to have kids someday (i.e. making a literal contribution to that future generation).

post #3 of 6

Well of course this question presupposes that humans are causing climate change (which we are, so that's a good presupposition!).

 

I'd have to say that yes, climate change is a moral issue, especially for Americans.  We're responsible for a big chunk of the increase in atmospheric CO2 which is causing global warming (which is causing climate change), and consequently our use of fossil fuels has made us a wealthy country.  But now the climate is changing rapidly and it's not only adversely effecting humans (particularly those in poorer nations), but also essentially all species on the planet.

 

So basically those of us in industrialized countries have gotten wealthy by burning fossil fuels, which has adversely impacted people particularly in undeveloped countries, as well as other species on the planet.  We benefitted economically from our actions which have had a negative impact on every species, so I think it then becomes a moral issue to clean up the mess we've created.  The fact that we became wealthy by benefitting from those fossil fuels makes it possible for us to at least begin to rectify the problem, as well.

post #4 of 6

As I've said before, I think we get too caught up on global warming itself, rather than focusing on the (presumed) cause of global warming, and problem in its own right, pollution.

 

There's no question that pollution is a moral issue.  It's like vandalism.  We can all agree that vandalism is wrong, so how can mindless pollution *not* be wrong?

 

Climate change is more tricky to make a clear connection, but the fact is that it hurts poor people a lot more than it hurts the rest of us, so yeah, I'd say there is still a moral obligation to do something about it...

post #5 of 6

nitedreamer - great call on the vandalism analogy...I'm definitely going to re-use that one.

 

I wine about vandalism all the time in San Francisco, in particular all the old gum on the sidewalks...it makes me absolutely crazy. But you're right, there are absolutely parallels to consuming too much crap, and producing insane amounts of waste and thinking it just disappears when the men take it from your curb.

post #6 of 6

With vandalism, I wasn't quite thinking of the ridiculous amounts of waste people generate, although that certainly fits too!

 

I was picturing all that exhaust emitted by low mpg vehicles, coal power stations, the damage from open pit mining, pouring toxic cleaners down the drains to eventually reach our water supply, cutting down rainforests, destroying Indonesia/Malaysia's peatlands, etc...

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