The Ethical Responsibility of Individuals to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

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Book Chapter

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As consumers and citizens of a complex network of relationships within the Earth’s ‘biotic community,’ individual human beings have a critical role to play in the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that pollute the environment and cause global warming. The ethical implications implied by the ecological sciences tell us that individuals can effectively intervene in the reduction of GHGs by (1) conserving energy, (2) delaying the onset of entropy, (3) abiding by the cyclical laws of nature, and (4) participating in collective actions that demand the reduction of GHGs. These interventions follow from the primary precepts of the ethics of natural law: (1) the preservation of one’s own being, (2) the inclination to care for others, and (3) the intellectual acumen of human beings as the ‘wise species.’