Applying Theory: Environmental Issues
The goal of this assignment is to apply an ethical theory to a real-world situation. You will examine an environmental issue, and apply one of the ethical theories to understand how human interactions with the natural environment raise ethical concerns. You will do this by preparing and posting a PowerPoint slideshow.
- Choose one of the following topics/issues and read about it at the indicated place:
- Environmental justice/environmental racism (Article: Environmental Justice for All)
- Environmental harm/pollution of air and water (Chapter 8 in the textbook)
- Waste reduction (Chapter 8 in the textbook)
- Select one philosophical theory (utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics). Consider the following questions pertaining to the theory you have selected:
- What does the theory tell us about how things operate in the real world?
- What is the focus of the theory? That is, what aspects of everyday life does the theory address? Another way to think about this is to consider what question(s) the theory is addressing?
- The focus (or questions) help you think about the topical boundaries of the theory―this course is about ethics and social responsibility and you should concentrate on the ethical and moral aspects of the theory and of the topic you are analyzing. It may help to think in terms of different realms or institutions―does the theory help to explain people’s behavior from a political perspective? From an economic perspective? From a religious perspective? From an ethical perspective? Try to sort through everything that does not represent an ethical question, and address only the ethical issues.
- How does the theory simplify complex issues to make them more understandable? Another way to think about this is to consider what the elements―or concepts―that make up the theory are. Identify the concepts and how they are related to each other.
- Develop one thesis question that applies your philosophical theory to your environmental issue. You will address this question in developing an argument that links the theory to the issue (through your notes and pictures), so make sure you word your question carefully to accomplish this task.
- Develop an argument that addresses your question. Build your argument by writing nine sentences. Each sentence should make one important point about the ethical aspects of the environmental issue you are analyzing and will be placed on one slide each. Make sure your argument focuses on ethical arguments, and avoids personal opinion, or arguments based on politics, economics, religion, or topics other than ethics.
- Create a PowerPoint slideshow to present your argument. Begin by inserting your argument into the slideshow using the “Notes” feature at the bottom of each slide. Click on the box that says “Click to add notes” and type one sentence at the bottom of each slide. Your sentences and slides should link together to form your argument.
- Find photos to illustrate each sentence, and post the photo on the slide above the note. You can use your own personal photos or can search the internet for photos that are appropriate. Make sure the photos are not protected from copying; you should only use photos that are in the public domain. Cite the sources from which you get your photos underneath the photo on each slide.