Day 9 – Q 2. What is environmental ethics? Does the ongoing pandemic teach us anything about environmental ethics? Examine. 

  • IASbaba
  • June 19, 2020
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TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. What is environmental ethics? Does the ongoing pandemic teach us anything about environmental ethics? Examine. 

पर्यावरणीय नैतिकता क्या है? क्या अभी चल रही महामारी पर्यावरणीय नैतिकता के बारे में  हमें कुछ सिखाती है? जांच करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to define environmental ethics. Students also need to write about lessons learnt form pandemic about environmental ethics. 


Pandemics like Ebola, Zika, MERS, SARS etc. had alerted human species about the imbalance in relation between humans and Environment. Ignorance causing Covid-19 pandemic has almost stopped the world for human species and has nudged humans to introspect on their relationship with environment.


The field of environmental ethics is about human beings’ ethical relationship with the natural environment. It deals with societal attitudes, actions, and policies of humans directed towards environment.

Ongoing pandemic teaches following lessons about environmental ethics:

  • Simplicity of existence:

Survival can be sustained with human basic needs like food, clothing, shelter and love.  Humans can exist without extra material luxurious.

  • False sense of Ownership and leadership in Conservation:

Pandemic bust the myth of humans as conservator of the environment. Instead, human species are conserved by environment and any ignorance from human species has consequences. 

Example: Mangroves worked as barrier in Amphan cyclone – saving loss of life and property

  • Effectiveness of self-restrain:

Clean air, water, sighting of animals in their natural habitats, etc. calls for more emphasis on restrain. Even without funds, innovation, etc. positive change in climate can be brought through self-restrain

  • Fundamental rights of Environment:

Even environment and its entities have right to leave with dignity, freedom of movement, privacy, etc.

Example: A pregnant elephant killed by feeding explosive stuffed pineapple, rumours causing alive dumping, poisoning of chicken chicks, cullying and abandoning of pet animals highlight disregard to other right. This highlights lack of compassion and empathy of humans towards nature.

  • Selfless responsibly determination can overcome even the toughest of all challenges. Such an ethical framework used to tackle pandemic can be used to tackle environmental challenges.
  • Inter-connect and dependency:

Humans are a part of a large family and for stable functioning of nature all have to work as a unit. For cordial relation we need to respect contribution of each entity in this ecological family. As the youngest member of this family humans are more dependent on nature.

  • Subjectivity in concept of equality concept:  

Some animals are privileged than others, causing inequality in treatment. Care and Death of Pet, exotic animals are empathetic while feral and consumption based animals are neglected. Thus need to redefine concept of equality which includes environment.


Learning from environment and practising the teachings in our daily life can bring in moral revival of humanity which even includes environment. Thus a new beginning towards a prosperous, harmonious and sustainable world.

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