Climate Change and Ethics
Climate change affects human activities and natural environments now and particularly in the future. From an ethical point of view, the phenomenon is above all linked to our sense of justice and our values. Other important ethical questions worth spending time pondering concern our ever-changing lifestyles in an era of globalization and what it takes to live a life of contentment. Therefore, ethics play an important role in understanding climate change in-depth and building a climate-friendly world.
Climate Change and Justice
Climate change is very much about justice. Related are questions about global justice, daily moral choices, individual responsibility and how to share the burden of climate change mitigation.
Climate Change Alters our Lifestyles
Often when we think about climate change and mitigation, we get overwhelmed because there are so many things we feel we should give up in order to save the planet. It is true we need to change our entire lifestyle, which will have an impact on our consumer behaviour. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and distressed, we could examine the situation by raising questions such as what is important in life.
Towards Good Life
The large scale and complexity of climate change and the lifestyle changes it requires often triggers anxiety and even depression. It is important that people are concerned about the changing climate, so that they would therefore want to do something about it. However, it is not productive if anxiety leads to feelings of powerlessness.
The right approach and a positive perspective matter. You can pre-empt despondency by recounting success stories of events that have already taken place toward the goal of saving our planet. For instance, the green technology sector is already creating new jobs. Similarly, investing in public transport is decreasing traffic congestion and improving air quality in big cities.
Also, pondering genuine life values can boost a positive approach to climate change. For centuries, philosophers and psychologists have contemplated what constitutes the good life. The good life has been closely associated with concepts of happiness, wellbeing and prosperity. Studies suggest that things that lead to happiness are, among others, a positive approach, gratefulness, interesting activities, good social relationships and helping others. When basic human needs are satisfied, hoarding and owning material objects make little difference to our level of happiness. It’s good to bear in mind that until the mid-20th century, ordinary Western people didn’t have many possessions.