Ethics Environmental Ethics/Humans and the Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

This refers to the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska (NPR-a), which is situated between the foothills of the Brooks Range and the Arctic coastline, and is about 120 miles from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) (Rosen, 2003). The Bureau of Land Management ( BLM) estimates the area will"… supplement production from the Alpine fields, which hold 429 million barrels and have a daily oil output of about 100,000 barrels" (U.S. OKs Commercial Drilling in Alaska Oil Reserve).

Government and the corporate sector state that the Alaskan oil reserve offers a possible solution to the energy needs of the country. However, there is also a very strong argument that even using these reserves would not solve the oil crisis and would in fact have a severely negative impact on the environment (Rosen, 2003). Opinion about access to Alaskan oil is split between those who see it in financial terms only and those who are aware of the ethical and environmental implications. This view is summed up in the following quotation. "To generalize, people who care most about the wildlife and wilderness don't give a hoot about the oil; folks fixated on the oil think its value outweighs the wildlife and wildland concerns. (Endless debate drains political energy).

In my opinion the argument in favor of exploiting the Alaskan oil reserves is ethically irresponsible -- especially in the light of the very real possibility that such exploitation will in fact not go very far in solving the oil crisis in the long-term. Therefore, it follows that a shortsighted view that focuses on greed and immediate solutions is myopic in that it ignores the wide of issues and ramification that could result from this form of exploitation of the environment

Conclusion: Solutions

Any solution to this crisis is complex as it would involve a wide range of issues. The interests of powerful governmental and corporate bodies are at stake and this represents a major obstacle to stropping this exploitation of the environment.

One of the ways in which a solution can be found is through raising public awareness of the problem. In other words, by using the platforms available, such as the media, the internet and social networking, people could be made more aware of the actual reality and extent of the problem. I feel that in this age of technology and immediate mass communication even the single individual can make a difference. Another ways of combating ignorance about the very real threat to the environment that oil sourcing and transport represents is to join a well- known environmental body in your area and take the effort to campaign for a change in legislation that would hopefully result in the reduction of this danger to our environment.

I feel that ethics is not only about caring and compassion for other living entities. It is also a practical matter of survival. Both these aspects were evident in the banning of offshore exploratory by President Obama. President Obama referred to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a "wake-up call" (Dlouhy, 2010) and banned all new drilling operation in deep coastal waters, as well ordering work to be stopped on approximately thirty exploratory oil wells (Dlouhy, 2010). While some have criticized this move it seems to me that this is the only ethically responsible thing to do. The reality is that unless we pay more attention to the conservation and preservation our environment and ecological systems, we will lose the planet on which we live and our future as a species


Endless debate drains political energy. Retrieved from

Dlouhy J. (2010) New offshore drilling limited: Obama orders rigs to stop work on about

30 exploratory wells. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from

Oil Spills and Disasters. Retrieved from

Petroleum Industry Retrieved from


Rosen, Y. ( 2003). Drilling Planned in Untapped Alaska Oil Reserve. Retrieved from

Spinner, K. ( 2011). Evidence shows Gulf oil spill caused widespread ecological damage. Retrieved from

US OKs Commercial Drilling in Alaska Oil Reserve. Retrieved from>

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