Ethics Assignment Report Samples
1. Briefly discuss two environmental challenges that have ethical concerns.
Two environmental challenges that have ethical concerns are: (1) global climate change; and (2) loss of biodiversity (Brown, The Ethical Dimensions of Global Environmental Issues, 2015; Brown, Why Global Environmental Problems Entail Ethical Obligations, 2009). The global climate change has been noted as an environmental challenge due to the repercussive negative impact to human lives, plant and animal species, as well as the impact on crucial facets of life. As revealed, some of the ethical concerns that allegedly emerge from global climate change include: (1) determining the level of greenhouse gases that could be tolerated by the international community; (2) absence of protective action given the lack of accuracy in scientific evidences regarding the impact of climate change; (3) responsibility for taking action among developed versus poor nations; and (4) setting equitable targets for nations in terms of specifying levels of greenhouse gas emissions. These are ethical concerns because responsibility and accountability on a global scale have been controversial and discussions continue to resolve these issues. Concurrently, for loss of diversity, the ethical concerns include: the responsibility and accountability for the duty of protecting biodiversity, as well as determining who should pay for the protection of biodiversity . The issue allegedly stem from ascertaining and discerning accountability and responsibility for ensuring the protection between rich and poor nations.
2. Discuss how ethical questions can be distorted as a result of utilizing risk assessment procedures.
Ethical questions can be distorted as a result of utilizing risk assessment procedures through reliance on values of risk assessors; as well as the competencies and qualifications possessed by risk managers in managing the identified risks (Brown, Superfund Cleanups, Ethics and Environmental Risk Assessment, 1988; Gillaspy, 2015). As emphasized, “risk assessment ultimately depends largely, if not predominantly, on values positions rather than on science” (McCray, 1983; cited in Brown, 1988, p. 190). Therefore, depending on the values judgement of risk assessors, ethical questions could be skewed or misleading. Moreover, Brown (1988) also disclosed that due to value judgements bearing on decision making processes, the availability of scientifically plausible choices allegedly depend on “policy considerations (which) inevitably affected some of the choices” (National Academy of Sciences, 1983; cited in Brown, 1988, p. 191).
Concurrently, in risk management, the competencies, proficiencies, and trainings of risk managers potentially contribute to the distorion of ethical questions. Some questions might not be recognized by risk managers as ethical issues; thereby, appropriate training in ethical awareness would influence the decisions that are made. In addition, depending on the situation, ethical problems were noted to possibly emerge. One problem could occur if identified hazards are not equally distributed in the population at risk. Likewise, failure to identify the type of harm that could ensue from the identified risk could pose ethical dilemmas. In addition, failure to distinguish risks, especially those created by new technologies or those that could not be controlled could create “questions of risk (which can) sometimes confuse the ethical with normal uncontrollable risks. Moreover, when significant statistical forecasts are percieved to be potentially exposed to identified risks, there could be ethical issues regarding the number of risks that are acceptable or not. Finally, when the uncertainty is significant especially in inflicting harm, Brown (1988) emphasized that “the proponent of the new substance or technology may shoulder the burden of proof of showing that the risk assessment is reliable according to certain ethical theories” (p. 195). The failure to identify ethical questions in risk assessment were noted to generate additional problems, such as: (1) failure of democratic institutions to appropraitely disclose ethical choices; (2) inability to evaluate risk management decisions; (3) “failure to acknowledge that the risk management process has taken cost into account constitutes systematically distorted communication about values” ; and (4) decide on actions that are deemed within acceptable levels . These result to potential distortions in ethical questions due to the utilization of risk assessment procedures.
Brown, D. (1988). Superfund Cleanups, Ethics and Environmental Risk Assessment. Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, 181-198.
Brown, D. (2009). Why Global Environmental Problems Entail Ethical Obligations. Retrieved from International Institute for Sustainable Development: http://www.iisd.ca/email/mea-l/guestarticle67.html
Brown, D. (2015). The Ethical Dimensions of Global Environmental Issues. Retrieved from American Academy of Arts & Sciences: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1292
Gillaspy, R. (2015). Environmental Ethics & Human Values: Definition & Impact on Environmental Problems. Retrieved from study.com: http://study.com/academy/lesson/environmental-ethics-human-values-definition-impact-on-environmental-problems.html
McCray, L. (1983). An Anatomy of Risk Assessment: Scientific and Extra Scientific Components in the Assessment of Scientific Data on Cancer Risks. In C. o. Health, L. McCray, & N. R. Council, Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process Working Papers (pp. 83-97). National Academies.
National Academy of Sciences. (1983). Risk Assessment in the Federal Government. National Academies.