ETHICS OF CONSERVING DEPLETABLE RESOURCES
Today we will discuss the ethics of conserving depletable
Points to be covered in this lesson:
• Conservation of resources
• Economic growth vs conservation
What do you mean by the word Conservation?
Conservation refers to the saving or rationing of resources for
A basic difference between pollution and resource depletion
• Most form of pollution affects present generations (with the
notable exception of nuclear waste)
• Polluted resources are for the most part renewable
• Air and water can be renewed by ceasing to pollute
• And allowing them time to recover
• Resource depletion affects future generations
• Concerned with finite nonrenewable resources
• Since they cannot be renewed
• What will be around for future generations is just
what’s left over from the present
Resource depletion forces two main kinds of questions on us:
1. Why ought we to conserve resources for future generations,
2. How much should we conserve?
Rights of Future Generations
• It might appear that we have an obligation to conserve
resources for future generations because they have an equal
right to the limited resources of this planet.
• Future generations have an equal right to the planet’s
• By depleting these resources we are depriving them of
what is rightfully theirs
• So we ought to do our utmost to practice conservation
• To minimize depletion
• To avoid violating the rights of future generations
However, some of the writers claimed that it is a mistake to
think that future generations have rights and there are three
main reasons for that:
1. Future generation do not exist right now and may never
exist. Since there is a possibility that future generation may
never exist, they cannot “possess” rights.
2. If future generations did have rights, then we might be led
to the absurd conclusion that we must sacrifice our entire
civilization for their sake.
3. We can only say that someone