Wynne, Harry Stanford (2021) Environmental virtue ethics and the plastic pollution crisis: finding the missing exemplars. Masters thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

Plastic pollution has reached a crisis point, with scientists estimating that, by 2050, there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish by weight. This presents a major issue in the subject of environmental ethics and shows that our relationship with plastic needs serious re-evaluation. The exemplar approach to virtue ethics offers a useful new perspective on the plastic pollution crisis and, through the identification of environmentally virtuous exemplars, gives us guidance on how to solve the problem. Despite its capacity to revolutionise our relationship with plastic being limited by the economic system in which we currently live, the exemplar approach has the potential to greatly improve the way we treat our environment. The first exemplar identified is the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, which has demonstrated its environmental virtue through its prioritisation of the environmental rights of its citizens. This prioritisation directly results from their community-based approach, inspired by the philosophies of Murray Bookchin and Abdullah Öcalan. From an individual perspective, we can gain guidance on how to improve our personal relationships with the environment by following examples set by indigenous populations, in particular Native Americans and aboriginal Australians. It is also important that businesses have exemplars they can emulate, as companies are largely responsible for the plastic pollution crisis. The Body Shop is an appropriate exemplar in this regard, as it has consistently shown a disposition towards protecting the environment and is making an effort to reduce the amount of plastic pollution. To a lesser extent Waitrose sets a good example of how supermarkets can begin to make progress towards environmental virtue. Environmental campaign groups also set a good example by holding the government to account when it falls short of environmental virtue, and should therefore also be considered environmental exemplars.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment
Contributors: Baiasu, S (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2021 15:54
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2021 12:08
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/9722

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