Episode 12 – The Environment

Interviewees Peter Singer and Katie Steele question if the environment has its own ethical interests which overshadow those of humans.

Teacher Notes

Content overview

This episode considers ethical issues related to the environment and arising from human interaction with the natural world. Discussion begins with a question of whether the environment is valuable only for its benefits to humanity, or whether it is inherently valuable.
The episode also explores concepts of responsibility, collectivism and global inequality.

Links to Ethical Capability

• Distinguish between the ethical and non-ethical dimensions of complex issues, including the distinction between ethical and legal issues (VCECU021)
• Discuss issues raised by thinking about consequences and duties, in approaches to decision-making and action, and arguments for and against these approaches (VCECD022)
• Investigate how different factors involved in ethical decision-making can be managed by people and groups (VCECD023)

Complementary curricula

Victorian Curriculum: Geography
VCE Environmental Science (Units 1, 3&4)
VCE Food (Unit 4)
VCE Geography (Unit 3)

7-10 HSIE syllabus (Geography)
HSC Earth and Environmental Science
HSC Agriculture
HSC Food Technology
HSC Geography

Questions and discussion points

  1. Why should we care about the environment?
  2. Is it more important to save animals of an endangered species than it is to save animals from a common species?
  3. Who has the greatest ethical responsibility to respond to climate change?