A responsible ethic of sustainability provides values or principles that guide our relationships with each other (social justice) and with the Earth (conservation).A sample ethic of sustainability has been suggested by a partnership between the three major conservation groups in the world, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).Alarmed by the rate of elephant poaching, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banned all trade in ivory and other elephant products in 1990.
The values and attitudes we live by affect how we relate to other people and to all our activities in the environment, and so are a major influence on our prospects for achieving a sustainable future.
Although they cannot be separated from cognitive understanding, values and attitudes relate to the affective (or emotional) dimension of human behaviour.
Ethics are, therefore, essential for sustainability. Every society that has treated the land and its citizens well has had a responsible ethic of sustainability.
What is unprecedented today with emerging trends towards globalisation is the need for such an ethic to be more widely understood and practised.
This has had a major effect on the biodiversity of local ecosystems and a range of new management strategies introduced, such as culling elephant numbers and removing some to other territories. Some say that it is cruel to kill such a beautiful and majestic animal.
However, others are concerned about the deteriorating condition of ecosystems where there are too many elephants and by the damage to farm crops that is increasingly becoming a problem.While values and attitudes are similar in this regard, they differ in several important ways.This module provides an opportunity to consider the importance of human values and attitudes in shaping the future.The values in this ethic include: Q4: Identify the three values in the suggested ethic of sustainability that are most significant to you. Q6: List the actions you presently do (or could start doing) to improve the chance of achieving a sustainable future in your community – and the values that are guiding you in this.Begin by opening your learning journal for this activity.This is especially true when the resources that support life are limited and there are competing demands for them. By pointing out what is right and what is most worthwhile, ethics encourage people to think about the most important issues involved in their choices.