“The great fault of all ethics hitherto has been that they believed themselves to have to deal only with the relations of man to man…A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men,…The ethic of the relation of man to man is not something apart by itself: it is only a particular relation which results from the universal one.”
While most of us can easily expound upon our philosophy of environmental ethics, we often struggle to live consistently with these ethics in the workplace. For it is at work that we are called upon on a daily basis to practice, or fail to practice, our approach to environmental ethics. Whether we like it or not, hard choices and decisions at work often define both our environmental values and our identity as environmental professionals.
Many environmentalists face their first major ethical hurdle in choosing where to work: within the “system,” perhaps at a large corporate or government instritution: or on the outside fringes, with a small public interest group or perhapos in a freelance capacity. This initial choice, which provides the platform from which our ideas and actions can be brought to life, invariably affects our future ethical choices.
Can employees of a profit-making corporation do “good” environmental work? Can any environmentalist create positive environmental change from the inside of a large organization? Can individuals who work outside of normal institutional channels reach enough people to make a difference?
For the third issue of Whole Terrain, we are interested in receiving submissions which deal with this theme of environmental ethics in the workplace. In addition, we are also interested in receiving manuscripts that explore ecological identity or professional choices.