Topic: Mass consumption
I will focus on energy consumption
You will work in groups to create a website that analyzes the ethical dimensions and debates around an environmental issue of your choosing. You will then share your information with the public through this website.
Imagine you are communicating an environmental issue to the public (plastic pollution, for example). They’ve heard some reports on scientific data pertaining to the issue such as measurements of tons of plastic in the ocean and impact on marine life population. Your job, however, is to draw on PHILOSOPHY and ETHICS to further explore the complexities of this issue and communicate those ethical aspects *beyond* science and policy considerations. Here’s alist of key conceptsfrom this class (you should absolutely incorporate SOME, although not all will apply!)
Each team member is in charge of their own personal page that highlights different aspects or dimensions of the issue. The format is up to you (videos, written analysis, etc) but your content must be based on SCHOLARLY RESEARCH (at least 3 scholarly sources for each page). Those should be listed in a Citations or Sources section at the bottom of each page.
Here’s alist of key conceptsfrom this class
· Intrinsic Value
· Instrumental Value
· Question: Does value presuppose a valuer? Is it something humans create & assign, or does it exist independent of us?
· Anthropocentrism, Sentientism, Biocentrism, Ecocentrism
· Moral Standing
· Speciesism
· Taylor’s Biocentrism (respect for life)
· Myth of human separateness & human exceptionalism
· Utilitarianism
· Deontology / Telos
· Natural Law
· Is the individual an illusion?
· What counts as a “person”?
· Question: Difference between a subject and an object?
· Intersectional approaches to animal rights / social justice
· Mass consumption vs. “compassionate consumption”
· Anthropomorphism vs. “other intelligence”
· “Land Ethic” and Indigenous wisdom (or TEK)
· Is extinction a moral crime?
· Shifting baseline syndrome and “defaunation”
· Anthropocene
· Ethics of geoengineering
· Environmental Racism and Climate Justice
· Climate colonization & Indigenous resistance
Authors/Texts with key concepts:
· Willott & Schmidtz’s “Why Environmental Ethics”
· Suzuki, The Sacred Balance (4 sacred elements)
· Robin Wall Kimmerer
· Aldo Leopold
· Peter Singer & E. Breeze Harper
· Paul Taylor
1) HOMEPAGE:the homepage should provide an overview of the topic or controversy you have chosen. This is a full-team collaboration.
2) INDIVIDUAL PAGES:Each team member is in charge of their *own* personal page that highlights different aspects or dimensions of the group’s shared issue.
· The analysis on your individual page must be supported by the OUTSIDE RESEARCH you complete over the quarter and include a minimum of 3 scholarly sources (per student). Examples of “scholarly” sources include chapters from academic publications, peer-reviewed journals, government publications, etc. You may also integrate assigned class readings as well as “non-scholarly” sources (news articles, books for general readers, etc), but these will not count toward your 3-scholarly-source quota. The majority of sources should be those you found through independent research.
· Sources should be listed in a Citations section at the bottom of each page.
· Citation format: MLA or APA (for citation guidelines, seethis guideLinks to an external site., orthis guide
3) Analysis of Ethical Dimensions & Integration with Class Discussions
For all sections of your site (both home page and individual pages): After briefly presenting the environmental issue (and supporting your points with research), you will analyze the ETHICAL dimensions of the problem. Discussions must demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the theoretical aspects we studied this quarter (someexamples here), and integrate discussions of relevant philosophical traditions, major ethical controversies and debates, and questions of rights, duties, values, obligations, and/or received cultural assumptions about our relation to nonhuman nature (whatever seems appropriate). Your discussion should be modeled on the kinds of philosophic writings you read in this class (notthose from a science or policy class) and the kinds of critical analysis we practiced in our discussions.
4) Visual elements:these can make your website more engaging. I will place FAR more emphasis on content when grading (think of the visuals as a very minor detail). However, it can’t hurt to add some images or flair!

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