Book Chapter Details
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O’Brolcháin F.;Gordijn B.
2014 January
Handbook of Global Bioethics
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014. Although we now face issues that are global in scale, much of our moral thinking (as well as political action) is concerned with local issues, both temporally and geographically. This can be most clearly observed in the response to the environmental problems we face. The effects of environmental degradation and global warming are becoming apparent (United Nations Environment Programme, 2011), and will affect future generations, particularly in terms of interests such as subsistence. The effects are currently most keenly felt in the “developing world," where many struggle to gain access to sufficient food and to clean water (United Nations Development Programme, 2011). Future generations will have to cope with the greater degrees of global warming, further environmental degradation, and presumably fewer resources than we now have (in order to cater for a larger population). These harms are caused by the actions of current generations, but will be felt by future generations through no fault of their own. Despite widespread awareness of these harms, it has been difficult to make the changes necessary to mitigate or prevent them. Expanding the moral circle to take into account all the people of the globe as well as future generations is proving to be a difficult task. The response to the environmental crisis illustrates current problems in addressing new dilemmas that are global in scope and that will affect the lives of future generations.
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