The relevance and impact of ethical conciousness on environmental mangement in Zambia : A philosophical critique

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Mweshi, John
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This dissertation is informed by the need for adequate ethical consciousness in view of the perceived need for public responsibility, cooperation and participation in ensuring sound environmental management. Thus, to investigate and to critique the extent to which an adequate range of ethical principles has been incorporated in Zambia's attempts to address environmental issues was the overall aim of this study. The investigation was primarily focused on the role of government policy, the education system and the mass media in promoting responsible environmental management and practices by heightening environmental ethical consciousness.The data was gathered mostly from secondary sources such as government policy documents and other relevant publications. Backup information was, however, gathered through focus group discussions and conversational interviews with key informants. A number of issues were raised to suit each key informant's area of specialization while at the same time remaining flexible enough to allow the participants to introduce other issues they deemed relevant to the discussion.The findings confirmed the preponderance of economic utilitarianism with regard to environmental issues. This was revealed through the prevalent preoccupation with economic benefits that can be derived from natural resources at the expense of other ethically relevant environmental values.Adequate ethical principles were found to be generally lacking in terms of government policy instruments, the formal education system and the mass media as the principle channels for raising social consciousness about environmental issues. Consequently, by focusing upon the relevance of a wide range of environmental ethical perspectives, this dissertation demonstrates that the almost exclusive focus on the instrumental value of natural resources is not sufficient to ensure responsible environmental management.Accordingly, this study recommends that there is need to expand environmental ethical horizons in order to widen public and individual environmental concerns by integrating and articulating relevant environmental values and ethical obligations. This approach has a significant bearing in terms of adjusting government priorities and programmes, both in terms of its interaction with local communities and with the private sector. While the question of government leadership has been highlighted as a crucial factor, this does not suggest that leaders are the major problem since the character of leaders is a reflection of the characteristics of the wider society from which the leaders have emerged. Thus, the need to sensitize the public is critically important. The relevant institutions such as the Environmental Council of Zambia, the education system and the mass media play a key role in this process.
Environmental Management , Environmental Law - Zambia