October 8, 2019

Ethical Stewardship, See Video Below


Leaders must demonstrate the highest moral standards and ethical conduct in their everyday actions, decisions, and behaviors. Philosophers, religious leaders, and thinkers from ancient times have emphasized the importance of ethics for leaders, if they are to attain effective governance.  The thought of effective governance brings me to a letter that I received from Senator Ted Cruz.  The letter was a response to a correspondence that I sent to his office regarding Congress’s dismantling of critical environmental protections.



Sen. Cruz’s letter begins by thanking me for contacting his office regarding my environmental concerns.  He then says, “It is our duty to act as responsible stewards to protect our waters, air and land, as well as the many plants and animals that inhabit the country. The best way to protect all these resources is rational environmental laws, balancing the protection of the environment with the rights of private property owners”.  On the surface, this is not an unreasonable position.  He further states, “We should also recognize that protecting the environment and promoting economic growth are not mutually exclusive policy goals”.  Cruz ends by blasting the previous administration’s environmental policies and protections.  He also praises the Trump administration for “rolling back costly Obama-era environmental regulations” Nowhere does Cruz identify how he plans to balance environmental concerns with the rights of businesses and property owners!  No where does he address the negative impact of human existence on our natural resources.  

 Watch Dr. Doug's Radio Program speaking on this editorial above


Although ‘‘ethics has been a subject of discussion for centuries, recent environmental policies have caused the debate to expand across scientific disciplines and politics. One probable reason for the increased interest in ethics is the ethical transgressions that have been revealed in the recent political scandals.  The world has witnessed unethical and even toxic leaders, who exploit the loopholes in political systems in order to fulfill their personal desires.  Human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century.  


According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change a changing climate is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities and infrastructure.  The United States stands to lose more that half a trillion dollars in economic output due to climate change.  Another trillion dollars will be lost in infrastructure and real estate damage due to rising sea levels. 


Cruz and politicians like him are mortgaging our future. Cruz doesn’t care about the environment because it does not affect him or his peers.  Climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction disproportionately affects communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities and depopulated rural communities.  


There have been ethical and unethical leaders since the dawn of human civilization. The growing complexity of our economy, escalating speed of information and greater pressure for profits have increased the probability of conscious and sometimes unconscious ethical lapses in decisions, actions, and behaviors. An ethical leader would comprehend the existing state of the environment and act to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.



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