Sample Research Paper on Environmental-Based Ethical Dilemma

Ethics are motivational ideas mainly concerned with the good and bad values of a society in line with the moral obligations. They are circumstances in which two alternatives which neither can resolve situations in a morally acceptable manner, are put on measure for choice. In such an instance, personal or societal moral guidelines cannot provide adequate direction for choice, which most cases though, is assumed that choice of measures is entirely dependent on social norms or religious teachings making the choices morally unfeasible.

In the society today, Ethical Dilemmas have culminated in to failure to make vital decisions on environmental conservation and health related strategies, yet many individuals regard these environmental issues as though they have no control over making them worse or better while practically, it is the sole responsibility of every member of the society to conform to the standards of environmental conservation and protection. In recent years there has been increased civic education on the need for conserving the general health of our environment as well as the multifaceted chain of human interactions that connects all existence on the planet. In reaction, environmental studies are emerging significantly in the education curricula as a means of fostering environmental morals in learners for the future (Antony 1989).

The biotechnological productions in agriculture, most commonly referred to as genetic modification of agricultural produce for example, has elicited world over debate as to whether it is an acceptable venture in consideration to the global environmental ethics and policies. Studies show that the genetically modified foods are much safer for consumption due to reduced use of pesticides and fertilizers which would cause environmental pollution and poisoning of the food resulting into death. According to the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States, some pesticides cause over 10,000 illness incidences each year while others contribute to the death of 1-2 Million birds each year in the United States alone (Phipps et al 2002).

On the other hand, valid perceptive fears have also been aroused concerning the genetic modification.  Biotechnological production would contribute to cross breeding of plants with weeds causing pesticide resistance. Some may exhibit severe allergic reaction which may result into discomfort or constant medication. Environmental ethical dilemma hence comes about when facts and benefits of development in countries are weighed against social supposed risks without supportive proof; sometimes forcing authorities to implement unethical moves such as banning of biotechnological production at the country’s development expense (Phipps et al 2002).

Kant (1989), on “Categorical Imperative” suggests that, “in order for an idea to be given equal measure of attention, it must be considered good in line with the prevailing policies” (p.29). This ascertains the right and the wrong of taking a given step. Precisely, an act is ethically wrong when contradiction would follow in its results.

In general, as Kant explains, ethical considerations are reliant on the basic understanding of the societal ethical values. In view of our society, we can analytically realize that ethics are universal and vital part of us, so to establish the pros and cons of a particular choice; categorical imperative is an important tool to use. In this respect, just like one would not choose to kill himself so as to solve his problems, the same way dilemmas with perceptive risks claims without evidence should be resolved through the decision of facing the risks rather than putting the entire advantage of a larger group at stake. This is because, once majority of the population accepts an initiative, it is considered ethically acceptable to the advantage of the entire society (Kant 1989).

In conclusion, Ethical dilemmas can cause a major standoff within a society, but with significant developments in life, individuals adopt new techniques in life rendering traditional norms and codes baseless. The decisive point is, imperative inclusions of all aspects of life into the solutions would play a major role. Ethical dilemmas therefore are both an environmental as well as a social concern.


Kant, I. & Antony, S. (1989) Ethics and Social Concern. New York: Paragon House Publishers.

Phipps, R. H. & Park, J. R. (2002). Environmental Benefits of Genetically Modified Crops: Global and European Perspectives on Their Ability to Reduce Pesticide Use. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences, 11 (1), 1-18.