Air Pollution: Group and Individual Obligations

Environmental Ethics 6 (3):211-225 (1984)

Abstract

The individual motorist often defends his unwillingness to change his driving habits in the face of air pollution by pointing out that a change in his actions would be insignificant. The environmentalist responds by asking what would happen if everyone did change. In this paper I defend the environmentalist’s response. I argue that we can appeal to the following principle to defend both group and individual obligations to clean up air: if the consequences of everyone doing aare undesirable, then each and every one ought to do was he can to prevent the undesirable consequences.

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Rita Manning
San Jose State University

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