Ethics Primer for University Students Intending to Become Natural Resources Managers and Administrators

McNiel, Richard. (2006). Ethics Primer for University Students Intending to Become Natural Resources Managers and Administrators. Natural Resources and Environmental Issues. 7(23): 141-146.

Richard McNeil discusses the definition of ethics, ethical theories and ethical concepts while relating them to environmental management issues. He focuses on subsets of ethics, natural resources ethics and environmental ethics. McNeil states “generally, ethical theories provide frameworks which help us to relate ethical conclusions in some consistent, logical, and defensible way,” (McNeil, 110). McNeil introduces the ethical theories people use when considering the environment: consequentialism, rule-based theories, rights-based theories, institutionism and virtue ethics. These theories, along with the sample ethical concepts he describes provides a framework for the reader to understand how people handle environmental issues. Along with the descriptions of these theories and concepts McNeil provides real world examples and case studies in order to emphasize his points. McNeil concludes with the important points that there is no “god-given” system of ethics that can be used. The world is complex and so are the situations that include moral dilemmas. McNeil encourages readers to make efforts to further understand ethics and how to utilize different ethical tools and also says that patience and humility are necessary traits to possess. These tools are important for people to understand when considering environment and resource management. Authors such as S. Ravi Rajan, Theodore Panayotou and Gregory Ferguson discuss, in detail, specific ethical dilemmas that arise when trying to manage the environment and natural resources. Without the theories and concepts McNeil emphasizes, we would not have a proper framework for how to perceive and handle the ethical dilemmas that are so commonly associated with environmental management and degradation.