One of the topics in my Lasallian Business Leadership class is Ethics and Environment. I was very amused by the counter questions and statements I have read through during the discussion. I firmly believe that each one of us has the moral responsibility to take care of our environment and enable our current resources to flourish so that the next generation has something to use.
But then a few questions and statements popped up during the discussion that questioned this belief, such as “Future generations cannot have rights because they do not now exist and may never exist.” “Will future generations ‘miss’ what we have ‘taken from them’? (How could they if they never will know what they have ‘lost’? and ‘Do human beings need nature that implies an obligation to preserve it? What is the evidence for this?’ At first, I was shocked by these statements and asked, “how could someone think this way?” but in reality, yes, these questions are being asked when we talk about taking care of the natural resources and preserving it for the next generations.
As mentioned in the discussion, our challenges regarding environmental issues are deeply rooted in our culture.
Fixation on money: Things with no monetary value in their natural state are not worth anything.
Belief in omnipotent technology: Technology can be used to solve all our problems.
Belief in management through fragmentation: Do not think about communities and interdependencies; mismanagement of “The Commons.”
These are quite alarming since this has been how the world has been since I can remember. This way of thinking is dominant rather than the opposite of what we should be doing. It was also mentioned that nature must be seen as an “other” that can be cared for and with which one has a relationship that must be nurtured and attended to—treating nature as if it is one of our own or members of our direct family that needs to be taken cared of. Humans should see themselves as stewards of nature, not as masters who should dominate nature.
As I understand it, a paradigm shift is needed when we talk about the issues, challenges and obstacles faced in the environment. Since it has been proven that one of the causes of environmental issues is deeply rooted in our culture, we must act and change the way we see when it comes to our duty to the environment. One cannot just turn a blind eye to this issue.
Everyone must be involved in caring for nature. The discussion mentioned a beautiful phrase worth reflecting upon, “The demands of caring imply that one ought to attempt to see matters from the perspective of those with whom we are thus directly related and that we attempt to care for their specific needs.” We should treat the environment the way we take care of our aging parents or our newly born children. In this way, the care given is personal and not just bound by adherence to the law or compliance with the rules and regulations.
If I am to sum up all the learnings and experiences I got from this course, it is about STEWARDSHIP. Being a steward of the Lasallian teachings and living up to our founder’s values as he started the Lasallian way of teaching. Being a steward of good leadership, looking beyond the race and gender of my colleagues. Being a steward of this planet, we only have continuously advocated for the betterment of the earth through talks or awareness sessions that will spark paradigm shifts on how they see nature and its resources.
The author is an MBA student at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, DLSU. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.