Many believe that we are in serious trouble today as human beings plunging headlong into a major climate crisis on planet earth. Our course eText on Environmental Ethics states the following: There is no denying that the global climate is changing, as the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased during the past century.  … Coastlines are crumbling as the climate changes and sea levels rise… storms are increasing in severity … the Arctic ice cap is melting… (MacKinnon, 427). Some skeptics dispute whether the changes are entirely man-made, but the vast majority of experts believe one of the major causes of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels … (MacKinnon, 428). The following video link and quoted material provide: 1) a summary of a U.N. Climate Change Report from 2019 (the video), and 2) an explanation of the meaning of speciesism as Dr. Richard Ryder first used it (the quotation ).  After reviewing these, please respond to the discussion questions listed below. U.N. Climate Change Report: On Dr. Richard Ryder’s use of the term speciesism (which term the moral philosopher Peter Singer later made more popular): “The view that only humans are morally considered is sometimes referred to as ‘speciesism’. In the 1970s, Richard Ryder coined this term while campaigning in Oxford to denote a ubiquitous type of human centered prejudice, which he thought was similar to racism. He objected to favoring one’s own species, while exploiting or harming members of other species” (Gruen, Lori, “The Moral Status of Animals”, Fall 2017 Edition, Edward N. Zalta, ed., URL = ). Carl Cohen of the University of Michigan, speaking in Germany, believes that animals do not have rights: Discussion Questions (please address both 1 and 2). [1] How does the hearing of this U.N. report on the climate crisis affect you, your values, your sense of the world and its future?   What human beliefs or values today will more likely prevent needed changes in our way of life, methods of production, or government policies?  And what beliefs or values will more likely lead to the kind of changes needed to address the climate crisis? [2] Do you think humans are biased against animals, as moral philosophers like Peter Singer express with the term speciesism (and therefore we should not eat them), or Carl Cohen’s arguments against animal rights ( and therefore we can eat them).

The U.N. Climate Change Report, along with the concepts of speciesism and animal rights, raise important questions about the impact of human actions on the environment and our treatment of other species. In light of this information, it is crucial to consider how this report affects our values, our sense of the world, and its future.

The U.N. report on the climate crisis is undoubtedly alarming, highlighting the detrimental effects of increased carbon dioxide levels, rising sea levels, and severe storms. This information can have a profound impact on individuals who are concerned about the environment and the well-being of future generations. It may reinforce the urgency of taking action to mitigate climate change, leading to a reevaluation of personal values and priorities.

However, the impact of the report may also vary depending on an individual’s beliefs and values. Some people may be more resistant to change, clinging to traditional methods of production, consumption, and government policies. These individuals may be skeptical of the report’s findings, dismissive of the need for significant changes in lifestyle, and resistant to policy measures aimed at addressing climate change. Such beliefs or values that prioritize short-term gain and convenience over long-term sustainability can hinder efforts to combat the climate crisis.

On the other hand, individuals who prioritize environmental sustainability and recognize the urgency of the climate crisis are more likely to support the changes needed to address this issue. They may advocate for sustainable practices in various sectors, such as renewable energy, reduced consumption, and conservation efforts. These values prioritize the protection of the environment and the well-being of future generations, potentially leading to a more sustainable future.

Furthermore, the concept of speciesism raises important ethical questions regarding our treatment of animals. Speciesism, as defined by Richard Ryder, highlights the prejudice inherent in favoring one’s own species while exploiting or harming members of other species. Moral philosophers like Peter Singer argue against this bias, suggesting that humans have a moral obligation to consider the interests and well-being of non-human animals.

Carl Cohen, on the other hand, argues against animal rights, suggesting that animals do not possess moral standing or rights. This perspective, which perceives animals as inherently inferior to humans, may justify their use and consumption as resources for human benefit.

These arguments prompt us to reflect on our beliefs and values regarding our treatment of animals. Are we biased against animals, prioritizing our own interests over theirs? Or do we recognize their inherent value and advocate for their rights and well-being? The answer to these questions will shape our attitudes towards issues such as factory farming, animal testing, and the use of animals for entertainment or clothing.

In conclusion, the U.N. Climate Change Report and the concepts of speciesism and animal rights invite us to examine our values and beliefs. The report may influence individuals to reconsider their perspectives, leading to a greater understanding of the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for change. Similarly, the ethical debates surrounding speciesism and animal rights challenge us to question our treatment of animals and consider their moral standing. By critically assessing these issues, we can foster a more sustainable and compassionate future for animals and the planet.