Environmental Ethics: The Ethics of Oil Spills

A major oil corporation advertises in newspapers, magazines, and on radio and television about what it is doing to protect the environment and endangered species. At the same time, it is responsible for oil spills caused by carelessness both on land and at sea, which, of course, destroy all kinds of sea life and animals that live there. When such spills occur, unless they happen to hit the newspapers because they cannot be hidden from public view, employees are told to clean up the spills, but not to tell anyone outside of the company or even inside the company who does not already know about it. This, of course, would seem to be hypocrisy of the worst kind.

Do you think the oil company should spend more time and money on preventing oil spills than on building shelters for endangered species? Why, or why not?

What would make the companies less hypocritical?

Should the company keep such spills secret when they are unknown to the public or do they owe the public the right to have that information as well as the advertisements about what they’re doing to protect the environment? Why, or why not?

Is it all right to keep such spills secret because it’s good for business? Why, or why not?

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