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Environmental Ethics

Volume 6, Issue 3, Fall 1984

Rita C. Manning
Pages 211-225

Air Pollution
Group and Individual Obligations

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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