Steak with a Side of Ethics

Puzzle Plate

Just when we think it’s safe to sit down to dinner, you may find yourself facing an ethical dilemma. Though available resources have always varied between the groups holding power and groups without power, the advance of our globalized world has had a major impact on perceptions of the problem and finding a means of addressing it in an ethical manner.

Millennials may recall the work of Bill Nye “The Science Guy” on local PBS affiliates as he worked his way around a biological food web of species tied together with string. The more he worked within it, the more the food web became entangled and some species were cut out in the process. This was a no-so-subtle representation of the issue we face having a world of individuals, yet all connected in the same need for resources, particularly food and water.

While doing work for a graduate course, I came across a paper by Lopez-Gunn, De Stefano, and Llamas (2012) that explores the ethical dilemma of attempting to create the balance of food and water security in a globalized world. The focus of the paper described the inherent ecological issues in addition to the socio-politcal forces that often play a part in resource management. While Lopez-Gunn et al. (2012) also provided recommendations for resource management that could bring balance to current situations, the challenges of two forms of ethical problems, the first being a “wicked” problem with disparate perspectives in conflict, and the second problem of engagement and support around a mutually understood and agreed issue.

Considering the challenges of developing standards that work around the world we also face the issues of a risk society (both external and manufactured) when trying to deal ethically. Two other stories that caught my attention from the AP and National Geographic, respectively deal with more issues that we need to address. Each has importance to the ethical narrative, but we must find ways of communicating our common needs that balances the respect for all individuals. The challenge as we forge ahead will be in sharing information effectively, allowing  for better resource management.

As a communicator at heart, I don’t believe this issue is an intractable one, but it will take time for everyone to adapt. We are all here on a world that feels as though it is shrinking, and as we get closer to our neighbors, we will ultimately be judged by the way we can work together, or there will be no one left to judge anything.


As a Millennial, how do you see yourself in the ethical issues of resource management? How can you communicate a path moving forward?

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