Ethical dilemma

I’d like to revisit something I mentioned in an earlier post and think it through a little more deeply.

Nothing too controversial, just a simple fact: 90% of Queensland’s gas come from coal seam gas.

I wrote this statement in one of my earliest posts, but it wasn’t until last night that it finally ‘clicked’, and I understood what that meant for me. I was boiling a pot of water and realised: I’m boiling this water with coal seam gas. My shower is hot because of coal seam gas. If your house is connected to gas, you’re probably reliant on coal seam gas too!

How does it make you feel? If you’re anti-CSG, how do you feel about supporting the industry every time you turn on the stove or heat up your water? Do you object to the industry to such a degree that you’re prepared to cut back your gas usage or even switch your gas stove to electric (and have soggy stir fries)?

It’s a classic ethical dilemma. A matter of consistency. Consistency is an important means of defending ethical views and, in ethical theory, is generally recognized to be a requirement of morality. That is, to validly claim that you are ethically opposed to something,  you must hold this ethical view consistently across all aspects of your life.

In the case of CSG, how do so many people reconcile their objection to the industry, while continuing to consume its product? Based on the notion of ethical consistency, objectors to the CSG industry should either stop consuming CSG or don’t truly hold ethical objections to the industry.

To put it in plainer, less philosophical terms, I say, why sign a GetUp petition while continuing to enjoy your gas hot water? Surely it’s better to vote with your wallet!

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One response

  1. if course if you were to use electricity only, this would be coming from a coal burning generator with its associated pollution.

    A quick question – is all gas (cooking type) derived either from coal (as coal seam gas, or cooked from coal) or oil deposits ( as natural gas or cooked from oil)?

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