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Environmental Ethics is concerned with the moral relations that hold between humans and the natural world. The ethical principles governing those relations determine our duties, obligations, and responsibilities with regard to the Earth`s natural environment and all the animals and plants that inhabit it. The term “the natural world” is referring to the set of natural ecosystems on our planet, along with the populations of animals and plants that make up the biotic communities of the those ecosystems.
Source: Paul W. Taylor, Respect for Nature, A Theory of Environmental Ethics, Princeton University, 1986