Globalization can be defined as a process through which people and communities all over the world come together to experience a common social, technological, economic, cultural and political integration. Modern transportation, communication, legal infrastructure and political choice strongly influence globalization. Despite some minor disadvantages, people still find a lot of substantial benefits in it. Globalization has affected the way nations engage in their economic, cultural, social and political affairs.
Globalization has several aspects that affect people, communities and nations. One of them is the environment. Globalization has influenced the manner in which nations deal with environmental issues. The environment has become a major concern to all nations. It is an issue that requires a global consideration because it crosses territorial borders of states. Natural and built environments have a direct effect on the development potential of people. A single person or nation cannot own all the resources provided by the Earth. Nevertheless, every person has the right to enjoy natural resources (Prakash & Hart, 2000).
Globalization has changed the way nations think about the environment. Environmental issues, including sustainability, pollution, degradation and conservation, have become an international concern. Public institutions that include international, non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations seek solutions for environmental issues in a collective manner. Such organizations as the United Nations, Greenpeace and Worldwatch Institute, strove earnestly to find solutions to environmental issues. The fact that environmental issues affect the world in equal measure shows that nations have a moral, legal and ethical obligation towards environmental conservation (Kütting, 2004).
Nations have a moral obligation to protect the environment for the benefit of future generations and peaceful coexistence. They also have to ensure that their citizens live in a clean environment and can enjoy the resources provided by the Earth without depleting them (Speth, 2003).
People have a legal obligation to protect the government. With the advent of globalization and the establishment of international organizations like the United Nations, states incorporated and formulated policies that would help in the conservation of the environment. A clear example that shows the legal obligation of nations to protect the environment is the international environmental law. In other words, it is a group of treaties, statutes, regulations, conventions and common laws signed by countries to regulate the use of natural resources and protect the environment against degradation and massive pollution. Therefore, nations have a legal liability, both internationally and locally, to protect the environment properly (Boomgaard & Hart, 2011).
Nations also have an ethical obligation to protect the environment. It is unethical to destroy and pollute the environment either consciously or not. Certain environmental problems are caused by individuals, but they affect other people, as well. For instance, industries can pour their chemical wastes into the rivers. A country may dump waste illegally, in areas that affect people in other regions. Therefore, all nations have an ethical responsibility to protect the environment carefully. Respectable citizens depend on their governments. They ensure that the environment is properly protected and that all people observe and obey the laws and regulations formulated to preserve environment (Collier, Dollar, & Bank, 2002).
Consequently, the environment is an aspect of globalization as it affects the entire world without respect to territorial integrity. Nations have a moral, legal and ethical obligation to protect the environment because it is an issue that requires a collective responsibility of all people throughout the world.