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Causes of the environmental pollution:
Each generation exercises power over its successors: and each, in so far as it modifies the environment bequeathed to it and rebels against tradition, resists and limits the power of its predecessors. This modifies the picture which is sometimes painted of a progressive emancipation from tradition and a progressive control of natural processes resulting in a continual increase of human power. In reality, of course, if any one age really attains, by eugenics and scientific education, the power to make its descendants what it pleases, all men who live after it are the patients of that power. They are weaker, not stronger: for though we may have put wonderful machines in their hands we have pre-ordained how they are to use them. And if, as is almost certain, the age which had thus attained maximum power over posterity were also the age most emancipated from tradition, it would be engaged in reducing the power of its predecessors almost as drastically as that of its successors.
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There is no widely accepted ethical argument with regard to inter-generational equity and the human epigenome. There are however, numerous questions to consider, including: (1) how to characterize the nature of the duty; (2) for how many generations does an epigenetic effect have to persist to implicate intergenerational equity; (3) how do the severity, type, duration, and reversibility of the harm affect inter-generational equity; (4) how should the harm’s effect on individuals, families, cultures, and humanity be assessed; (5) what effect does recognition of intergenerational equity concerns and epigenetic processes have on contemporary environmental policies; and (6) how does the existence of transgenerational epigenetic effects relate to intragenerational equity?