In the end

Ethical issues will, by definition, remain dilemmas. What you do in the bush will always be judged with the accuracy of retrospective vision, however you still need to make ethical decisions. No recipe exists for ensuring appropriate decision making, but the following, adapted from Hunt (1990) can serve as a guide and acts as a summary to this section. These points are:

  • Sort out the ethical dilemmas from the facts of the situation. Don’t confuse that which can be known with that which involves moral judgements.
  • Avoid purely subjective or personal responses to ethical dilemmas.
  • Develop and discuss your personal and professional ultimate good. Consider how this fits with that of your workplace and/or your participants.
  • Don’t cast an objective ethical position in stone so that it is not open to renegotiation and interpretation (you might be confronted with another leader’s words, a management manual or published safety guidelines)
  • Recognise ethical issues before they arise and before trips begin.
  • Determine a priority of what is ethically important. Try to avoid issues which are not easily resolved, yet have little bearing on the quality and outcome of the trip.