Gaia (book) - said Earth is a living organism
revenge of gaia (book) - organism striking back
Welcome to the Anthropocene
Anthropocene is the idea that Earth's geological history of the Earth has been
altered by humanity
Measured by large changes
Coming to terms with Ecology
Natural limits and overpopulation
o Garret Hardin: the Tragedy of the Commons
finite resources and infinite growth
can't have infinite growth based on finite resources
Human nature and the commons, a cautionary tale
Freedom to breed - children put extra demand on the global system
o Paul Ehrlich: The Population Bomb:
The Neo-Malthusian Thesis and the spectre of overpopulation
Thomas Malthus said the populations grow exponentially
while food supply does not
o How should we measure population by numbers or by resources use
problem is they consider population as if all humans were the same
should measure by consumption, not amount of people
Anthropocentrism vs. biocentrism
o Anthropocentrism (human centered) - as humans we only have responsible
for other humans
o Biocentrism = should preserve enivronment/animals because they provide
Does the world and its biota have value beyond human purposes?
o To what field of beings and things do we attach our ethical judgements?
o How do we exclude "others" (both human and non-human) from our ethical
o The answers to such questions are hardwired into:
the way we talk about or "construct" our world, the way we place value on elements of our world,
the way we conceive "community"
What are natural resources?
Athabasca oil sands
Strip Mining: total ecosystem destruction
o strip away the entire earth where the oil sands are located
Natural resources become more valuable to us based on their usefulness
Towards a Biocentric World View
Is the environment something "out there" that we simply interact with as we seek
the material basis (livelihood)
What if we consider human life to be no more special or privileged than the lives of
other living (and non-living?) entities?
What if we conceive of "community" in terms of the networks of material flows that
make the distinction between "in here" and "out there" blurry and fluid?
National Citizenship vs. Ecological Citizenship
National citizenship is have rights/responsibilities to things within your national
Ecological Citizenship is where we start breaking down the ethical boundaries
Addressing joined-up problems in a fragmented world
Constituting citizen rights and obligations: political allegiance or mate