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Chapter 6 The Sustainability Imperative.docx

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Brock University
David Fennell

Chapter 6 The Sustainability Imperative Rise of Environmental Concern • Greeks thought of the world as a living goddess • Romans held concerns over land degradation and soil erosion • Religion and capitalism polarized humans and animals • “Its Gods will that man exploit nature for his proper ends” • Mysticism and holism replaced by a mechanistic view of nature during the scientific renewals of the 1500s and 1600s • Science- push the bounds of the human empire • Calculative mindset- planning, efficiency, productivity, technology, empiricism and arrogance Anthropocentrism • Human-centered view of our place on the planet • Our mastery of nature • Nature is here for our use (instrumental value) Speciesism • Humans- intrinsic value • Animals- instrumental value • A prejudice or attitude of bias in the favor of the interests of members of ones own species and against those of members of other species • Not intra-group qualities that separate one group from another • Humans deserve more consideration than all other species on the basis of intelligence, reason, communication, and so on • Anthropogenic- impacts derived from human activities like deforestation and mining • Ecocentrism- quality of the environment more important than human progress. Intrinsic value of the natural world Deep Ecology • Dislike of the anthropogenic value system (industrial culture) • Value of nature independent of human wants or needs 1. The well-being of human and nonhuman life have value in themselves 2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values 3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital human needs 4. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires a decrease in human activities 5. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive 6. Policies must be changed 7. The change: life quality rather than an increasingly higher standard of living 8. Those who subscribe have an obligation to implement • The ecoregion concept • Decentralization • Breakdown of industrialization Environmentalism • A social movement dedicated to protecting the natural world (and people) from undesirable changes brought about by human activities Environmental Thinking John Muir (1838-1914): • Voice against US manifest destiny • Founder of the Sierra Club, and resident of Yosemite • Political advocate for preservation of wilderness • Protect the wilderness in a pristine condition • He really pushed for preservation as “saving from use” • Muir was an ecological thinker, political spokesman, religious prophet and scientist (geologist). • Raised on discipline (new testament) Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946): • First US forester, advisor to Teddy Roosevelt • Opposed wide spread devastation on the basis of efficient use • Conservation was the new frontier to string out resources for an expanding population • The greatest good of the greatest number, for the longest time • He was representative of the ‘saving for use’ perspective • Conservation Aldo Leopold (1887-1949): • Forester and game manager • Emerged out of the conservationist and preservationist camps • A new relationship between people • Conservation is a state of harmony between man and land • His land ethic changed man from conqueror • All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for his place in the community, but his ethics prompt him to cooperate. The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals or collectively: the land. In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such. Rachel Carson: • Silent spring (1962) • Dense population, driven by technology heavy industry and intense resources • Better off economically, but living amid dirtier air and water with more toxic substances • First to call alarm to the effects of toxic chemicals and pesticides (DDT) Sustainable Development • Emerged from the eco-development push in the 1970’s • Harmonization of social and ecological objectives, o Wise management of environment
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