Response to Prompt 2 on Norton’s essay

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      Like Norton, I do not uphold that recognition of intrinsic value of nature and other species is necessary for us to work toward their continued preservation. In a society where an ecological contract does not exist and relationships are defined primarily in terms of human individuals, arguments based on intrinsic value are not the most effective route to achieving environmental preservation. We must frame the case for ecological preservation in a way that seems personally and immediately relevant for the human race. Thus, I, too, advocate for a sort of weak anthropocentrism wherein ecological preservation is ultimately necessary for the continuation of the human race. For example, Norton mentions that we can feel free to use all of the resources we’d like to meet our luxurious fancies as long as we can find a substitute or replacement that has the same function so that future generations are not hung out to dry.

      I do believe that our quickly-developing technology is certainly jeopardizing our relationship with nature. As we, especially in Western culture, become comfortably accustomed to our technologies, we are simultaneously depleting our resource base and threatening biodiversity on many levels. Furthermore, I think there is a lot to be learned from third world countries regarding this dichotomy between nature and technology. Third world countries, lacking many technological, industrial advancements that we have in the Western world, often value the preservation of nature for survival and spiritual reasons; thus, because they are living among nature and rely upon it for their livelihood, they engage in sustainable exploitation so as to not deplete the resources on which they depend to survive. If we do not find a way to manage our technologies in a sustainable way and slow down this exponential resource depletion, human life on earth is ultimately going to suffer. However, the struggle for environmental preservation and reform continues to lie in emphasizing the salience and the immediate relevance of these potentially dire consequences to constituents who often fail to prioritize change in an area that does not seem immediately threatening to their livelihood. Waiting, however, is no longer an option if we are to continue the human race a ’la Norton’s weak anthropocentrism.

 

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