Round 4: Response to Blog Prompt 3

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Human innovation has expanded so rapidly that earth is pushed to her limits. I don’t believe that truly being one with yourself and the natural world would harm earth or other creatures. Human manifestations, like nuclear power plants and oil drilling, destroy the earth and would harm us if we didn’t keep delaying the inevitable with further advances in technology. Humans abandoned the natural world when they started killing elephants for their tusks alone, started hunting for “fun” and not food, and started cutting down the oldest, largest trees for timber. If humans were one with the natural world they would do the least amount of harm to it, only seek to survive and be one with it, not dominate earth and use her materials to destroy her.

 

No, I don’t believe that animal testing is necessary; it is effective however. But is it okay to harm others so we can have new shampoo or Tylenol? In a way we are resisting earths own population control methods. We would let any plant or creature die for us, damn up any canyon to get more water to big cities; its evolution right? But maybe if we were truly evolved we could see that we are earth and earth is us. I’m not sure we should be looking to religion or even science for the “answer”.

 

I know I don’t believe what god will clean up our toxic waste, but I do believe earth can heal herself; the only issue is time. There is a good chance that we’ve doomed “humans” and probably animals too, population may just decline drastically. We cant really know what will happen and I don’t think that humans will give the earth a chance to heal, we will delay toxicity in order to extend our lives as long as possible with more “technology” and “innovation”.

 

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4 responses »

  1. I agree with your emphasis on the earth’s biophysical limits. We must seek to partake in sustainable exploitation with regard for future generations instead of overexploiting resources in order to feed our material consumerism. However, I don’t necessarily think we need to be “one” with the natural world; we should recognize our differences and our varying purposes from those of the environment, so I find it rather unrealistic in today’s progressive technological society to view the environment the very same way we regard fellow human beings. Overall, I agree that sustainable exploitation and respect for the earth’s biophysical limits is key to environmental preservation.

  2. I disagree with the above commenter’s challenge– the idea that humans “should recognize differences” and “our varying purposes from those of the environment”. It’s this very idea of us being different that makes our separation from nature seemingly perpetual.

    I certainly have my own “western” biases and I can’t say that I’ve never been hypocritical- it’s hard not to be so when we’re talking about environmental ethics in the comfort of a university setting. However, the more I learn about other cultures and the ideas that permeate Buddhism, Jainism and Taoism, I can’t continue to be satisfied with us humans being “separate” from nature and accepting it as a grounds to ignore our world’s warning signs while wearing the blinders of “human pogress”. Humans are still organisms and the chemicals that we create industrially are still a part of the environment. Everything is environment: including us! When more people realize this, I think our global resource challenge will be more easily dealt with.

  3. While I agree with your position about the dangers of the exploitation of natural resources, I disagree that it should be an issue managed upon the premise of being “one” with the Earth. Many people, including the author of The Ayn Rand Institute piece, Michael Berliner, would say that it is indeed “okay” to harm non-humans for something trivial (such as the examples you gave of new shampoo or Tylenol). An argument that just isn’t effective against that line of thinking is the intrinsic value, which is evident in your position (as Ayn Rand wrote, “of value to whom and for what?”).

    Since you consider time to be a necessary part of earth’s recovery from resource exploitation, what argument(s) do you think would be most effective in reaching out to the masses in order to motivate them to consider that message?

  4. I’m sure there are many arguments that could be effective when reaching out to the masses, but it is always a challenge to motivate people to act. Implementing policy that forces people to respect the earth to a certain extent (i.e. drastically limiting fossil fuels, water protection, development low/planning) may be the best way to go. When people respect the earth and value it with there actions, there own values shift. Education and media attention would be other ways to get the ball rolling. However, it will take a drastic shift from consumerism and individualism to a more collective outlook. Time is needed for the earth to recover from 7 billion people using her resources, but I thing policy change can start now. Once we take steps away from consumerism and see ourselves as citizens of the earth, I think we will collectively move closer to valuing the earth and each other.

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