The attitude towards nature constantly changes with the state of affairs and how we as a society and global community need to develop. I believe that adapting the view stated by McGaa would not solve the major problems such a deforestation, population control, and pollution but help us to better understand how we can move forward from these issues and create a practical solution to help all of humanity. The Native American tradition dictates that we are on the same level as Mother Nature and share all of the same values and same space, which is not the case as you can see over human evolution and time has taken place. I believe that McGaa’s argument for the moral respect of nature including “A belief system, an ultimate moral attitude, and a set of rules of duty and standards of character,” needs to be implemented before any major change can occur. When ethics are involved it is important to note that each person has their won view on ethics and their own belief system, however the common ground between everyone’s different views is where progress is made. The environment needs to last forever and for the future generations to be plighted because of our mistakes is unfair on all of society, especially us who believe that the environment is ours to use.
I believe that there is a significant role played by human emotions when defining if something has life or not in determining animal rights. The process needs to account for all physical and emotional harm done to the animal when determining rules and regulations for animal rights, however I believe the largest factor is the human ability for compassion and justice, which animals do not have. When determining animal rights, humans come up with the legislation that gets passed into law, not animals. Humans are the activists for the animals and we are define what rules we have to follow for the sake of all animals. I believe that our system should be a tiered system with animals that have the most feeling and least compatibility to humans at the top, and animals with the least amount of feeling and most compatibility to humans at the bottom. From there we are able to differentiate which animals we want to use for testing and which animals we would not. The value on this system allows us as humans to get the most out of the animals that will be in the least amount of pain. It is my belief that animals are for human’s benefit, especially as we are atop the food chain, and we can learn from testing we do on animals. While this may not all be moral or just, I believe that a human’s life is more valuable than an animal.
The growing world population is one of the major issues when considering how to create an environment and communities where people can live in a sustainable manner and take away less then they are giving to the environment. A couple of the best ways to ensure social sustainability are to plan for the future, increase awareness, create programs for long term sustainability. First, creating a plan for the future includes conversations with leading experts in the field such as David Orr, one of the leading researchers and professors at Oberlin College on sustainable development. Conversations with Orr and his colleagues would allow for plans to be laid out and challenges such as The Oberlin Project, a complete integrates education, agriculture, renewable energy, economic revitalization, green building, policy and law, and community development, to be created for more communities all over the world. This long term sustainability creates standards for new communities that hope to be developed, especially in countries with lower building and construction standards, such as Tokyo. We as the generation with the most technology and ability to create need to think about the future generations and how we can set them up for the future with solutions, not problems such as the ones we have created with our waste and buildings. The world’s population will continue to grow and I believe that the only way to help the future generations is through programs such as the Oberlin Project.
I believe that human innovation will guide how we work with the Earth and how we impact the natural world, in accordance with our expansions in the technological field. As the dominant species on Earth, humans are the beings with the biggest impact on the landscape and environment, with a direct and long term impact on our well being. With developing technology, we attempt to integrate it all into our “natural” Earth with what I believe is a lot of success and minimal impact. The Buddhist belief that we are at one with the universe was developed long before the technologies of today, as well as the Taoist belief of oneness with nature, and to fully grasp those concepts with the advancements in today’s technology one must be able to differentiate between using and integrating technology. Integration involves using technology to better the world around us while bettering our lives. In relation to Aquinas’ belief on animal testing, I believe that while it may be an effective tool to test animals it is not ethical to subject them to painful and harmful chemicals that can potentially kill them. The Earth will not be able to heal itself, it is our responsibility as humans to make sure that we leave the Earth better than we found it. Technological advances will help with this, but the toxic waste levels and rising Greenhouse gasses are not helping the cause. As technology further develops, I believe that there will be stronger and better advances with the Earth and the global climate.
Rome was not built in a day, and those who believe that progress can be made instantly are as insane as the radicals who are pushing legislation through without the forethought of long-term work for long-term progress. The strides being made by the Obama administration are for the betterment of the environment and of the goals Obama came into office with, many of them are being completed, or have been completed to Presidential standards. From Obama’s first term he was able to pass seven of ten of his environmental priorities and partially pass another. These included one of my favorites and what I believe to be the most pressing issue, ecofriendly cars. Legislation was passed to double the mileage per gallon on cars by 2025 and prevent bankruptcy on domestic car companies to produce fuel-efficient cars with a standard of 30 miles per gallon or better. While these are not enormous leaps, such as eliminating cars that run on gasoline from driving on the road, I firmly believe that this progress will lay the groundwork for future advances such as completely electric cars (The Howard, anyone?) and other advancements that are more sustainable. Those who want to complain about a lack of progress need to acknowledge that there are other responsibilities of us citizens. We cannot focus our energy (pun intended) into sustainability and ignore the other social and political issues that we are facing and not expect there to be consequences. President Obama has had one term to make large strides on the environment and in his second term I expect him to make more advancements on the environmental issues that he has set out to accomplish. As previously stated, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I don’t expect progress to be made immediately, but over the course of time coinciding with technological advancements.