In every addiction support group they say that until you acknowledge your addiction, realize who you have harmed and ask their forgiveness, there is little hope for lasting change. I think this holds true for the environment as well. People have an addiction, the addiction for more: more power, more possessions. To heal this widespread addiction of damaging our earth by our desire for more, widespread acknowledgement and repentance is also needed to facilitate a lasting change.
I believe the key to our survival does lie in a small-scale community and governance structure. The more localized you are, the more you are able to solve and prevent problems in your area. One large government is good for things such as taxes and controlling major resources and roadways. But to really build good policy everywhere, local government and community could do that significantly better. People who live in an area know the land better and can create policy and community to become more resilient and mobilized for the coming natural disasters. We are part of the natural world. We have the same ability to adapt as a community and as a species. However, if we don’t acknowledge the damage done and the fact that we need to change our ways significantly, earth and our species could be in a lot of trouble.
I believe humans “can” have a deep connection with the earth, and I don’t believe religion is the biggest factor. You get out what you put in. A connection with the environment is like any other relationship. It needs to be cultivated- so actually spending quality time in nature is key. The costal communities in Dr. Siwatibau’s article have such a deep connection with their environment because they depend on it, spend time with it, and cultivate their relationship with it.
Religions taking a stand on environmental issues is admiral and undoubtedly helpful but I don’t think it can slow climate change at this point. We will only feel the impacts of what we’ve don’t to increase climate change in years to come, maybe generations. However, the human race can definitely slow of stop environmental degradation, as to not exacerbate the ozone damage we have already done.
There is a lot to be said for Catherine McGee’s insight on mindfulness. Knowing yourself and loving yourself awakens you to the fact that your also one with other creatures and the earth at large, and to extend that compassion to the earth as well. We definitely have an intrinsic connection to the earth, but we shut that off like we shut off the true connection we have to ourselves. We don’t look because then we have to acknowledge our imperfections and our limits. That blindness to ourselves is reflected in how we shut off our connection with the earth; we aren’t in tune and we just want progress without acknowledging earth’s limits or the damage we are causing as a human race.
Societies views and norms are constantly changing. Whether fast or slow, I think change is possible in most instances. The trouble is bringing about that change. I think society could acquire Native Americans’ understanding or interconnectedness and by extension gain a greater respect for earth. More and more people may realize this respect is needed soon due to impending crisis with climate change and nuclear meltdowns. However, having society as a whole acquire these beliefs on nature is no simple or quick matter. In my opinion if would take a shift away from consumerism, and early education in appreciating the environment. It would also take an almost transcendental shift, a need to simplify life.
I don’t think a blending of views would fix all are problems. Pollution is already out there and it might affect us years in the future. Also, no matter what societies views are, until people shift from individualism to a collective outlook and interconnectedness wars will keep occurring. There isn’t an easy fix to the problems of the world (especially the one of population) but developing a respect for nature and understanding of interconnectedness is definitely a great start.
I think communities in Western culture really don’t emphasize nature as much as they should, and community is ambiguous, it seems like community could include or dis-include a lot of “groups”. I think growing up my own ethics on the environment developed toward a dislike of consumerism and a pool more to Native American ethics on the environment. (probably since I wanted to grow up to be an Indian chief) I think the only person in my “community” who really influence my ethics on nature was my dad who took me on outdoors trips and encouraged me to be adventurous. The collective community didn’t seem to actually value nature, it was more about technology, consumerism, and other western beliefs.
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”.
Should human preference even matter? I’m not sure if it’s possible for it not to. We can prefer actions that benefit us and disregard the natural world, or we can prefer something else, like preserving biodiversity. I think the real issue is if humans can view the world from a non-athropocentric perspective. Undoubtedly, there are individuals and organizations that have biocentric and ecocentric agendas. The Greenpeace Organization holds up strong ecocentric ideals throughout the world; however, it is argued that if we are humans trying to develop policy that protects the environment, that humans’ interests are at work, making it inherently anthropocentric. Environmental Romanticism is a movement that seems to have reemerged often throughout the last few centuries. The basic ideals are that there is beauty in nature and that we need to be closer to nature to be harmonious in life, similar to Henry Thoreau’s reasons for isolating himself at Walden pond.
A middle ground between Norton’s weak anthropocentrism and environmental romanticism is possible if there is compromise and focus on policy that is beneficial to the survival of humanity as well as conserves nature and its beauty for the good of humans. However, a compromise needs to be found between intrinsic and instrumental value that would pose a fundamental issue .