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Flashcards in Chapter 6: Ethics Deck (15)
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Define environmental ethics

new discipline that articulates the ethical values of the natural world
-challenges the materialistic values that dominate modern societies

ethical arguments are powerful

-foundations in value systems of most religious, philosophies, and societies

-we often make decisions not based on economic reasons
-child labor, slavery, cruelty to animals


Describe the intrinsic value ethical argument

the value that something has in itself

has value for its own sake

not required to be useful

Each species has a right to exist because it's there.


What are the general ethical arguments for preserving species? (5)

They have intrinsic value

All species are interdependent

People are stewards of the earth

People have a duty to their neighbors

People have a responsibility to future generations


What is the argument for "all species are interdependent" ethics

if we value some parts of nature, we should protect all of it

survival unit is the whole system: spaceship earth


What is the argument for ethical conservation: people have a responsibility to act as steward of the earth?

based on religion

e.g., judeo-christian tradition

humans have been given the responsibility for protecting the natural world

hinduism recognizes kinship between humans and other beings

ahisma: kindness to all life
shared with jainism and buddhism


Describe the argument behind "people have a duty to their neighbors".

damaging the natural world harms other people

duty to other humans requires us to live with sustainable limits

-ecological footprints
--consumption of energy (wind, solar, coal)
--consumption of other resources (nickle, metals, petrolium)

more equitable distribution of consumption and pollution


Describe the argument that people have a responsibility to future generations

damaging the natural world will harm future generations

THe risk is that we pass on a diminished world

-fewer resources
-more pollution
-little ability to know and explore the natural world
--world is more than human artifacts


How is respect for human life and human diversity compatible with a respect for biological diversity?

can link economic development of disadvantaged people with protection of biodiversity
-working with indigenous people to protect natural communities rather than to overharvest wild species (ecotourism brings in the money)

Environmental justice: empowering poor and politically weak people to protect their own environments

do conservation biologists care more about other organisms than people? probably not.
-look for win-win situations


What is enlightened self-interest? How does it relate to biodiversity and human development? (6)

aka what are some human-oriented reasons we want to preserve the world for noneconomic reasons

Aesthetic and recreational enjoymenbt of wildlife and landscapes *enrich people's lives

artistic expression and philosophical insight

scientific knowledge

historical understanding of our ancestors (walk their landscapes)

religious inspiration

protecting our life-support systems and our economy


Why would artistic expression and philosophical insight be valuable in biodiversity

nature provides inspiration for painters, sculptors, poets, writers, musicians, philosophers

loss of biodiversity would limit these experiences and diminish our intellectual resources (increasing exposure to things like art helps our brain develop)


Why would prserving nature lead to more scientific knowledge?

scientific knowledge is among humanity's greatest achievements

facilitated by preservation of nature
-inspiration to become scientists
-source of questions

when ecosystems are damaged and species become extinct
-lose valuable sources of information
e.g., human evolution and characteristics


How does historical understanding relate to our enlightened self-interest in biodiversity

key to understanding our ancestors (walking their landscapes at their pace)

need to preserve natural areas to preserve our ability to imagine their lives


How does religious inspiration relate to our enlightened self-interest in biodiversity

many religions have traditions of wandering in the wilderness

judeo-christians, buddhists, native american traditions

solitude in wilderness can provide spiritual strength and the guidance of god/spirits

vs. babble of humans which sux


How does protecting our life-support systems and our economy relate to our enlightened self-interest in biodiversity

Degrading ecosystems is contrary to our real interests in the long run

biodiversity provides life-support systems and allows us to create wealth which we overexploit


what is deep ecology

philosphy emphasizing biodiversity protection through personal lifestyle changes and political change

affluenza: unsatisfying and unending pursuit of increasing material wealth

based on the right of all things to live and thrive on earth
-humans have a right to live and thrive but not at the expense of all other species

note the difference between the ecological and hte individual emphasis of species/individual survival