write a response to this short essay. what can you ad to the topic? Use at least one source.
Throughout this class so far I come to the conclusion that humans are different from all other life forms out there due to their ability to listen to reason and should therefore have a higher value and considered differently. I find that typically, in environmental ethics that the humans focus and value is on an individual unit. Perhaps it has changed throughout the ages, but if environmental ethic for humans were not based on individual value and the potential that each individual has no matter their circumstances, then we would live in a very different world. Case in point, Steven Hawking. Despite handicaps creating hardships for his family and himself, his contributions to society are great. This being said, for the non-human world, I think the unit of focus and value is incumbent upon the situation. If a bunch of trees in a large forest are plagued by beetles that are taking up residence and killing the trees, breeding, and spreading, then it may be best to cut down those infested trees and haul them away for the good of the rest of the forest. In this case one species is given value over another based on the ill effects of population size. Perhaps the ecosystem is the focus dependent on the perspective. More beetles’ equals more dead trees which have an impact on other species in the area other than just the trees. There is less shade for undergrowth that may require less sunshine, or protection for birds and squirrels etc.
Survival of the fittest seems to be the natural process for most species of the earth. If a horse is born lame, it cannot run or even walk and therefore fall prey to predators is left to die because there is not much to be done. The species goes on and perhaps that particular gene does not get passed on and the species as a whole becomes stronger. Based on this, I feel many animals naturally put value on the community or species as a whole. When it comes down to it if I have to choose, perhaps the focus of environmental ethics should be the ecosystem, which I consider to be synonymous with community much like Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic. This goes into wildlife management, which includes wildlife conservation, game keeping, and pest control to keep a balance in within an ecosystem and with humans (Babylon, 2014). Much like my example above, the presence of the beetle and the subsequent over population and demise of the trees upset the balance of the ecosystem. More than just the trees are impacted and for the good of the ecosystem the beetles should be controlled. In other cases, invasive plants may strangle out other native and necessary fauna to a certain ecosystem. Invasive removal is required to keep a balance. McKibben mentions “Any state wildlife biologist can tell you how many deer a given area can support – how much browse there is for the deer to eat before they begin to starve in the winter. He can calculate how many wolves a given area can support too, in part by counting the number of deer” (McKibben, pg. 262, 2012). This in my opinion would then reflect on how many deer tags can be sold to hunters to hunt etc. to control an over population that become detrimental. I do not know for sure if there is an absolute focus for environmental ethics in regard to the non-human component, but the ecosystem/community is a place to start.
Babylon. (2014). Wildlife management definition by Babylon’s free dictionary. Online Dictionary. Retrieved July 01, 2014, from http://dictionary.babylon.com/wildlife management/
McKibben, B. (2012). A special moment in history: The challenge of overpopulation and overconsumption. In L.P. Pojman & P. Pojman (Eds.), Environmental ethics: Readings in theory and application, (6th ed., pp. 260-271). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Inc. (Reprinted from The Atlantic Monthly, (May 1998).