ENVS203: 2.1.5 Discussion


#1

After you have studied all four viewpoints, attempt to identify which of these views is closest to your own beliefs. Or, explain why these views are not close to any of your beliefs. This can often be hard to do, and while we may think that our ethics regarding the environment rest in one place, they can often be very different when we truly analyze our behavior.


#2

I think for me the view that fits my belief system the most is the Gaia theory./hypothesis. I do think of the world as a whole that is self-regulating and self-sustaining. However, the theory does not describe how we then should treat the world. I think that all ethics are basically anthropocentric since it is the humans who give value to things, but that does not mean the world does not have value, or that i consider myself above non-human nature. I believe we have the duty to take care of the world, since that would mean that we as a species can survive. To survive as humans, we need a functioning earth. To value worms above a brother or a sister does not feel right to me. Therefore I have an antrpocentric Gaia ethic, (I think).


#3

Reading this, I agree in full. Mine from more of a Christian point of view of anthropocentrism. Having said that, as a Christian, we are to take care of and not destroy nor use senselessly the environment for our own needs. And it is true about the Gaia effect, the Earth will take care of itself, like Dr. Lovelock stated, however, at what price? We don’t have the room nor capacity to move 7 billion people just to survive, so there will be casualties if we do not do something now.


#4

Well there hasn’t been a reply in a long time but this is still part of unit 2.1 so I welcome input.

Obviously the Anthropocentric perspective cannot be sustained. I lean towards the arguments proposed by Gaia Theory in that the world is a system over populated with humans that will need to re-balance itself, but the perspective that science is somehow, in some way wrong, will not be taken lightly by the whole of humanity – let alone the radical view that the planet is alive (albeit makes sense and with more proof could have a good case for itself). If there was even a branch of science that focused on working together with other branches of science as Lovelock criticizes our current scientific system with having no capacity for, then we would be much closer as a society to creating coherent interdisciplinary solutions throughout that could identify problems, get funding much more easily, and begin to solve them with globalistic force. Added bonus is we might be able to keep Gaia from killing most of us.

The past two weeks for us here in Denver, Colorado have been in the mid 60’s and have even reached into the upper 70’s – breaking records as well as setting them for the middle of February. It makes me cringe thinking of the summer in a couple of years, not to mention what’s going to be happening in the rest of the world. There are already food shortages in Venezuela and rivers drying up in plenty of other places too.

As a side note, Hydroponic Farming – specifically in shipping containers like what is being done by Square Roots created by Kimbal Musk – is a cool solution to there being less water, less land available for agriculture, and more mouths to feed.

It’s obvious something’s got to change and more weight ought to be put into the huge ideas that have the capacity to solve our problems. What about farming mass quantities of algae in open areas of the warming oceans where they’ll grow particularly well, produce plenty of food/fuel, foster miniature ecosystems, and even new areas to fish? Or as Lovelock suggests, start efforts to introduce charcoal into farming which purportedly has the ability to far exceed our demand for reversing the effects of global warming than are needed to mitigate them annually. We need these and other creative solutions to, as he puts it, “Ask Gaia for help.”

Obviously anything proposed will be a hard sell because we’re human and that leads to blatant Anthropocentricism – rightly so. But I agree with Nynke24 that all ethics here are basically Anthropocentric in the respect that we’re the one’s who came up with them and they’re supposed to be what’s best for humanity. Any argument that’s not is ludicrous and is forgotten the moment it’s uttered. So even in the bleakest of these arguments there’s hope.

If an opinion is to make any impact at all, it has to A) not interfere heavily (at first) with the anthropocentric standard, unless some catastrophe directly linked to global warming occurs allowing it to do so and B) is applicable in many degrees comparable to the multitude of ways humans are able to adapt their lifestyle to accommodate the global effort to stop global warming. As was stated earlier in the course by Aldo Leopold, “An ethic, ecologically, is a limitation on freedom of action in the struggle for existence.” and I agree fully with that. Huge economic and political incentives are what’s needed to motivate governments and so that’s where our solutions must be aimed. What if, instead of net zero communities there were net positive ones? What if human waste actually produced energy in the typical restroom? We’d all be contributing to the cause whether we care for it or not, making up for a little more of what we exhale every day.

I’m sorry for rambling on, but that preface was important because my ethics begin with action – ethics have no relevance without it. In pure theory, however, it is my belief that we need the perspective of Gaia Theory to motivate our action, and our action should be that which perpetuates the integrity, sustainability, and beauty of the action in a system as a whole (Land Theory). I hesitate away from calling my belief deep ecology, though, because where deep ecology calls for spiritualism, I believe there is no room for it in practicality based on logical grounding. I felt the hedonism in the readings based on the part about clouds over the Atlantic Ocean, so don’t get me wrong I think it’s an eye opening perspective. But in the face of global diversity it is too much to think we will replace Christianity at the epicenter of ecological belief, and it is too much to ask the everyday Joe to understand these things the way we do. If they just act in accordance to Land Theory as a part of an overall system, in the 21st century that will be enough.

Although the rest of the world sees it as overly idealistic to hope for Land Theory to spread, I believe there is room for at least a version of it in 21st century education. I am an education entrepreneur on a mission to affect educational change in America and I’m confident we can fit integrity, beauty, and sustainability into a new system America uses. The old one is stuck back in the industrial revolution anyways. It’s thoroughly efficient at killing creativity and making my friends depressed, but in that fact we have been given a gift in the form of vast opportunity for change. The country is screaming for what we don’t have. If ideas are the currency of our generation, imagine what could be done for the environment when the ecology of Land Theory is applied to it.

Cheers.


#5

Yes ! Man will exploit the environment in every which way to meet his wants and needs. These impulses arise out of his desires… greed and the thirst for power. This Anthropocentric style of life at a fever pitch will hurl us to catastrophic destruction.
I have been smitten by the arguments of Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis. This scientist makes such a lucid case for the need for change that ought to jar those who live blindly within the supremacy of man’s selfish needs without consideration of the lethal consequences of such lifestyle for human existence.
Yes, I support the protection of all life that nature spawned. I realize that I must respect all forms of life from insects to elephants, Biocentricism promotes a very valid perspective for human behavior. I understand and accept that in the human drama in case of vermin such as rats and a scenario of marauding bears we need to act to protect ourselves in a variety of ways before we use violence.
The arguments of ecocentricism with its emphasis of “land ethic.” provides weighty argument to bless the land and nature. Never have I accepted the dangers of overpopulation and dangers of food shortages until now.
Naess justifiably argues we must exercise deep questioning of environmental issues that arise and identify problems that could impact our world.
Lovelock’s explanation of the Gaia Hypothesis is the first discourse I have seen that scientifically makes such a rational case for a new world view that puts man at the centre of the need for sacredness as he or she contemplates the life dynamics of sun, atmosphere, water and earth that impacts us even now and could doom life as we know it.
To think that the rise of water levels never before seen as a constant phenonomon
is one sign of the destructive nature of global warming is scary. As 40 percent of the northern ice pack shows, man must consider the seriousness of global warming. It is not fear mongering. " A Gaian approach opens new doors of perception and opens our vision of the interdependance of all things within the natural world."
Not only the laity must live according to the tenets of ecology’s requirements of a sincere
adaption of principled living but the scientific community must use an approach to scientific research which reflects deep personal commitment to the sacredness of the world’s ecology.


#6

The theory I most identify with is the Deep Ecology theory. I think I identify with it the most because of how much it emphasizes that while humans are the most advance that means it is our job to protect the other life on Earth and not taking advantage of it. It states that nonhuman entities have value that is measured by far more than just what they are worth to humans.


#7

Within the ideologies of Ness,Stephen Harding, Turlington and Barnhill i only assumed that i knew some, not a lot, but had an understanding of ecology and world view matters pertaining to the planets future. After reading the material thus far i presume myself ignorant to the depth of the problems we face as a race in the protection and preservation of the planet, and how that is being thwarted to the advancement stages of “no going back”, and what is now ‘damage limitation’.Deep Ecology appeals more to me in that it recognizes our plight as a race within the paying forward of awareness in education and the concrete evidence it has developed, and yet ignored by some many, and in so many offices of state.


#8

I think that the Gaia hypothesis holds the closest believe to what I have, as everything is interconnected to support each other in life as a whole. There are many examples which proves this hypothesis as supportable, the most obvious one is looking at the food chain of most live beings. How the bees help spread the pollen to flowers and the flowers then produces honey for the bees to harvest. and how mice gets eaten by the snakes and the eagles ends up eating the snakes. I wouldn’t be able to imagine how hard it is for the life of the beings on the third chain factor if the second chain factor goes extinct.


#9

Overall, my view falls closest to that of Anthropocentrism. I am a Christian and I strongly believe that mankind was given dominion over the Earth by God. However, in the short explanations we watched and read on Anthropocentrism, I can’t help but feel that the commentators do not give it a chance. Anthropocentrism is not inherently bad as many of the authors we read imply. It, like all the other Ethical views, has it’s virtues. Human’s being at the top does not necessarily mean raping and pillaging the land at our pleasure. From a Christian perspective, it means valuing Human life first, and secondly being a good steward of the land.


#10

In my opinion, the Gaia Hypothesis seems to feel like the “correct” view. I will admit, watching the creator of the idea argue his case made a big impact. The idea that all things, sentient or not, hold an important place in our interconnected world makes sense. I do believe that it will take a tremendous effort to change human’s anthropocentric tendencies but it’s hard to blame the human race for not realizing this prior to our more recent understanding of science and nature.