My aims in this article are threefold. First, I evaluate attempts to drive a wedge between the human and the natural in order to show that destroyed natural environments and extinct species cannot be restored; next, I examine the analogy between aesthetic value and the value of natural environments; and finally, I suggest briefly a different set of analogies with such human associations as families and cultures. My tentative conclusion is that while the recreation of extinct species may be logically (...) impossible, the restoration of natural environments raises only (formidable, no doubt) technical difficulties. Opponents of destructive developments which do not exterminate species, therefore, had better look elsewhere, rather than relying on the claim that restoration is logically impossible. (shrink)
Concern for the fate of rare species leads us to ask why the extermination of species is wrong. No satisfactory account can be given in terms of animal rights, and a speciesist perspective can yield at best only a case for preservation of those species which enough people happen to care about. An attempt is made to analyze the concept of rarity, and its relation to value. Finally, it is suggested that the problem can be resolved only in terms of (...) an environmental ethic, according to which the existence of each species, and of ecological wholes, is held to have intrinsic value. (shrink)
Almost everyone in the developed world wants the logging of tropical rain forests to stop. Like Antarctica, they are said to be much too important and much too valuable to be utilized just for development and are said to be part of a global heritage. However, it is not that simple. People in the developing world consider our criticisms to be ill-informed, patronizing, and self-serving. We are seen as having “dirty hands.” They hold that we neither have nor deserve moral (...) standing as critics until we change our trade policies, rhetoric, and extravagant lifestyles. (shrink)
Most philosophical discussion of the moral status of animals takes place within a context of traditional ethics. I argue that the conceptual apparatus of utilitarianism and rights theory is historically and logically tied to an individualistic, atomistic concept of society. The liberal-democratic tradition is thus an unsuitable framework for understanding, analyzing, and solving environmental problems, including themoral status of animals. Concepts such as stewardship or trusteeship are more appropriate for the development of an environmental ethic.