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Attitudes and Ethics of Conservation

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by Jennifer Dever on 3 October 2013

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Transcript of Attitudes and Ethics of Conservation

Attitudes and Environmental Ethics
Ethics and Conservation
moral: Of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior, especially for teaching right behavior.

ethics: The study of principles relating to right and wrong conduct.

Anthropocentric Environmental Ethics
view that only humans are worthy of ethical consideration;

1) from Western philosophical and religious traditions:
Plato & Aristotle
Man was "created" in the image & likeness of God, given dominion over the earth and all other creatures, and `then commanded to subdue the whole creation.'
A). Judeo-Christian Stewardship Ethic:
Old Testament: God pronounced everything to be "good“, assigning intrinsic value to all forms of life;
Genesis (2:15) suggests the role of man as a RESPONSIBLE CARETAKER AND
STEWARD, rather than a tyrant, establishing objective intrinsic value of nature by divine decree.
Lev. 25:23-24. The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.
therefore: HUMANS ARE DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD FOR CONSERVING BIODIVERSITY


B) Islamic environmental ethic
Islam perceives the natural world as a creation of God that reveals His glory and attributes.
Qur'an' 17:44 - "The seven heavens and the earth and all therein declare His glory; there is not a thing but celebrates His praise"

The world is a holy place, the "whole earth is a mosque" (Manzoor, 1984) thus all is holy ground and should be protected.
Pillars of Islam
[unity, trusteeship and accountability] are pillars of its conservation ethic.
Non-Western Environmental Ethics
Conservation Virtues necessary too:
Conservation requires habits of virtue:
respect
self-restraint and frugality
wisdom and hope
patience and serenity
benevolence and love
justice and courage
Attitudes shape behavior
People are more likely to behave according to their attitudes under certain conditions:
When their attitudes are the result of personal experience.
When they expect a favorable outcome.
When the attitudes are repeatedly expressed.
When they stand to win or lose something due to the issue.
an increase in awareness does not change one's behavior
Attitudes are defined as the enduring positive or negative feeling about some person, object, or issue. Closely related to attitudes are beliefs, which refer to the information (the knowledge) a person has about a person, object, or issue.
Pro & Anti Conservation Behaviors
from: DOI:10.1080/13504620220145401 (Kollmuss & Agymen, 2010)

Stern's (1993) model of individual behavior has 3 components:
1) social orientation is concerned with the removal of suffering of other people
2) egoistic orientation is concerned with the removal of suffering and harm from oneself
3) biospheric orientation is concerned with the removal of destruction and suffering in the non-human world
Motivation = V (egoistic orientation) + V (social orientation) + V (biospheric orientation)
Altruism is an important factor for most pro-conservation models - individuals must focus beyond themselves and be concerned about the community at large.
Why do people become "environmentalists"? (Chaw1a, 1998)
· Childhood experiences in nature
· Experiences of environmental destruction
· Pro- environmental values held by the family
· Involvement with Pro-environmental organizations
· Role models (friends or teachers)
· Education

Barriers to action:

individuality (attitude & temperament)
responsibility (can't influence events, or don't consider it their responsibility)
practicality (social & institutional constraints)
Blake, 1999
Environmental Ethics = Discipline within philosophy that articulates the ethical value of the natural world
Priorities - Preservation of natural environment and the Maintenance of biological diversity

Each species has a right to exist
All species are interdependent
People have a responsibility to act as stewards of the Earth
People have a responsibility to future generations
Respect for human life and concern for human interests are compatible with a respect for biodiversity
Nature has spiritual and aesthetic value that transcends its economic value
Biological diversity is needed to determine the origin of life

Arguments for priorities of Environmental Ethics
Psalms 104:24. How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number - living things both large and small.
Revelation 4:11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created
"life-centered" ethic, all life is equally valuable
Leopold, first biocentrist

Biocentric Environmental Ethic
Deep ecology = the argument for the intrinsic value or inherent worth of the environment–the view that it is valuable in itself; environmental philosophy that builds on the basic premise of biocentric equality, which expresses the intuition that “all things in the biosphere have an equal right to live and blossom and reach their own individual forms of unfolding” (Devall and Sessions, 1985).

Humans live in harmony with nature
All nature has intrinsic worth
The Earth’s resources are limited and must be used carefully
Technology must be used with respect for the Earth

Ecocentric Environmental Ethic
recognizes that the Ecosphere, rather than organisms, is the source of life, of creativity, of evolutionary design, and of all meaning
Thus, no single organism is more important than another.
Ecocentrism does not even distinguish between animate life and inanimate matter or process. The entire "sphere" of life is important
Gaia hypothesis (James Lovelock) = proposes that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis.

required to supplement what conservation science and law alone cannot provide!
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