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My environmental ethical dilemma

  1. Jun 21, 2003 #1
    I consider the basis for all ethics/morality the existence of emotional creatures. I my considering of the ethical implications of any action, I consider the effects of the action upon any emotional creatures...basically, does it cause pain or joy? to what extent?

    I have been an environmentalist for a while now. The largest basis for that has been a respect for the feelings of the creatures of other species that dwell in the wild. I believe that most animals have feelings of suffering and happiness. Only those with the simplest nervous systems do not these capacities--this would include animals such as those sea-dwelling ones that look like plants, attached to the ocean's floor, and possibly some species of insects.

    I have wanted to protect other species from the death and suffering imposed upon them by human activites. However, I have recently thought about the savagery of the wild and wondered which conditions are overall, more pleasant...extermination and loss of habitat due to human activity, or the struggle for life and limb present in the wild without human interference. It is a question which I don't really think anyone could answer sufficiently at this point in time.

    I think that inevitably, some animals will suffer more at the hands of humans than under wild conditions, but some may also lead more happiness in certain animals, and human activity will certainly lead to a reduction in the number of beings existing that can feel pain.

    However, if these wild habitats are replaced with modern animal agricultural institutions--factory farms--I think that the average level of happiness in these areas would be greater in the wild setting.

    I look at all things occuring that are not the effects of my own actions--human activity and non-human activity alike--and wonder if changing the conditions by advocating environmental preservation would result in a general increase or decrease in pain and death.

    The other aspect is the value that wild environments have to domesticated animals such as humans and dogs, which obviously includes myself, and so I have a self-interest in preservation. We depend on them for resources that ensure our survival, and they provide us with recreation. This is seeming to be the more concrete reason to me, because of the doubts and questions that I have mentioned.

    [edit]
    I don't have a point to make with this post, I just wanted to express my thoughts.
    [/edit]
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2003 #2

    drag

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    Science Advisor

    Greetings !

    That's an intresting way to look at it, DD. I suppose
    it does result in a rather difficult dillema.

    My personal POV is that all forms of life are life.
    They represent the diversity of nature and evolution.
    We are the first single species of creatures on the surface
    of this planet that managed to break the evolutionary
    balance because we can exterminate entire species if we wish to.

    I think that we have a responsibility to maintain all
    forms of life, not because we must due to some false
    ideology (all ideologies are eventually false) but because
    we can and we choose to. Because that's what I think it
    means to be human.

    Unfortunetly, because there is no correct ideology there
    exists the opposite so called "practical" POV of other people.
    It says - who cares about othet life forms as long as we
    do not need them for our own considrable benefit of some kind ?
    People say - this rain-forest is great but I need to earn
    my living and feed my family so sure that's worth infinetly more
    to me and thus I will cut it down and built a city there.

    The constant growth of human world population to unsustainable proportions appears to many to be "morally" justified bacuase
    how can you stop people from giving birth(as they say) !? Who
    cares about tomorrow, they say. It will be alright, they say.

    Who's right ? Nobody.
    What should we do ? That's what humanity has to decide.

    Live long and prosper.
     
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