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Environmental Ethics

Thinking about the world would always boggle our mind. Painting humanity with it brings the picture more wonders. Why? It is because the product of the two essences is a complexity. It comprises of many web chains which shows the persisting truth that every organisms and every men is interlinked and connected no matter how tangled the connections look like. But then, this is how things are, its just is!

Here, comes ecology, and with us as its steward and an active part, is an ecological man. Now, how to zoom out an ecological man? There is no certain dictionary wise definition of an ecological man. However, the following point of views would lead us to the better understanding of an ecological man.

Ecological Man sees himself as hopefully master of his of his emotions and impulses, a self-governing member of the globally-distributed human species, his setting as the whole ecosphere which he must share coequally with all life. His mode of adaptation, he is beginning to know, cannot be parasitically exploitive; it must be founded on such a sweeping knowledge of ecological imperatives that it will in fact be symbiotic. Ecological Man will learn to adapt in a way that benefits both him and his host. Ignored by the western philosophy, man's relatedness with environment is the assumption of environment ethics. The view is not entirely new. Abundant traces of it are found in the consciousness of people. For instance, the Genesis tells how God formed man out of the soil and placed him in the Garden of Eden of all kinds of trees nourished by forking rivers. The place before the fall of man implied peace and harmony among all living and non-living things. Likewise, in the Taoist and Confucian tradition a mythical golden age is pictured. Zaener quotes Chuang Tzu: "Yes, in the age of perfect virtue men lived in common with birds and beasts, and were on terms of equality with all creatures, as forming one family; how could they know

themselves the distinction of superior man and small men. Equally without knowledge, they did not leave (the path of) their natural virtue; equally free from desires, they were in a state of pure simplicity. In that state of pure simplicity, the nature of people was what ought to be. But when the sagely men appeared, limping and wheeling about in (the exercise of) humanheartedness, pressing along and standing on tiptoe in the doing of righteousness, then men universally began to be perplexed." (R.C. Zachner, The Catholic Church and World Religions, Faith and Fact Book, Burns and Oats, London, 1964, p.72) Within the context of Taoism, the animism of pre-historic Filipinos is not ignorance and superstition but an ecological perception. That si Malakas and si Maganda emerged from bamboo is an allegorical explanation of man's natural dependence on plants. For Paul Shepard this is a possibility: "The elegance of such systems and the delicacy of equilibrium are the outcome of a long evolution of interdependence. Even society, mind and culture are parts of that evolution. There is, between the emergence of higher primates and flowering plants, pollinating insects, seeds, humus, and arboreal life." (Paul Shepard: 59) Humans are deeply connected with nature. If humans identify with nature, then taking care of the natural world will become part of taking care of one's self. Yet human beings destroy nature and its bountiful gifts for short term and pecuniary gain. For the ecological individual the world including the functioning of their own internal organ systems is subject to to complex interactions of a nearly countless myriad organisms. Each organism is its own actor with a certain degree of free will if we take the term loosely.To cope with the main challenges we are facing today, overexploitation of resources (at a global level), unfair distribution of wealth (nationally and globally), food safety, and inefficient use of resources, we argue that it is necessary to make fundamental changes in economic theory and practice. It is necessary to establish new forms of interaction, taking into account and respecting the multitude of values. We therefore discuss a necessary change in worldview, from a mechanic to an organic worldview. In addition we focus on the concept image of man, a change from economic man to ecological man. Ecological man seeks sufficient happiness for the greatest number of people in contrast to economic man who seeks personal gain. With this change we need to elevate the level of analysis from the traditional micro level to the meso level. According to economist Paul Ormerod, it is a problem that economists normally suffer from a kind of metaphysical blindness, assuming that economics

is a science of absolute and invariable truths, without any presuppositions. He argues that some economists go as far as to claim that economic laws are as free from metaphysics or values as the law of gravitation. In other words, since economic laws are compared with classical physics we can conclude that economics is based upon a mechanical worldview. Ormerod asserts that conventional economics offers a very misleading view of how the world actually operates, and needs to be replaced (Ormerod cited in Pearce 2001, p. 5).

We had been introduced to how it should suppose to be that man must have the innate ability to be protective and to relate with nature. This Nature has been made to sound as a Lost Paradise.

What is this Lost Paradise about?

Both myth and science point to an ecological paradise. That man has lost sense of his kinship with nature owes to the influence of "ambivalent culture". Thomas Merton traces this ambivalence to the Puritan settlers who regarded it a religious duty to wage war against nature. The Puritans regarded the wilderness as the domain of moral wickedness, since it favored spontaneity, amounting to "sin". The Puritans were sagely men spoken of by the Taoists. Their attitude towards nature was inherited by the pioneers - both of wilderness and of technology. The book of David Oates Paradise Wild, accordingly, advances numerous claims. Its title thesis concerns how American environmentalists in the tradition of Muir understand nature. Oates contends that many environmentalists today see nature as a paradise lost. He locates this view in the writings of Muir. He also sees the view in the beliefs of environmental activists who push for no-use and extreme protectionist policies. Oates thinks that, for such people, if we touch nature, we corrupt it. So nature must remain forever beyond our reach, a paradise lost. Oates sees the nostalgia this view generates in the mournfulness of those who rue the loss of nature as already gone beyond reach.

In this era, what could be the factor of this paradise lost? Could it be because of man and technology?

Technology is the complex technique for achieving a predetermined result through rationalized process, using various hardware such as: machines, instruments, or robots. Our modern city is a maze of concrete intestines where foreign bodies of cars, buses, factories and people crawl and squeeze each other, belching and breathing-in poisoned gas. Even our cultural values have been bastardized to suit the convenience of modern life-styles. Where, for example, agricultural needs bonded people to land and fellowmen, industrialization has categorized people in perpetual conflict for the limited resources of Nature. As a result of humankinds use of enframing technologies, we can argue that natures ecological integrity has not been considered. This lack of consideration set the stage for the current ecological crisis. Enframing technology, on the other hand, is a type of revealing technology that challenges nature without respect for its ecological integrity [Heidegger, (1977, 1993), p.321]. Enframing involves turning nature into a standing reserve for human production. If we are to combat (and prevent) environmental degradation, it must be an interdisciplinary undertaking. Some of the most influential areas are technological research and development and technology and environmental policy. They must all favor natures ecological integrity as much as possible. For this purpose, we need a way to talk about technology in a systematic vocabulary. Within Leopolds dictum, there is a designation of the terms right and wrong. The terms are applied properly when a thing does or does not promote the integrity, beauty, or stability of the biotic community.We can assume that a thing, for the purpose of this discussion, is a technology. From these designations, we can take an additional step and say that a thing being right is an ethically good technology, and we can say that a thing being wrong is an ethically bad technology. However, when it is difficult to argue that a technology is either good or bad, we can replace good with better and bad with worse when it is more appropriate. When we are able to make these measurements, we can promote the technologies that favor natures ecological integrity the most. Research and development, under the eco-technological

imperative, allow us to refocus how we make technologies that favor the environments wellbeing and, in turn, we favor our well-being. This idea might seem far-fetched and overly ambitious. Yet, if it is promoted adequately, then a civilization as ambitious as ours is must be consider a worthwhile and achievable goal. Feenberg (1999, p.69) argues: A society that can destroy life on earth by the careless application of fluorocarbon deodorant sprays is indeed beyond the pale of any rational calculation of survival chances. History is over in principle in the sense that the old conflicts and ambitions must give way to a radically new type of human adventure, or else the species will surely die.

My Reflection

Man and nature is a package .Whatever happens to nature, affects man. For humanity does not just involve his own body but evolved with his kinship to his environment too. The new era which has leapt into great technological advancement is a living scenario of the connection of men to nature. However, the hideous fact that has been an issue this century is the development may be very beneficial on monetary value or for the promotion of a quick and easy pace of lifestyle but it could never be avoided that this depreciates the natural beauty of nature such as the uncontrollable pollution which in dire consequence impacts peoples health. The years showed that we are closely near to losing our affiliation to what must be our paradise. So, let us be awakened to preserve the nature- the chief source of what become of us, while theres still left to be saved and nurture.

References: weak_anthropocentrism_revisited

Environmental Ethics
(Part II:Written Report)

Submitted to: Prof. Virginia Barbara Nillas

Submitted by: Jenny T. Villanueva (BSAE-2E2)