There seems to be one overall theme that I can find between both the wilderness preservation group and the climate change group, and that theme is that if we continue our destructive behaviors, all the species on the planet, including humans, will face dire consequences. The main source of all the problems with environmental destruction, wilderness loss and even climate change are all a result of human interaction with the environment. Harvesting the Earth for it’s limited natural resources to satisfy our capitalist greed, is an important connection between the two groups. For wilderness preservation, our destruction of the land is detrimental to all areas of nature around the globe for both future and present humanity, and for climate change because big corporations exploit the Earth and it’s natural resources to make a profit. In both of these cases humans are the top dogs, the top predators and the top villain towards the environment. We control every aspect of our world in order to make money or advance the human species that the environment has no chance to recover until the source of the problem, humans, are eliminated.
From my own personal environmental ethic I find that I feel strongly towards both issues of Wilderness preservation and Climate change, and it is interesting how much these topics overlap. I find the results of human interaction to be wrong not only because we should strive to protect all living things, but the bottom line is, if we continue to act this way we will end up like the dinosaurs, except this time we dug our own grave. After reading all of the summaries or articles about wilderness preservation I feel that I can apply these arguments to my own environmental ethic in which I believe that we need to look at preserving the environment as a whole and not just the individual species or areas of nature. This belief was also argued by Calicott, in which he stated that we can’t just preserve small areas of nature like natural parks. Humans need to strive to preserve the whole globe because the environment is everywhere, not just in small areas surrounded by cities. Whether or not we live in a city or in a log cabin, we are a part of nature and we need to see the larger picture of preserving the global environment, and our own local environments. I agreed with this statement because of my knowledge about climate change, which is a global issue and cannot be localized.
Climate change is the result of increasing global carbon emissions and environmental destruction as a result of capitalist greed and discrimination between the wealthy and poor. Exploitation of not only the Earth for its raw materials but the exploitation of less fortunate people by the wealthy are all contributing factors to climate change. Big oil corporations know the effects of carbon emissions on the environment, but they make too much money selling oil that they don’t see a need to invest in alternative sources of energy. Money is the most important thing in the world, the environment and lower class people are meant to be exploited in order to serve for the betterment of the wealthy. Because of this thinking, minority groups such as African Americans are often housed near chemical waste sites, in areas that offer no environmental protection because businesses have ravaged the land for materials, and are seen as expendable with little worth compared to other people in society. Dawson discussed this topic and the people affected by hurricane Katrina. The real estate companies conned the poor African American citizens to live in a dangerous area because they would be too stupid to realize what would happen if you live below sea level. Oil companies damaged the wetlands around the city in order to search for raw materials, which decreased the effectiveness of the buffer zone to the Gulf. These capitalist corporations did not care that they were putting people in harm’s way or taking advantage of them, they wanted to generate as much profit as possible, even if that meant putting human safety and environmental protection on the back burner.
Our society is so engrained with capitalist greed that if we were stop completely stop our actions all together, instead of trying to fix them, the environment could not fix itself. The damage caused by humans is already done, and we need to be the ones to fix things. This idea of non-intervention was proposed by Matthews, and it opposes the capitalist system of our world in his discussion of wilderness preservation. Our capitalist drive to fill our own needs and desires cannot live up to non-intervention so I believe that we need to find a better way to relate to the environment. We can’t completely eliminate capitalism, but we can start to make changes in order to help preserve the global environment and help to reverse climate change. There are so many arguments as to why we need to preserve wilderness and the author Nelson lists about 30 different, and mainly anthropocentric reasons. Many of these include preserving wilderness for natural resources, animal welfare, medicinal purposes, and intrinsic value. I agree with many of the reasons Nelson gave because they are all valid arguments to protect the environment other than that it is morally right to protect other living things. I feel that I value everything the environment has to offer as a whole, not just the individual species, so for me I feel that any reason to protect the environment even if it benefits humans, is still okay. It may be extremely anthropocentric because I argue that we shouldn’t protect the environment to suit our own needs, but I feel that the environment is a valuable asset to humans and if we want to continue to exist than we should start taking care of nature, and it will return the favor. There is one final connection between the two topics, and that was the effects of over-population on the environment. Overpopulation leads to the destruction of so much land in order to build homes and attain resources for everyone that the environment can’t keep up. Hardin discusses overpopulation and how we can apply lifeboat ethics to return to a more stable population size. However lifeboat ethics require one to use discrimination in order to save the best of the human population, or use sympathy to kill the entire human population. I believe that over population is a big contributing factor the environmental problems we have today, but I don’t know if comparing over population to saving people in a life boat is the best analogy.
Overall, I think that it is important for humans to preserve nature in its entirety to the best of our ability. Wilderness preservation is important because of all the things nature provide for us both material wise, for aesthetic purposes and for scientific knowledge. Preserving only small areas just isn’t enough because the best way to save the biotic community is to preserve environments around the globe. This will also have an affect on climate change, because if we can use alternative sources of energy, prevent discrimination towards those with low socioeconomic status and find a balance between capitalism and environmentalism then the human species, and every other species, can continue to survive for years to come. The Earth is a fragile living thing, and since humans have contributed so much to the destruction of wilderness and the shifting of our climate, than it is our responsibility to find a solution to the problem.