Environmental Perspectives

Environmental Systems and Society
Environmental Value
The “world view” or set of
paradigms that shape the
ways that individuals and
groups approach
environmental issues.
Inputs and outputs
 Inputs: Media, religion, education, background, science,
politics, economics
 Outputs: Decisions, perspectives, course of action
(Nature Centered)
(people centered)
(Technology Centered)
Minimum disturbances
to nature
People are managers
of the Earth
Technology solves
 All life has inherent value
 We should not cause extinction of other species
 We should protect habitats and ecosystems
 Humans are not more important than other species
 Resources are limited
 We need the Earth more than it needs us.
Deep ecologists and Soft
Deep Ecologists:
 Nature has more value than humanity.
 Biorights for all species
Soft Technologists /Self-reliance
 Small scale, local community action
 Individuals make a difference
 Humanity centered environmental perspective
 Nature is used to benefit mankind
 People from MEDC tend to be anthropocentric
 Humans are the most important species
Environmental Managers
Environmental Managers believe that humans can use the
Earth’s resources while taking care of it.
 The Earth needs tending: Stewardship
 Governments legislate and protect the environment
 Humanity center environmental perspective that places a
lot of faith in technology.
 Humans control and manage resources
 Humans can solve any problem we cause, including
 Economic growth is viewed as useful in solving
environmental problems
Cornucopians are optimistic
 The world has infinite resources
 Technology and inventiveness can solve problems and
increase living standards
 Earth is a spaceship and we are the crew!
Environmental attitudes
 Complete the questionaire on page 18 in the Course
Companion in your notebook.
Chief Seattle
“Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every
shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the
dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All
are holy in the memory and experience of my people. “
Aldo Leopold, 1949
“ A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity,
stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong
when it tends otherwise. “
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to
us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we
may begin to use it with love and respect.” Aldo Leopold, A
Sand County Almanac
The Land Ethic
The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to
include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the
land….A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration,
management, and use of these ‘resources,’ but it does affirm
their right to continued existence ,and, at least in spots, their
continued existence in a natural state.
 In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from
conqueror of the land community to plain member and citizen
of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect
for the community as such.”
~Aldo Leopold
T. O’Riordan
 “The most serious, insidious danger in the
environmental movement is that it may sap the will of
advanced communities to face the problems which no
doubt lie ahead. Throughout history, hope for the future
has been a powerful incentive for constructive change.”
 Maddox (1972) in Environmentalism T. O’Riordan
Rachel Carson
"The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is
the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous
and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part
irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world
that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part
irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the
environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized
partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world—
the very nature of its life.”
Carson was the author of the book Silent Spring.
James Lovelock – The Gaia
“A billion could live off the earth; 6 billion living as we do
is far too many, and you run out of planet in no time.”
“ Any species that harms the environment to a point where it
threatens its own progeny is doomed and will become
extinct...and that's us.”
Arnold Naess
 “We are living on an incredibly beautiful little planet, but
our human existence is threatened. If we are to survive
we have to learn to think differently. The thinking for the
future has to be loyal to nature. It must encompass all
humans and all living creatures, because everything alive,
in itself, has a value.”
Naess is credited as the father of the deep ecology movement.
Mahatma Gandhi
“The earth, the air, the land and the water are not am
inheritance from our fore fathers but on loan from our
children. So we have to handover to them at least as it
was handed over to us.”
“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but
not for man’s greed.”
George W. Bush
"It would be helpful if we opened up ANWR (The
Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge – a wilderness
reserve). I think it's a mistake not to. And I would urge
you all to travel up there and take a look at it and you
can make the determination as to how beautiful that
country is.”
Mar. 29, 2001
Barrack Obama
“ One of the things I draw from the Genesis story is the importance of
us being good stewards of the land, of this incredible gift. And I think
there have been times where we haven’t been [good stewards], and
this is one of those times where we’ve got to take the warning
seriously [about climate change]. And part of what my religious faith
teaches me is to take an intergenerational view, to recognize that we
are borrowing this planet from our children and our grandchildren….
We have to find resources in ourselves to make sacrifices so we don’t
leave it to the next generation. We’ve got to be less wasteful, both as a
society and in our own individual lives … As president, I hope to rally
the entire world around the importance of us being good stewards of
the land.”
Source: 2008 Democratic Compassion Forum at Messiah College Apr 13, 2008
John Passmore
“ To take our ecological crises seriously...is to recognize, first,
man's utter dependence on nature, but secondly, nature's
vulnerability to human depredations—the fragility, that
is, of both man and nature, for all their notable powers
of recuperation. And this means that neither man nor
nature is sacred or quasi-divine."
Author of Man’s Responsibility for Nature 1974
Seymour Papert
“I think there is good reason to believe that if everything
were open, fewer bad things could happen. So give
everyone the tools to observe and communicate what is
Papert is a mathematician, computer scientist and educator
Wes Jackson
 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId
GM crops Monsanto
 Monsanto's commitments
 Find the video at the bottom of the page
 Monsanto's Committment to Sustainable Agriculture
Patagonia without dams
 Patagonia Sin Represas
Hans Rosling
 Gapminder 200 years that changed the world
And you?
In your notebook, draw a table with two columns labelled
“Ecocentric” and “Anthropocentric/Technocentric”.
Complete the “To Do” assignment on page 22 in the
Course Companion.
Also copy and complete the “review table”

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