1. Explain in detail what Calicott means when he says the [wilderness] concept perpetuates [a false] dichotomy between “man” and “nature”.
Callicott criticizes heavily the modern concept of “wilderness” which was perpetuated by modern society which define the idea that the wilderness are places that are ‘untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain”. The rationale behind this criticism is that this philosophy in the environment is anthropocentric and considers the environment as heavily dependent on the action of human beings. Further, this viewpoint erases the collective memory of the indigenous peoples in North America, Africa, India, and Australia which are occupied by the western powers. This disregards the fact that these indigenous peoples have dwelled in the wilderness as pointed out by this philosophy far before the visit of man. Another criticism behind this statement by Callicott is the fact that this viewpoint justifies the eviction and dispossession of the lands for the purpose of converting it to national parks. This gravely defeated the very purpose of conservation itself.
2. Explain in detail, what Partridge means when he says “the next camper has a right to clean campsite, (not because of who he is as an identifiable person) or when he is but for what he is… [a part] of our moral community who might have an interest in enjoying the use [of the campground].
Ernest Partridge is one of the popular proponent of environmental conservation and sustainability. From this quotation, it may be derived that the very purpose of such statement is to promote the responsibility of the individuals to clean his own damage to the environment. While he pertains primarily to the responsibility of the individuals, he used the term “right” because it is included in his right to be saved from the detriments caused by the degradation of the environment. Meanwhile, the membership of the camper in the moral community compels him to think of the individuals who might be affected by his actions. The campsite is a metaphor used by Partridge to describe the environment and the Earth as a whole.
3. Explain, in detail, what Thompson means she says there is a “remarkable similarity between the way in which people learn to appreciate art, especially art that is difficult to appreciate, and the way they learn to appreciate and value natural environments that at first seem hostile and ugly.”
This statement made by Thompson is based on the premise that the manner on how people perceive the beauty of the environment is dependent on his/her own judgment conforming to the ideas of environmental aesthetics. This quote seeks motivation for the individuals to appreciate the beauty of the environment and that they will fight to preserve it. While it is true that the manners people appreciate the environment, and the art alike, are both subjective, it may be inferred that the environment has a unique beauty which only people who can understand it appreciates. Further, another interpretation for this quote is that those who truly appreciate the beauty of the environment not merely considers its aesthetic value but also its substance, meaning and importance.
4. Explain, in detail, what Turner means when he says “at least when dealing with the phenomenon of life, we must allow for the possibility that we can only understand something truly by knowing its future.”
Turner, in citing this phrase, described how complex the process of the formation of the living organisms. There are several complex processes which are needed for the perfection of the body of the plants answering the questions why it was necessary instead of simply utilizing its built in growth features or cloning. He answered that it is necessary for the variation of the plants whereas they are looking for the most compatible match or the best gene possible. From this illustration, Turner mentioned the phrase as these questions which are raised by many individuals regarding the process of plant growth and reproduction showed how we cannot understand the simple little things in life. This phrase means that individuals can only appreciate the purpose of these little yet complex processes if we are able to see its final product. Hence, if assessed individually, we cannot understand why these little things are necessary. By having knowledge of the final product of the process, then we can understand why it was needed.
5. Critically evaluate the restoration thesis. Any destruction or use of what has value in nature can be later compensated for by the later creation or recreation of something of equal value.
I think that what is natural may not be replaced by anything artificial despite having equal value. Meanwhile, there is no clear definition or computation as to the value of the nature as things like the disruption of the natural processes may be raised thereto. These things cannot be compensated by money as artificial things or even the natural things may not supplement the chain of loss or destruction to the environment. For example, this thesis pertains to the replanting of the trees after cutting it down for commercial or industrial processes. While such practice is considered ethical nowadays, the mere act of cutting down trees disrupts the natural process or the basic function of the uprooted trees like the holding the soil to avoid erosion, absorbing water to avoid flooding, and converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. In consideration of this, it takes years to decades before the newly planted trees can perform the same functions effectively and thus such destructions disrupts the natural process.
This criticism conforms to the viewpoint of Philosopher Robert Elliot who has criticized this thesis by citing that it is an act of faking nature while arguing that the natural areas have more values that artificial or restored ones (Katz, 1998: 204).
6. Critically evaluate the moral justification of eco-civil disobedience or eco-sabotage
One of the justifications used by Govern (2009: 235) to reason the correctness of eco-civil disobedience is the utilitarian theory which pertains to the happiness of most individuals. Such moral justification indicates that drastic measures are necessary in order to achieve the aggregate happiness of most people. Thus, violence and other forms of disobedience is necessary for the protection of the environment whereas it is resorted as an alternative to those which government institutions are ought to provide.
My criticism of this argument is that utilitarian theory is not a proper justification of any form of violence. It is violence which is punitive of the welfare of the general public and regardless of whatever its motivation is, it is still violence. Hence, it defeats its very purpose by causing inconvenience, fear, and the total opposite of happiness to most people. Any results, positive or negative, of the eco-civil disobedience has caused damage to the general public and it does not conform to the basic principles of general welfare. Therefore, I think that violence is very unnecessary because the environmental protection may come from other sources or legal remedies. For example, environmentalist groups may seek redress from courts to enjoin a known illegal logger from their locality. Usually, especially in the common law countries, environmental petitions and cases are favored (Farber & Carlson, 2013).
It is true that the environment must be protected. However, violence should be the last resort for the individuals seeking to protect it. As described above, there is a judicial remedy available for them which is governed by law. Further, the states institute the rule of law in order to protect the rights of the individuals as well as the environment. It means that there is a legal and substantive right available for the environment. The rationale for the formulation of laws involve the regulation of rights which include the rights of the individuals themselves as well as the environment. Hence, the acts of violence in an eco-civil disobedience are contrary to the instrument which is also seeking for the same objective.
7. Critically evaluate the following thesis: Wilderness protection should be replaced with sustainable development as the ultimate environmental agenda item of the 21stcentury.
The 21st century has been characterized by development and the rise of the companies. This means that the corporate acts which sometimes, is inevitable, to affect the environment in a negative manner cannot be stopped by simple means. In fact, these corporate acts are considered necessary as it generates employment and provides for the livelihood of the individuals. As a result thereof, the detriment to the environment is increasing since the economy need to operate and progress.
Replacing the agenda item of wilderness protection which involves the conservation of national park and wildlife reserves is nothing but a lost cause because it will not be prolonged considering the rising demand for utilization of natural resources, is a coping mechanism for the said rise in the demand. Meanwhile, it is never ideal to concentrate the natural resources mainly on only few areas as the general population needs the same. This is when sustainable development must be taken into consideration as it allows the regulated and balance utilization of the environment and the natural resources to provide for the future while allowing the integration of the same with the general population (Atkinson et al., 2009). I also think that it is about time that our generation think of the future generations yet unborn.
Atkinson, G., S. Dietz, & E. Neumayer (2009). Handbook of Sustainable Development.Edward Elgar Publishing.
Farber, B. & Carlson, S. (2013). Cases and Materials on Environmental Law. 9th ed. West Academic Publishing.
Govern, K. (2009). Agroterrorism and Ecoterrorism: A Survey of Indo- American Approaches under Law and Policy to Prevent and Defend Against the Potential Threats Ahead. Fl. Coastal L. Rev, 10, 223–261.
Katz, E. (1998). Faking Nature: The Ethics of Environmental Restoration by Robert Elliot. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press