07Fall 1 Will

07Fall 1 Will - Will Roper POLS 255 Environmental Politics...

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1Will Roper POLS 255 Environmental Politics Earth: Handle with Care Anyone who has ever ordered a pizza with a group of friends knows how difficult it can be to come to a consensus on something as simple as what toppings the group can eat with a minimum of conflicts and maximum eating efficiency. Now, imagine that this pizza is our planet with a crust of natural resources, a fresh water sauce, toppings of wildlife and sprinkled with a clean atmosphere. With the increase in size of this metaphorical pizza, there is an equal increase in conflict in how it should be consumed. While varied with their own particular sub- groups, there are three main schools of ecological thought with different views on the relationship between man and nature. The historically dominant way of approaching ecology is the utilitarian approach which sees nature as something of value to be properly managed for profit while degradation is just an unavoidable externality. Authoritarian views of nature offer the thought that environmental degradation is not an unavoidable cost of profiting from nature and that the environment does not have to be subordinate to progress, but a centralized governing body must have control. Radical ecological thought takes this concept a step farther, seeking a profound change in the way institutions are ran regarding nature, but unlike authoritarians seek to unite man and nature instead of separating them. With the environment becoming a hotter and hotter issue today, could the utilitarian approach become a dated and obsolete way of looking at our natural world? Radical changes in social norms today could be paving the way for a new political future with nature. The utilitarian approach’s success is based in its political and economically appealing nature. For thousands of years, man has had a seemingly unending supply of natural resources
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and space. With this appealing mindset of unending supplies of resources and “God-given” income, it is not hard to see why this approach has had such success. The idea of ransacking natural resources for short-term social pleasure is now becoming obviously unsustainable. Utilitarianism can be broken up and dissected into many different views in itself.
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This essay was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course POLS 100 taught by Professor Toral during the Fall '05 term at Beloit.

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07Fall 1 Will - Will Roper POLS 255 Environmental Politics...

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