Environmental land ethics - Koors 1 Brendan Koors Professor Marvin PHL 316 Environmental Ethics The first ethics to have existed dealt with relations

Environmental land ethics - Koors 1 Brendan Koors Professor...

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Koors 1 Brendan Koors Professor Marvin 11/12/16 PHL 316 Environmental Ethics The first ethics to have existed dealt with relations between individuals, an early example being the Mosaic Decalogue. Secondary ethics expounded upon this to include relations between individuals and society. Now in the 21 st century a new ethic is in the making concerning man’s relation to the land and environment, aptly named, environmental and land ethics. As of now, land is still widely viewed proprietarily. This means that people through land ownership can actively seek to make a profit with little to negligible incentive or forced legislation to preserve the land and surrounding ecosystems upon which they reap their profits. While society and government as a whole have yet to affirm the belief in land ethics being the third tier of ethical advancement in relation to human society, it may soon become an ecological necessity to do so. The principle of ethical development born of necessity can be viewed as a community instinct within humanity to survive. With our world nearing the brink of ecological disaster it is becoming apparent that for the continued survival and prosperity of the human race a new brand of ethics must be brought into practice. In his excerpt titled “The Land Ethic” Aldo Leopold explains the origin of ethics in writing “All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for his place in that community, but his ethics prompt him also to co-
Koors 2 operate (perhaps in order that there may be a place to compete for)”. Particularly important is the last line of the quote in which he foreshadows that if global and societal environmental changes are not made, we as a species may no longer have a suitable place to live. Permutation of land ethic within society is a change in the role of humanity from land conqueror to steward and citizen of the land. This shift in consciousness leads to a mindset of codependence in which we understand that we as people are as dependent on the land as the land is dependent upon us and as such it is our prerogative to ensure that the land is treated as its own end but never as a means to ours. For many the enactment of a land ethic within society would call for a mandate on conservation. Conservation can be defined as a “state of harmony between men and land” (Leopold). Conservation education and enforcement historically have fallen short in our society as their platforms can best be summarized as doing what you can to conserve the environment to the extent that it will make you profitable and the government will do the rest. Notably, the government has not taken a large enough role in enforcing conservation to warrant this mentality. In fact, there are several members within the United

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