Sustainability+Revolution+Chpt+1

The ways people approach treat and think of nature

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Unformatted text preview: phy of the industrial age and the philosophy of the conservationist. – Aldo Leopold, in “A Sand County Almanac” To live sustainably, people need to learn how to work with, rather than against, nature. Environmental problems develop when an unhealthy relationship exists between humans and the environment. The ways people approach, treat, and think of nature depend on their self-image. According to Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson (1998) there are two competing types of human self-image: exemptionalist and naturalist, also termed anthropocentric and ecocentric respectively (Vallero and Brasier 2008). In theory there is a continuous range of ethical viewpoints between these two extremes, but most people are either one or the other. Exemptionalists are anthropocentric, and believe that humans exist apart from environment and hold dominion over it. In western civilization, many believe that God made the environment for our benefit and that we have the freedom to use it as we see fit. Exemptionalists assert that we can use technology to improve our current environment or...
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