Thursday, January 26, 2012

prompt 14

My group presentation dealt with climate change. After reading through all the articles and writing my section of the project i realized that climate change is made worse by humans. The burning of fossil fuel is a major contributing factor to the problems of climate change but that is most certainly not the only issue. And this was reinforced through working on the group presentation.

Dawson's article speaks greatly on racism and classism. It ties into lifeboat ethics. THe burden of fixing the damage we have done shouldn't be placed on one specific group. I agree with it because afterall everyone has some part in pollution and climate change but it is also hard to fully say that I agree because why should some bear the brunt of things that they didn't have a large hand in.

In We all Live in Bhopal, Bradford talks about how environmental issues are pushed on the poor. The problem is that they can't really do anything to combat problems. So In placing these issues upon people who aren't equipped to properly deal with them, we are essentially making things worse.

Pollution on the part of humans is a major contributing factor to climate change. I was most interested in the pollution group project bceause I felt that it had many similarities to our project was directly related.

Sbranch spoke about the metaphor created in Hardin's lifeboat ethics. Essentially Hardin presents us with this:   Richer nations are looked at a lifeboat full of rich people, who are comfortable because the boat is not overcrowded and these people know that they will be safe. Boats that are overcrowded present poorer nations. Members of the poorer nations in some cases jump out in hopes that they will make it to one of the lifeboats with the richer people in attempt to better themselves. I think there is more to Hardin's point than just allowing people from other nations to come into ours in attempts at having access to better resources. I agree with Sbranch in that countries like the US who are developed and wealthy have taken advantage of poor countries for years. Problems that exist in these countries are honestly created and made worse by bigger nations coming in and thinking that they are doing good when in reality they aren't. THe US doesnt understand the ways in which other countries function because the culture and law is different. Therefore we shouldn't be intervening but if we do make it worse, then we should have to make it better. 

Thierno wrote about industrialization and how that affects pollution. Capitalistic ways have caused industrialization to be on the rise for 100s of years. Countries may think it is beneficial because it will aid in economic growth but they fail to consider other affects that industrialization has. This directly ties into the issue of economics in contribution to climate change. It is a trade off and in attempt to grow and strengthen the economy, we have made the environment worse and have caused greater climate change. 

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prompt 13

In prompt number four, I wrote about how Singer speaks on animal liberation and argues against animal experimentation. It is unbelievably inhumane. I used his example of how we would not ever consider doing tests on humans to reinforce my point as to why we need to be more aware and take steps to alleviate inhumane and disgusting treatment of other species. Singer brings up the idea of speciesism and how as humans we are dominant over other species because we use the developmental advantages that we have to abuse the environment and nature. The way animals are killed is terrible and as a result it makes it kind of difficult to say that eating animals is moral in anyway. I think there is a very fine line that exists and depending upon how much of a "vegetarian mindset" one has, that will be the determining factor in whether or not someone sees eating animals as immoral or not. From my perspective I dont necessarily see eating animals as immoral because I am not a vegetarian. When i was a vegetarian a few years ago, I did see it as immoral but more than that I viewed eating animals as gross because they too were once living things. And as silly as this sounds, we would never eat a fellow human so then why do we deem it okay to inhumanely kill and eat other species. We live in such a backward culture and are hypocritical because the same laws and rules do not apply to animals and nature as they do to humans.

Prompt 11, deals with the difference between being an animal activist and being an environmentalist. When i wrote the post, I identified with the environmentalist standpoint more so than the animal activist standpoint. I dont really see how taking animals out of their natural habitats would help preserve the environment, ecosystem and biodiversity other than protecting certain species that are endangered and so on. With that said i think that all species should be protected regardless of how rare it may be and that we shouldn't just make efforts and strides of protect and care for animals that are rare or that as humans we think are cool looking. At the same time, taking animals out of their natural habitat disturbs the balance and I think it to be relatively inhumane to put an animal in a cage or on display at a zoo. I understand the reasoning behind it as i just expressed but i just find it hard to accept that that is the only solution. I think that the government should create more land like national parks where humans are not allowed to go in and destroy and ravage the land and act in an inhumane way that shows disrespect for animals and nature. We need to keep animals in their natural environment because it allows for the natural balance of earth and nature to continue to exist.

From the my earlier posts to now I have noticed that my opinion on the environment and treatment of species has strengthened. I think I have been able to take the ideas and concepts that I learned and read about and used them in a way that allowed me to reinforce my earlier views.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Prompt 12

The common theme that runs through these posts is the lack of respect that humans have for the environment. In prompt four, my response had to do with this idea of speciesism. Speciesism is the idea of giving different values and rights to living things based off of what species they belong to. All animals regardless of what species they descend from have inherent rights. HUmans should not be allowed to assign animals and different species different rights or rights of lesser value because we look at other species as lacking a sense of rationality and ability to function and interact in daily life.
My response in prompt 5 argues against the idea of speciesism by mention what i have just mentioned in the above couple of sentences.
My position through these two posts as well as many of the other ones have stayed rather consistent. I fully believe that animals should be given equal protection. Not only is it a moral and ethical issue, but the greater good of nature and our environment is in jeopardy. Humans are oblivious to the fact that we are essentially destroying our environment little by little. We dont realize it, but we are hurting ourselves because we are breaking down nature and parts of the ecosystem with our actions. Eventually, at some point all of the things that we get from nature and the environment that allow us to go about our daily lives and that help us to function will be limited and then subsequently gone.
Some of my later posts have reinforced the ideas that I had in the beginning of this class. Like i said, I think i have stayed pretty consistent and just built on the ideas that I had initially. I've been able to pinpoint and define where I stand on environmental issues since my early posts.

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Prompt 11

Sagoff argues for why animal activists can’t be environmentalists and vice-versa. From an animal activist standpoint, animals have rights. In attempt at protecting these eights and interests of animals and to ensure that they do not suffer, animal activists are essentially committed to taking animals out of the wild and their natural habitat. An example of work that an animal activist would do would be to replace wilderness areas with more organized and manageable environments. This would mean putting animals on a farm or in a zoo. Activist should be trying to protect against predation in an attempt to preserve a specific species.

Views such as these are no of an environmentalist perspective. Putting animals in zos and protecting against predation is in direct contradiction of the organic and naturalness of nature if you will. It is a disruption to ecosystems and to biodiversity, which is something that has been discussed in so many of the other readings.

In looking a Thomas’s post, it seems that he took a more environmentalist approach in his discussion of prompt 10. Similar to my opinion in prompt 10, Thomas feels that humans have no respect for nature and the earth. We abuse it and do not think twice and as a result we do not co-exist. Humans take advantage of the earth and I feel that this is because we are a dominant species and we know that we can get away with it and there will not be any immediate consequences. If a person were to attack another person, the likelihood that they would fight back is high. Where as, if a person attacks the environment, a plant is not going to fight back in defense of itself. This is because we do not look at nature as being alive and we don’t put it on equal footing with equal rights as we do for humans.

My post was similar to his in respect to the fact that we both take an environmentalist standpoint on these issues. We both made mentions of the relationships that native Americans had with the earth and how they respected it and treated it as an equal. Essentially, native americans worshipped the earth and nature. They appreciated what they could get out of nature (food, raw materials, etc).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Prompt 10

Callicott agrees with Leopold's Land Ethic and attempts at enhancing Leopold's claims. Leopold spoke on the idea of moral extensionism, which is the idea that moral standing should be extended to things such as animals, plants and the earth (things that are typically not thought of as having moral standing). Moral extensionism is limited by certain ideas such as the fact that humans are the only ones with moral standing. Because afterall, people's views and opinions are rooted in either a religious context or secular context.

It can almost be said that Callicott is creative in finding ways around this restriction and improving upon Leopold's claims. Callicott argues that the development of morality can be rooted in evolution. His reasoning which I completely agree with stems from the idea that the development of morals and emotions and opinions came way before religion was developed. Essentially, Callicott is claiming that moral behavior came into existence as a means to survive before religion.

Callicott's argument really made a lot of sense to me and made me realize that in using evolution as an argument for moral development, the concept of community is extended beyond humans. And a utilitarian approach comes into play because under this context, the interests of the individual is outweighed by the interest of everyone.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Prompt 9

Taylor argues for a life centered ethics approach to dealing with the environment and uses two concepts that do this: respect for nature and inherent worth. I agree with Taylor's argument for respect for nature. When one accepts a biocentric outlook on nature, it justifies the attitude for the respect of nature. This attitude is a moral obligation/commitment that people have to treat all living beings as having equal inherent worth. This position is one of a non-utilitarian position but it applies to all life and not just Humans. The last part of this position is the only thing that differ's from Regan's thoughts and beliefs on this issue.

We have to look at the differences that exists between humans and other organisms because at the end of the day we are different. However, it is important to also note the similarities because this allows us to be more empathetic and develop morals that will extend past humans in terms of treatment of others. For starters, we share a common origin with other life on earth. The process of evolution allowed for all of us to existence on earth, so understanding how animals came to exist on this planet, is also learning how we came into existence. We also share the inability to guarantee the condition of our existence. At any given moment, the human race could technically be wiped out whether by man made or natural disaster. I don't think we have the right to be so cavalier and whatever about the life of others on the planet even if those others are not human.

Lastly, humans are entirely dependent on the existence of animals. I would be lying and we would all be lying if we said otherwise. Although, it can be argued that vegetarians get by without depending on animals, there are a lot of people that don't fall under this category. These people are the ones who can't maintain a lifestyle that goes unaffected by other life. At the same time however, animals need to exist to keep the balance of nature in check so realistically, I don't really think there is one person alive (whether vegetarian or not) that is not dependent upon animal life in some form or capacity.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Prompt 8

Russow argues against three possible justifications for saying that species matter. THe one that I found I had at one point or another pondered was the second argument given. THe second argument is based around this idea of the "larger scheme of things." People attempt to argue that species matter because they contribute to, or form an essential part of, some other good. From an anthropocentric standpoint, it is claimed that species that are endangered are of concern to us because their difficulties serve as a warning that we have polluted or altered the environment in a way that is potentially dangerous or undesirable for us.

I partially agree with the justification but I also find fault in it. I agree that species matter and that any animal is important because each animal individually and as a species serves a part in our ecosystem. They contribute to biodiversity and serve as various parts of the food chain. And when these animals exists and aren't in danger of going extinct, the balance is kept in nature. And as a side note, from a capitalistic perspective, the economy benefits.

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THe problem I have with the above justification, goes along with Russow's argument. She says that in the case of a subspecies, most benefits could be derived from other varieties of the same species. Essentially, if we are losing a species who is to say that the species was even beneficial to our society in the first place. Maybe a variation of that species would be just as crucial therefore making the loss of one species not as important as proponents of this justification seem to think.