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We hear alot about having to save the environment.
"Save the pandas because of their low fertility rate. "
"Pick up the trash on our Mother Earth and dispose of it properly. Every effort counts."
"We need to bring ecological balance to our world and that can only be done by saving our environment."
I'm a proponent of environmentalism and preserving our Mother Earth, but as I read comments, speeches or even write essays, I really have started having trouble to wrap my head around this one simple question. Sure we as humans should show some morals, but is that the only reason?
For example of counterarguments I was hoping to share with you guys to maybe spice up this discussion...
1. Extinction of animals, biologically speaking is a natural selection process. (aka "survival of the fittest". We are humans and should be caring about our own survival, not theirs. )
2. How does a single community of people picking up trash help that much?
3. Ecological balance? The extent to which the extinction of say, whales, wouldn't affect me that much would it?
Most of these counterarguments center around the idea that the idea of 'preservation' of our environment is not a natural thing to do. For example,by the 2nd law of thermodynamics, the world and its constituents are always going to end up in an overall state of greater entropy than before (as long as we move forward in time of course ).
Feel free to counter them if you want.
What I am primarily interested in discussing with whoever's interested is what are the other solid arguments we can find when somebody on the street or an essay question asks you "Why must we preserve our environment?"
Also I feel it would be beneficial if we define what preservation entails
1. Maintaining something in a similar state to as it was in the past
2. Improving the state of our environment
Which sentiment predominantly crosses your mind when one says, 'environmental preservation' or 'save the environment' etc?
If anybody has examples in mind to show why we must preserve our environment I would be more than grateful as well
Well, if you want to give the whole thing a more practical or utilitarian approach then the answer is simple, preserving the environment is in our best interesting regardless of morals. In itself a species disappearing is virtually of no practical consequence to us (unless its something crucial like the organisms most of the species in an ecosystem eat directly or indirectly). Quite a few could disappear and would would never know better. And it makes sense, every specie in the planet is inevitably doomed to disappear at some point for some reason. 99% of all species that have ever lived have gone extinct after all whether it was for some environmental disaster or simple evolution. The issue here is that we still kinda live in the environment so to speak. We need it to grow food and to have proper habitable locations. If ecosystems get destroyed, say the oceans, then our food supply will be affected for instance. If the weather changes enough then crops will be affected too and it will affect our ability to grow good. If the weather changes then cattle and milk production could be affected. Now, it won't necessarily spell out our doom and whatnot, I believe we can adapt to such changes, however the ideal scenario is for weather to change as slowly as possible so that all of this things remain as stable as possible. We can adapt, but for us it would be better to have more time for it. Who knows, if the weather changes enough somewhere then it could affect the infrastructure there(say, if stuff there is not meant for really high or really low temperatures or the place has not been adequate to handle floods).
I would want to save the environment and protect it simply to give the generations after ours a healthy place to live in. If the world is polluted or there's too much trash, they would not be living healthily and could develop problems. A species disappearing can affect us, depending on its role in the ecosystem. As kick said, we need a good environment to grow food in, drink from, and live in if we want to survive and thrive. If it gets too hot, then a lot of crops may die out, resulting in shortage. If the water level rises, it can result in flooding, which would drown the crops. If out of selfishness, we should preserve the environment to ensure our survival.
I think the problem is that our actions could be causing unnatural or inorganic extinction of specie. For example, we hunt and kill tigers not to eat, but to sell for its fur and other stuff, which causes the species to be endangered and eventually, extinct. Or, the amount of carbon dioxide we release through actions like driving increases temperature that kills off certain specie that are used to certain amount of temperature and can't survive the change. So yeah.
I would argue the trash bit is not really the issue that most people think it is. Not that there isn't a trash issue, just that people get it a tad wrong. Trash is inevitable and it has to go somewhere, the issue is when that somewhere is not controlled. As in it ending accumulating in the city or in the ocean or elsewhere... At least to me it seems like people are under the impression that at some point there will be so much trash around that there will simply not be enough room in the world to put it, as in the entire world basically being a landfill. Truth is there can never be that much garbage (even if the amounts of tons produced a day sounds downright terrifying). Its an issue of how good we are at keeping it in one place, not of there being too much for the world to hold.
There bein too much of trash is terrifying because we can do a better job of preventing it. If there's not a lot of trash, then we wouldn't have to worry as much about keeping it in one place or choosing the right place. The worry has some merit to it because with more products that are created and bought, the more trash will accumulate.
We need to focus on recycling.
Thank you so much kkck and M3J for your responses I really do appreciate it.
Say, how'd you attempt to tackle the belief that us over fishing, over hunting is just the natural order of things? Humans in order to survive have stocked up on surpluses of food and other necessities. Some argue that it's very difficult to distinguish between over-consumption and necessary intake.
Personally I do find this statement may hold some truth theoretically speaking, but given most cases, in today's world it holds little value: for example, factories manufacture huge volumes of livestock such as chicken or cows being reared for meat and such a method is apparently a prime example of overproduction. One does not need much further study to deduce that its an evident form of over-kill so to speak. But besides in such cases like the above do you guys have any other reasoning for why it is not natural for us to over-consume or at least, over-produce food products for ourselves?
Although I won't be doing a direct response to the discussion here, I think this video can contribute to it:
How Wolves Change Rivers
Last edited by TitaniumChloride; June 10, 2014 at 06:48 AM.
But overpopulation appears to be the natural order of things so far no?
As a population that has propagated by natural means of reproduction and given that the source of this environmental problem is us overpopulating the Earth, do you believe there are measures that may actually make use of our rapidly expanding population to mitigate the exponential increase in environmental problems?
I don't know, I don't recall any species that heavily populated the Earth like humans. I dunno if it's really natural or not, but it does show that we're biologically successful, maybe too successful.
Problem with rapidly expanding population is that it takes away space. Unless we find a way to reduce the space we take up (like building skyscraper apartments), we probably won't have enough land to ensure that enough crops will be grown. Otherwise people can do a lot - use public transportation, carpool, do activities like planting trees and crops, and find out ways to reduce carbon footprint to reduce global warming.
Hmm... It does appear way too hard to evaluate whether overpopulation is a natural :/
What are your takes on eco-tourism? Do you believe it could help preserve the environment and would it at the same time be beneficial for nations to invest in it ?
Aren't people in Africa starving due to lack of food? I think a lot in India are starving because they can't afford to eat, but I recall reading about issues with supplying enough food for everyone. One of the reasons why scientists are genetically modifying crops is so the crops can provide more food in bigger portion or something.
My point is more along the lines of the current world production of food being enough for everyone. The issue in africa is a tad more complicated though. As far as I know, however limited, they have the issue that they can't grow much food and they cannot buy it because they are pretty poor. If they could buy food probably someone would sell it to them after all.
It is not improving or preserving. Well not this simple in my book. You guys are writing good posts but I think the root of the problem is imbalance. To get back to prosperity there needs to be balance. Good unbiased balance at that. The question is when doing one thing, are you harming another? So far, humans have taken and given but we take and ruin more than we preserve and give back. If there is no balance in mind, all the best world saving idea is useless. Balance is everywhere already: water, fire. Batman, joker. Seems like we need the perfect amount of opposites right now but we will need a long time to get back to real balance.