Questions on Hettinger’s “Age of Man Environmentalism and Respect for an Independent Nature”
1. Identify and describe some of the features that Hettinger characterizes as “Age of Man Environmentalism”= AME.
2. Contrast AME (as described above) with the ideas of what he calls “Respect for an Independent Nature.” What are its key values?
3. Identify four (different) ways humans are having massive effects on nature on earth.
4. Make the case as powerfully as you can that humans are creating earthen nature. Now criticize this as best you can.
5. Explain what Hettinger means by “nature’s ongoing agency.”
6. Explain Hettinger’s charge that the humans create earthen nature idea involves “anthropocentric narcissism.”
7. What are novel ecosystems? Are they just another name for human degraded natural systems?
8. What are the reasons for thinking that humans are or should be earth managers? What are some problems with these reasons? Do you think it important that humans take on the responsibility of planetary management?
9. Discuss the models of humans as boss, parent, gardener of nature.
10. Is earth a giant (perhaps “rambunctious”) human garden?
11. Does human flourishing require that we not have (or exercise) control over Earth? Is there value in the gifted, given character of nature that would be lost?
12. Are humans (a) fully natural, (b) fully unnatural, (c) both part of and separate from nature? Which does Hettinger think and why? Which do you think and why?
13. What are some of (problematic) implications Hettinger claims follows from thinking humans are fully natural.
14. What is naturalness? In what way does Hettinger think it is value adding? On Hettinger’s view, do things that have been importantly shaped by humans still contain significant natural value?
15. Once a natural area has been significantly altered by humans is there any way its naturalness can come back?
16. What is “rewilding?” Is the decision to rewild an area just another way humans have of managing that area?