Rolston, CNV, Chapter 7: The Home Planet
- SECTION V. MANAGING THE PLANET?
- The case that management is necessary (desirable? possible?)
- Necessary? We have so affected the earth, that not to manage is itself
a management decision
- Desirable? Wouldn't it be good to be free of the "tyranny of physical
nature that has plagued man from the beginning"?
- Possible? Is managing nature way beyond what we are capable of
- Rolston's replies
- Rolston strongly opposes using "planetary managers" as our paradigm of
the human relation with the earth
- Rejects that our only relationship to nature is one of engineering it for the better
- Need to see ourselves as residents in a community, as moral
overseers who try to optimize cultural and natural values
- Human management of earth is no more appropriate than people
managing other people: it's a purely an instrumental relation
- What we need to do is not manage nature, but manage human uses of
the environment so it can manage itself
- Earthen nature has managed itself fine for billions of years, and has
provided a marvelously comfortable home for humans (and other life)
- Considerable genius there
- Earth made the would be managers, after all
- "Hands are for managing, but they also are for holding in loving
- Two different types of reasons not to manage entire planet
- One: Skepticism toward the human ability to manage (skepticism toward
science, technology, and industry) and trust in nature as provider, given its
historical track record
- Two: We shouldn't manage even if we could
- The poverty of humans being in total control
- Rolston's list on p. 226-227: the kind of total control of nature that
humans have no business doing, even if we could
- Should we leave these decisions to planetary managers or even to
- Great value in being part of a world not of our own making
- But would our ability to control spoil this value even if we
refrained from exercising it?
- Earth Ethics
- Cherish earth is deepest value and duty to love it is deepest obligation
- Not a reductio of env. concern for snails and whales, now dirt
- But the most serious moral commitment
- Religious language: "On earth we live move and have our being: If
there is a holy ground, this earth is it."
- Earth (the earthen life processes, the creative life processes of earth of most
- E.g., Forests are characteristic expressions of earth's generative forces
- Earth is a fertile planet; earth as a womb from which we have come
- This is the truth in "mother earth" language
- Earth not finally property, but home
- Earth's richness belongs to no one as belongs to all
- Earth more important than people
- Earth First!?
- "If conserving earth is more important than having more people, then
why isn't earth more important than needs/welfare of existing people"
- Conflating right to life of already existing people with right to propagate?
- Sacrifice human rights to earth
- To protect its health (note: doesn't say integrity)
- Which would you choose, earth w/o people or people without earth?
- Does the latter even make sense?
- Transcending Nationalism:
- Global nature of our duties
- Helping Brazilians preserve rainforest not foreign aide, but
saving the home planet
- Humans as earthlings
- We are earth citizens first, citizens of countries/nations second
- Owe earth system far more than owe obedience to civic laws