Environmentalists from all over the world try to draw the public’s attention to the problems of the planet, claiming that the damage people have caused will become irreversible in a few years. However, there is another perspective regarding the matter as some believe environmental issues are not humans’ priority as such problems as famine, military conflicts, economic crises need to be solved first (Baxter 423). Environmental ethics can help in choosing the most appropriate approach.
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The anthropocentric perspective seems rather logical and reasonable. Baxter states that humans should and can strive for the appropriate and favorable environment, which is also good for animals and plants (422). Similar to animals, people need clean air and water, so humans are, to a certain extent, “surrogates” for animals and plants (Baxter 422). At the same time, it is the human to decide what clean air means and what appropriate environment is.
Nevertheless, people should not focus on what is good for them. They have to remember that they are a part of the system, and changing the existing rules is wrong (Palmer 101). People have no moral right to put themselves in the first place and cause any harm to other species. Not to mention, damaging the current ecosystem is dangerous and is already leading to unwanted consequences.
In conclusion, biocentrism seems to be a more viable perspective regarding environmental issues. Baxter notes that environmental ethics, in general, should be seen as a product of civilization, so people have the right to establish rules and choose what is good and bad (422). However, civilization is a product of the natural development of humanity that evolved using the resources available on the planet. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that the biocentric approach will prevail and people will be able to preserve the planet as it is.
Baxter, William F. “People or Penguins: The Case for Optimal Pollution.” Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues, edited by Barbara MacKinnon and Andrew Fiala, Cengage Learning, 2014, pp. 420-423.
Palmer, Clare. “Living Individuals: Biocentrism in Environmental Ethics.” The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics, edited by Stephen Mark Gardiner and Allen Thompson, Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 101-112.