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Daniel Miller Causal Brainstorm

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 11 months ago

The Real Conservationists

The systematic perversion of Environmental Ecology by Environmentalists and animal rights activists.


I'm sure that you're wondering, based on the title and subtitle, who the real conservationists are. Just hold on and you will be satisfied.


This is an idea that I've wanted to transcribe for some time. It stems from the philosophical dilemma of acting as you wish vs. acting as you need to in order to accomplish your goals, in spite of yourself. I've always felt that a shift in environmentalist morality has in fact had an adverse effect on the ecological sustainability of the planet. This "morality," propagated by rampant environmentalism and animal rights activism has shifted the paradigm of what are considered moral environmental acts. It has become... popular (/spit) to personify the environment and organisms in it. The viewpoint has shifted so that now persons who would call themselves "environmentalists" treat plants, animals and ecosystems just as they would their fellow humans. This personification denies what it is that makes the wild valuable. Wild things are very much NOT human. However, the current archetype of the "green" activist views the death of a single animal with a bleeding heart.


This presents a problem. Environmentalist lobbies have grabbed politics by the horns. Have you ever tried to build a house on the water in florida? Do you know the unbelievably arbitrary environmental regulations to which you are held? These regulations go beyond protecting the environment, and into the realm of protecting individual plants. The problem isn't that the environment is being protected, the problem is the paradigm set here. Instead of the majority of environmentalists focusing on large ecological projects that could have major positive impact, they agonize over the life of every organism that might be tread upon by the average person. This almost jainist fanaticism, despite meaning well, complicates the issue of environmentalism so far as to impede it significantly. They, in the most literal sense, cannot see the forest for the trees.


Who are the real conservationists? They are the people who have been doing with the greatest effect for the longest time: hunters. Have you ever been to a game preserve? In a game preserve, the ecosystem is checked and curbed in all the right areas in order to improve the health of the ecosystem. The need for this stems from the human impact on ecosystems. Aside from the damage we do to the land or plant life, humans have the unique impact on ecosystems of killing off top predators. The death of the top predator is tantamount to removing the key stone of the ecosystem. As we spread westward in this country, the active culling of dangerous predators was encouraged in the effort to save human lives. Unfortunately, the death of a predator causes the overpopulation of prey, thus further throwing the ecosystem out of balance in a domino effect. Conservationist hunters have, for a long time, assumed the role of top predator and likewise return the ecosystem in which they hunt to a healthy balance.


Perhaps you have seen the problem here. What we have is a struggle between two groups of people who care deeply about the environment. Unfortunately, those who would talk a lot about the environment and agonize over the small issues set the standard that impedes those who would try to do something about it.


I'll write the essay another time, but here I'll just ask some questions. Answer them if you like.


  • Do find hunting morally objectionable? If so, why? This discussion has to be had.
  • Would you shoot a deer to save 2 others? How about 10? 100? (if you don't think this is realistic, check out this fun article)
  • Finally, should the life of an animal be treated the same as if that animal were human?



You can find answers to those for yourself. However, I want to address the final question. I personally believe that animals need to be treated with respect and humanity. However, they are not human, nor will they ever be. To me, the same morality does not apply. The way that I see it is that the value of an individual animal pales in comparison to the value of the species as a whole. When speaking of humanity, the same is also true. However the value of the individual human is so much greater to me than the individual non-human animal or plant. I don't like to make a value judgment about people, so I'll point out the other reason I think the way we do.


To me there is an indefinite hierarchy of organisms. Which are more complex? Which express greater self-awareness? Certainly, humans would be high on my scale. Without us, and this is important to me, there wouldn't exist the compassion to treat animals with respect. That, to me, is exceptionally valuable. But we as humans are also animals and as such must eat. Is there a problem with killing an animal for food? This is the way of things and cannot be preempted... except by vegetarians. However, where is it set in stone that the life of a plant is less valuable than that of an animal? Truly, animals express greater awareness of their world... but are no less alive. I don't mean to question where you place different organisms on this hierarchy. I just want to illustrate that this hierarchy is our arbitrary assessment. Who am I to decide the value of one organism over another? Well, I am another organism, who must chose one to feed upon. I don't give them ultimate value, I only muse about my feelings on the subject.


Personally, because I do not object to eating meat, I would rather shoot and eat a deer, taken to help preserve an ecosystem than eat beef from a cow whose life was spent in a feed lot. I know that the deer lived more pleasantly and, if I am the hunter, I know just how humanely that animal was killed. Better it be done by my hand than by a machine.


So my tangent here got off what my paper would be about. I will write about the disadvantages of unchecked environmentalism, and the value of old-fashioned conservation.

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