Thursday, September 8, 2011

Emergency preparedness survival readiness

English: Waterfalls are example for natural re...
English: Waterfalls are example for natural resources (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Environmental Issues

By definition, preservation ethics are “an ethic holding that we should protect the natural environment in a pristine, unaltered state” (p. 15). In comparison, the definition of conservation ethic “holds that people are and should put natural resources to use but that we have a responsibility to manage them wisely” (p. 16). Essentially, the major difference between preservation ethics and conservation ethics is whether or not natural resources are utilized in taking care of the earth. Preservation ethics state that we are not to use any resources on the planet and to preserve it as is, without any changes. Conservation ethics state that we can utilize the resources available to us, but we are to use them prudently in order to conserve what we have and to take care of the planet on which we live.
To be quite honest, I find it difficult to live in a habitat without utilizing the surroundings. I find myself to identify more with conservation ethics because I do believe that we should be wise in our decisions to utilize the resources around us. However I also believe that we should be able to use them to gain benefit as a society. To completely preserve the environment “as is” in which we live would be very difficult because every footprint, every step we make will change our environment. I think it is impossible to preserve all of earth while we are living on it. Each time we breathe, walk, or work we are changing our environment. It is simply impossible to preserve ALL of earth.
English: Bachalpsee in the morning, Bernese Alps
English: Bachalpsee in the morning, Bernese Alps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now, if we were to look at preservation ethics for a particular area that is more realistic. If we are protecting Mount Rainier State Forest, for example, then that is a specified land area that can be preserved and left unaltered. This would be beneficial because that forest not only is a state park that is protected to represent the Evergreen State, but it also preserves the lives of the animals that depend on that habitat and supports the ecosystem. Sectioning off a particular part of the earth, such as this park, would make it possible to take the preservation ethics stance. Now, to look at the forest belonging to Weyerhauser would require a conservation ethics approach. This company harvests trees for transformation into various products. However, Weyerhauser has maintained its environmentally friendly stance by planting trees and cutting trees in the same quantities. This is a way that the company can conserve the natural resource but also utilize it to benefit society as a whole. In regards to the development ethic, I believe it is irresponsible to take this approach. Humans are not “masters of the environment” and are not superior to the planet. We as a society do not have the authority and responsibility to utilize all resources as we see fit without considering the impacts. That is simply unethical and irresponsible. Humans are special, but not that special. We still have a responsibility to take care of our environment, especially if we want to survive as a species.

Survival equipment 
Withgott, Jay & Scott Brennan. Essential Environment: 3rd Ed. Pearson Custom
Publishing: San Francisco, 2009.