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Environmental Studies 7

Updated on September 5, 2011

Here is another reading response for my Environmental Studies class.

Environment an Interdisciplinary Anthology’s biodiversity chapter implies that nature is inherently valuable. However, the articles With Mouth Wide Open and Human Domination of Earth’s Ecosystems inadvertently disprove this claim, for to justify it they rely on man’s existence.

Value presupposes a valuer. If an item is unvalued, it is worthless. For example, if Product A is developed and sold, it clearly has value because developers use it to earn profits, and consumers purchase it. However, if everyone including the developers dispose of Product A, it becomes worthless. Product A is not worth $3 because it costs $3 to produce; Product A is only worth $3 if individuals are willing to buy and sell it for $3. If no one wants Product A, it is worthless.

The same is true for nature; it is worthless unless it is valued. Fortunately, nature is valued by man. This is evidenced by With Mouth Wide Open’s and Human Domination of Earth’s Ecosystem’sattempts to scare and shame readers. The articles state, “Man is destroying the cod, and once it is gone, he can no longer eat it,” and “Man is destroying ecosystems and species, once they are gone, he can no longer see them and use their resources.” Essentially, nature has value because man exists. Therefore, man should not preserve nature for the sake of preserving it, but for the sake of preserving something he values.

Of course, some argue man should preserve nature even if he does not value it because animals value it. However, that must be proven. Just because Animal A eats Plant B does not mean Animal A values Plant B. Animal A’s instinct programs it to eat Plant B. Is that value, or is that distinctly different from man, who derives happiness from what he values?


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