Rolston's Arguments For Protecting The Environment

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Holmes Rolston III is a very important philosopher when studying environmental ethics and believes humans as a species need to protect our planet and its inhabitants from development no matter what cost. Environmental preservation has been a very controversial topic, but while we decide what to do about it, we are also destroying what is left of the wilderness. The United Nations has released many declarations on the matter, but to no avail. Regarding Rolston’s argument, Robin Attfield disagrees on how environments should be protected. The following, with reference to the United Nations’ declarations, will explain Rolston’s argument and Attfield’s disagreements with it. Rolston’s argument is very simple, basically stating that humans have …show more content…
Attfield states Rolston relies on the acceptability of moral assumptions to support his argument, such as the United Nations’ declarations. (Attfield 464). Attfield also disagrees with how Rolston uses the term development saying that it is too broad and that his definition makes it so that any change to the land is development. (Attfield 464). Attfield uses this definition of development to show that under its terminology even indigenous people temporarily using the land would be considered damaging the land and preventing wildlife to thrive. (Attfield 465). Attfield also believes that Rolston’s solution of using policies to limit development makes it a choice to protect nature instead of balancing development and nature. (Attfield 466). Rolston also fails to completely recognize that nature preservation and human development are correlated, like what is explained in Principles 3 and 25 of the UNCED Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which Attfield does recognize. (Attfield …show more content…
He proposes the idea that the best way to preserve our environment is to be active and manage how much we invade what is left of the natural world. He uses examples of how policies put in place around the world have worked to prevent some populations of animals from going extinct. Rolston also makes a good point that the human population is rapidly growing too much and requiring humans to take land away from the natural world just for the sake of expansion not recognizing the diversity of the land. (Rolston 459-460). However, the points that Attfield criticizes makes it so Rolston’s argument for policies is not perfect and leaves things vague like his definition for development and what should be done about the humans’ overpopulation. (Attfield 465-466). Overall, both sides of the argument are agreeable and can be combined to advocate limiting development and maybe replenish the natural world. However, nothing will change unless action is taken to potentially save what wilderness is left and preserve a balance between the environment and human

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