Our obligations to the planet

By on February 26, 2013

Climate change has been blamed for stronger and more frequent natural disasters over the past few decades. Several scientists have claimed that the temperature of the earth has been increasing gradually, warming the planet, melting glaciers, and hence raising the levels of the oceans. These changes coupled with the effects on the ecosystem have caused widespread worry across the scientific community. Scientists have coined the term global warming to describe the changes that planet Earth is going through.

Our precious blue planet nasa.gov

Our precious blue planet nasa.gov

Anthropocentricism claims that environment is here only for the benefit humans, so humans should use these resources to their heart’s content. The most extreme viewpoint would argue that saving resources for later generations is worthless because humans should enjoy what the earth provides them as long as they are here; they should use up everything as fast as possible. The belief that earth’s resources have intrinsic value is an opposing viewpoint. Supporters of this theory believe that each species present has some intrinsic value, regardless of its use to humans. Conservation of natural resources is the main goal of this school of thought.

The most extreme viewpoint of this school of thought would be that if humans keep going, they would use up all the resources. To preserve the planet and all of these resources, humans should kill themselves. Of course, both sides’ extreme viewpoints come from reductio ad absurdum–“reduction to absurdity”–arguments and are not meant to be taken literally, but just to provoke thought.

Neither argument by itself, however, can practically solve the problem of how humans should go about solving the problem of the resources. One side leans toward using them all up, while the other says human life is not worth ruining the planet. The truth is that, as humans, we want our race to continue forward. Hence, we are not going to end our race to save the planet. But if we use all of the resources right now, our species will not be able to move forward, anyway. Then, our goal should be to see how we can use our resources more efficiently, reduce pollution, attempt to stop global warming, and to leave our descendants with an inhabitable planet.

We have an obligation to protect the planet that has sustained not only our species but also millions of others throughout the course of time. Trashing it for human benefit is unethical and even contradictory. If we want our descendants to survive, they must have somewhere to live, and to our knowledge earth is the only planet that supports life. However, if we do not change our mind set about global warming, it will be too late to save the planet.

All humans must realize that our actions and feel a sense of urgency to conserve our resources and invest in new forms of energy that can fuel our development into the future without destroying our home. And this realization must start at the individual level because no government will be willing to make a change if its people are not behind it. This realization must come from within you, and you must be willing to make a difference.

Natasha Mehra
Staff Writer

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