Environmental Ethics the Natural World Term Paper

Total Length: 1303 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 0

Page 1 of 4

The fact that the U.S. has never adopted a workable public transportation system on a large scale demands that I drive a car. Obviously, this is true for most Americans: we cannot earn a living with out a car. But meanwhile, I am perfectly aware that I am contributing to the worldwide increase of greenhouse gases. This distresses me because, although I possess no real power to force our nation to build more realistic forms of mass transportation, I feel that the least I could do is refrain from using more of the world's oil -- as generally ineffectual as that may be. However, my livelihood depends on my own small contribution to this much larger problem. Generally, the way our society is structured requires that our responsibilities to the natural world conflict with our actions.

I remember when I was twelve years old and I was visiting my grandfather. He spent most of his time holed-up in the log cabin he built in northern Minnesota; concerning himself with copping wood and other things most people would rather not bother with. Only recently, wildlife advocates had re-introduced the wolf into northern Minnesota. This was causing my grandfather unique levels of distress. Clearly, the wolves posed no real threat to his personal safety, but they did present a new danger to the dogs he kept tethered outside. Personally, I thought wolves were just about the coolest animals that North America had ever produced; so naturally, I wanted to see one. I told this to my grandfather and he handed me a shotgun. He was joking, of course, because it was illegal to shoot the animals but the incident had an impact on me. It illustrated to me the different ways people can perceive their relationship with nature. My grandfather saw his relationship with these wolves as an adversarial one: he wanted his dogs, and the wolves probably did too. This form of direct conflict with nature is rarer today than it was several hundred years ago -- that was the time when humans essentially eradicated this continent of all major predatory species.
Currently, the ways we damage the environment are usually more inadvertent than shooting a wolf trying to eat your livestock.

Nevertheless, I do not think I would have shot a wolf even if one had begun to attack by grandfather's dogs. I would have tried to scare it off, definitely, but I doubt that I could make myself kill such a magnificent animal unless I was directly threatened. At least, that is how I would like to believe I would behave; I very much so want to act in adherence with the responsibility I have to nature. But it is difficult sometimes. Just because humans have to power to kill as many wolves as they want does not mean that they necessarily should.

As for the inadvertent ways I harm nature, those are even tougher to enumerate. My general principle is that everything within my power to help the environment I should do. But this is hard to uphold even when it involves doing small things like using only recycled paper, or not throwing away plastics. I have recycled all of my life, but I recently lived in a town that did not have curbside pickup for recyclables. I threw all of my glass, plastic, and metal trash in the garbage; I felt bad about it every time, but not bad enough to load them in my car and take them to the recycling center. Now, however, I make certain that I always recycle. Although I am perfectly aware that my small contribution makes no substantial difference, it will grant me some level of solace when the future environmental problems our society eventually come to….....

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?