- I support the Stewardship environmental worldview that is in the middle between Earth-exploiting Planetary management worldview and unrealistic utopian Environmental Wisdom worldview. In my opinion, Stewardship’s environmental worldview is also the closest to Christian ethics and morality since humanity was indeed chosen by God to be ‘stewards’ of the world. At the same time, people still need to care about the environment. God provided people with intelligence that would prevent them from self-destructive activities including full exploitation of Earth.
- My environmental worldview encompasses the entire ‘ladder’ of ethical concerns from Figure 28.4 because people should keep in mind the butterfly effect, i.e., the unpredictability of the impact of any tiny change on the entire system - Earth (Adlard, Miller, & Smit, 2015). For example, bees are already dying out across the world due to an abundance of pesticides in the biosphere. Theoretically, humanity can be left without honey in the short run. There are many other similar examples of how human intervention into the biosphere contributes to the extinction of species, etc. In Communist China, the leader Mao Zedong once commanded to kill all the sparrows in the country because they allegedly harmed the crops but it soon turned out that sparrows did not just consume wheat or rice, but they also suppressed the expansion of crop-harming insects (Sharma & Sharma, 2017). As a result, China faced famine in the 1960s and it had to import sparrows from overseas to stop the expansion of insects.
- I like the way Milton Friedman (1970) described the role of stakeholders in shaping both the economy and environment. According to this scholar, the economy must be driven not by money alone, but by the self-interest of the stakeholders. For example, if the stakeholders want to build a polluting plant in the area, they must think carefully if they can bear the repercussions of the environmental pollution. After careful consideration, they will eventually choose whether they need money or they need a clean environment. Currently, the developed countries managed to partially get rid of excess environmental pollution at the expense of outsourcing some of the polluting operations to the developing countries such as China or India, but in the long run, humanity must gradually switch to renewable sources of energy and sustainable industrial production with zero environmental pollution. At least, humanity must strive for it.
The Stewardship environmental worldview is the most realistic, given the human civilization’s need for economic growth and prosperity. Currently, the technological advance does not allow to stop any kind of environmental pollution, but developed countries currently dispersed their carbon footprint at the expense of outsourcing some of the production operations to the developing countries such as India or China. In the long run, humanity must learn how to be absolutely sustainable in all ways, given the fragility of the biosphere and there are already numerous examples of how human activity causes species extinction as it is happening to bees due to the abundance of pesticides in the biosphere. There is also a good example of how Chinese leader Mao Zedong ordered the killing of all sparrows in China in 1958, and such a policy caused famine in the country because sparrows suppressed the expansion of crop-harming insects. So far, the Western developed countries operate within the logic of Milton Friedman that says that the economy works in the interests of the stakeholders. Such an approach somehow helps keep the balance between environmental protection (by outsourcing polluting production) and maintaining economic growth for the population.
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Adlard, R.D., Miller, T.L. & Smit, N.J., 2015. The butterfly effect: parasite diversity, environment, and emerging disease in aquatic wildlife. Trends in Parasitology, 31(4), pp.160–166.
Friedman, M., 1970. A Friedman doctrine‐- The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits. The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/1970/09/13/archives/a-friedman-doctrine-the-social-responsibility-of-business-is-to.html.
Miller, G.T. Jr., D. Hackett, and C. Wolfe. 2017. Living in the environment 4th edition.
Sharma, J.T. & Sharma, H.B., 2017. Reflecting on the Relationship Between Human Beings and Sparrows. Journal Of Innovation For Inclusive Development, 2(2).