Essay, Pages 3 (747 words)
This evening lecture was titled; “Eating Wild in Eastern Canada and Other Tales of Environmental Law” and was given by Jamie Simpson, Author, and Environmental Lawyer. I am to analyze this lecture from an anthropocentric perspective. To start, I want to define anthropocentrism.
Anthropocentrism is a complicated term that can be interpreted in many ways. Additionally, there is much contestation among environmental ethicists on what the “correct” definition should be. For the purpose of this reflection, I am defining anthropocentrism as the belief that value is centered around humans and that all other types of life only exist for the purpose of human use (Kopnina, Washington, Taylor, & Piccolo, 2018).
In analyzing Mr. Simpson’s lecture, it is clear that anthropocentrism is an essential perspective to take into consideration when discussing the future of the planet.
Mr. Simpson began his talk with a discussion around foraging. Therefore, I see it fit to start my analysis in the same place. Mr. Simpson spoke of foraging as a way to get people excited and knowledgeable about the natural world (Jamie Simpson, Personal Communication, March 7, 2019).
Almost as if foraging can be a way to get people to place more value in the environment.
However, from an anthropocentric perspective, it’s arguable that only humans have the cognitive ability to formulate and recognize moral value, in which case all ethics are anthropocentric anyways (Goralnik, & Nelson, 2012). In fact, there is evidence that suggests that foraging itself is what made humans able to have such cognitive abilities (Brown, n.
Through foraging and surviving, hominoids’ traits evolved, resulting in the human attributes we have today, for example, highly evolved brains and great communication skills (Brown, n.d.). Furthermore, Mr. Simpson discusses foraging as an alternative to the means with which humans normally acquire food in this day and age (Jamie Simpson, Personal Communication, March 7, 2019).
Suggesting that it can be a route to increase environmental education and knowledge, which would, in turn, decrease the current stress our planet is under. I think this can be great as a small-scale endeavour however, there is much debate over how much human foragers have affected the environment in which they lived (Brown, n.d.). Before the development of agriculture, foragers were found to have set fires to large areas of land.
It is assumed that they did this to drive out animals and promote the growth of fresh plants. This led to a change in the environment that was completely human-driven, turning scrubland into grassland and suppressing certain species (Brown, n.d.). Showing that humans that forage may not placing value on nature as Mr. Simpson suggests and are rather seeking out food for their own human survival.
Moving on to the second portion of Mr. Simpson’s lecture, which had a focus on environmental law and challenging authority. This part of the lecture was highly anthropocentric and focussed on environmental impacts that have a direct effect on human health.
For example, Mr. Simpson mentioned Marlene Brown and the work she has done to increase access to safe drinking water (Jamie Simpson, Personal Communication, March 7, 2019). Humans vary greatly in their environmental impacts, and consequently, addressing human inequalities should be a precondition for environmental protection (Kopnina, Washington, Taylor, & Piccolo, 2018).
I think it’s important to consider how the effects of climate change have grave impacts on certain minorities. Furthermore, If we are to resolve the current problems the earth is facing, if only for the continuation of the human race, there needs to be an emphasis put on the underlying ecosystems that support us (Kopnina, Washington, Taylor, & Piccolo, 2018).
Whether this emphasis comes in the form of privatizing water or valuating a forest, at this point, seeing the inherent value of a plant isn’t providing enough motivation for change. However, as I mentioned before, addressing human inequalities is equally important.
Therefore, a valuation of resources would need to be handled with the utmost care so as not to disproportionately weaken minorities who already face massive burdens in the face of a change in climate that they had a relatively small part in.
These values affect the whole human race, for there is not one place that is not affected by climate change. We see in Canada, as Mr. Simpson mentioned, that people are challenging authority and getting arrested in order to have their rights confirmed (Jamie Simpson, Personal Communication, March 7, 2019). People in other less developed countries, don’t even have that as an option.