Anthropocentrism and Environmental Ethics & Preservation of Nature Gaia - Essay Example

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Gaia: Our Life Force Gaia refers to the life force that makes up our biosphere, and how everything on the earth - from the one-celled protozoa to the enormous blue whale – acts collectively and coordinates to produce the optimum conditions for the continuation of life on earth…
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Anthropocentrism and Environmental Ethics & Preservation of Nature Gaia
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Download file to see previous pages The biosphere produces just the right temperature for the earth. The mechanism for the stability of the temperature on earth is sustained by biological components. Everything works together in synergy (Lovelock, 1979). The Gaia theory may imply that our world is fragile – that, because the harmony of the living things on this world is what continues to sustain the earth, if there is an imbalance caused by man’s plunder, then the earth may cease to exist. But Lovelock (1979) has a different idea about this. Gaia is robust, which means that life will always exist in some form, even if the life forms on earth are reduced to ants and algae. Nevertheless, whether or not man can survive an upset in the ecosystem is another story – man destroys large swaths of the rainforest and the oceans, which, in turn, means that trillions of micro-organisms which are necessary for the stability of the composition of the atmosphere are endangered. Yet our earth has sustained severe injury in the past – such as the accumulation of corrosive and toxic gas oxygen two billion years ago – and survived it (Grey, 1980). Because Gaia is predicated upon the synergy of all living things, in spite of what Lovelock (1979) states about the robustness of the theory of Gaia, it still appears that there needs to be a certain synergy for human life to exist. Life, in some form, may always exist on this planet, and certainly, if humans destroy the ecosystem to the point where the earth becomes uninhabitable for the human species, and we die out, then the less complex life forms will repopulate – there would be no humans left to plunder the earth. However, this, of course, is not ideal, because it would mean our extinction. Therefore, there is a need for a different environmental ethic than the one that we have – according to Sylvan (1973), the dominant Western ethic is that the world is ours to spoil. Yet, life affects the regulation of the earth’s system (Lenton, 2002). This is important, because regulation is essential for persistence of systems – systems which are unregulated tend not to survive, whereas regulated systems do survive. Lenton (2002) posits that there are biotic effects which might push our earth towards the boundaries of tolerability, beyond which life would not be sustainable. When this occurs, Mother Nature tends to push back. Our species is disruptive to the delicate Gaia, and this might result in a change in the Earth that would not be beneficial for the human race, but might be beneficial to the Earth as a whole. For instance, according to Lenton (2002), some 2 billion years ago, atmospheric oxygen rose, which was considered to be a catastrophe. However, while this change killed off much of the existing life during this period of time, it opened the door for new life – the obligate anaerobes were affected detrimentally, but other life forms were able to emerge. Conclusion It appears that we must have more respect for nature and what we are doing which might affect our delicate ecosystem. Our Western ethos sticks to the belief that nature is here for our disposal: the rainforest exists for us to cut down the trees, animals exist for us to kill, and our natural resources exist for us to use. Gaia theory provides the incentive to not do this as much. If we chop down the rainforest, then, not only will we have fewer trees, but the species that live in the rainforest ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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