ENV 221Y Assignment ANICE TRY,@ SAYS TAYLOR ABAD AIR ALERT: IT=S KILLING [email protected] Did that catch your attention? The Blue Ribbon Committee=s strategy poses to be quite effective and powerful when trying to make us understand the devastating final consequences to the pollution problem that we encounter every day of our lives. To many of us, knowing that something can kill us, human beings, is such a devastating concept that it seems incomprehensible. Knowing that even one of us can be slaughtered by the air we breathe brings upon us a different kind of insight. One that makes us stop, even for a split second, to think of how we are contributing to the future mass destruction of the human species. The Municipal AClean [email protected] Summit report proposes certain resolutions that the Greater Toronto Areas can adopt in order to decrease pollution and to promote environmental awareness.
The sirens started to go off when human health problems soared during the hot and humid summer months. No one thought there was a problem with the air or the water until scientists noticed that there was a correlation between environmental degradation and human well-being. In the GTA, concentration levels of ground level ozone exceeded the Ontario objective and this adversely affected human health in this region. The Blue Ribbon Committee proposed that all municipalities in the GTA should support a mandatory enhanced vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program. This would eventually lead to reduced automobile use and enhance the development of sustainable transportation through public or other various forms of transportation pooling.
The committee also proposed a concept of preventing environmental problems through public education and prevention programs. All these resolutions are deemed to be effective and probable in the near future. However, environmental philosophers, such as Paul W. Taylor, may or may not agree with the strategy of the Blue Ribbon Committee. Taylor, being a biocentric egalitarian, may oppose the methods in which the Blue Ribbon Committee used. The Clean Air Report is strictly based on an anthropocentric form of belief.
This kind of belief is Ato humans and only humans that all duties are ultimately owed (p.198)[email protected] Taylor would criticize this form of persuasion because in the report we do not see any concern or consideration directed towards other forms of nature. Everything the report proposes we do is strictly based on the well-being of the human species. Taylor=s main issue is to develop a life-centered theory of environmental ethics which is composed of three components: (1) Arespect for [email protected] attitude, (2) the Abiocentric outlook,” and (3) a resulting system of moral rules and standards. Every organism, human and nonhuman, possess inherent worth and must be recognized as deserving moral consideration. A..We are all members of the Earth=s biotic community (p.198)@ and thus are all interrelated in one form or another.
We depend on other species to promote and protect the well-being of our species just as other species depend on other forms of life, including ours. By adopting environmental proposals and awareness just because human health is affected, loses the entire concept of biocentricity. Nonhuman organisms are affected way before humans realize it is affecting themselves. If we had taken a biocentric standpoint, we would have realized the present problem long before today. The respect for nature attitude takes into account that all organisms have a common goal and that is to promote and protect the well-being of its species and its individual self.
Thus, we, as humans, do not have a right to obstruct the progress of an organisms= pursuit to attain its goal, even when it seems to be deemed necessary. If we had adopted this attitude when technology began to soar, we would not be interfering with our lives as well as others. Taylor would agree that to prevent the problem before it happens is an excellent concept. To know all the consequences to a particular disaster would enable us to further our environmental awareness. This would result in an appreciation for nature and thus respecting nature. We would value all the species that Mother Nature gave birth to and recognize that all things do possess inherent worth and moral consideration. However, some of the resolutions proposed by the Blue Ribbon Committee, are subjected to critique by Taylor.
Some resolutions, for example, the support for a mandatory enhanced vehicle emissions inspection and maintenance program is an initial step but is by no means sufficient for the well-being of the entire ecosystem. Granted this will indeed diminish the amount of air pollution, this is not the argument that Taylor would propose. This type of resolution is only directed towards humans. We are not reducing automobile use for the sake of all creatures. We are reducing automobile use for the human creature.
Humans decide what is best for all species in which the decision is based upon human experiences and feelings. Further more, if a Clean Air Committee is established, this too will be based on human welfare and well-being. The bottom line is that not all creatures will be considered when the decisions are made, all the decisions will be made with the discretion of an anthropocentric set of beliefs. We must deny the belief of human superiority before we are able to accept the life-centered theory of environmental ethics. I believe that the Clean Air Report is one that proposes good and practical resolutions.
I disagree with Taylor on many aspects, probably because I am not a biocentric egalitarian. I am by no means an anthropocentric egalitarian either. I do believe, however, that the human nature is a selfish one. Like Taylor had stated, all living organisms are in a pursuit to further its good and to promote and protect its well-being. Is that not true of humans also? I do not think it is possible to entirely give up everything that makes us humans in order to become one with nature.
I believe that the report is aiming towards humans because humans will only understand and care about problems that affect our species. We humans will take action to solve a problem when it affects us as individuals and those that we love. Love is a self-interest which cause bias when we are in the process of decision making. The government is one powerful way to enforce strict regulations when it comes to environmental problems. We must keep in mind that the government works for the people.
It is the people that matter. If we want a change in the laws that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink then we must keep in mind that the governing laws that affect our every day life is one that is controlled by anthropocentrism. Even Taylor cannot escape anthropocentrism. Taylor suggests that humans make a conscious effort to adopt the views of a belief system that leads to a greater respect for nature. We cannot put human values and characteristics on nonhuman species. His arguments throughout his article, however, are based upon human values and experiences.
I agree with Gene Spitler that “it is not possible for human beings to interpret the world in any terms other than human values and experiences.” We do not know of any other way to interpret the world. Opposing Taylor, I must say that we are not on the same terms as all other species. If we were to be equal in the sense that Taylor states, we would not have to adopt a belief system and a life-centered theory. We would continue to live our lives and promote our well-being because that is what other species do. However, this is not the case. We are not on the same term as other species because we have the ability to cause mass extinction to other forms of life.
Because of this fact, we must adopt the respect for nature attitude in order to sustain a healthy ecosystem. Another critique that I found to be contradicting on behalf of Taylor is the following quote, “It may be necessary for [rational] agents to act in ways contrary to the good of this or that organism in order to further the good of others, including the good of humans (p.201).” This statement supports present human actions. If there is to be a sense of egalitarianism, there would be no reason for the contrary actions to the good of organisms. Taylor is basically saying that if it really seems necessary, then it is justified to sacrifice some species for the sake of others. Who decides what species deserves more? Perhaps, there is some type of a hierarchy idea hidden between the lines of Taylor’s article. I believe that the Blue Ribbon Committee’s resolutions are practical. Yes, in the sense of Taylor’s beliefs, it may seem vague because it does not incorporate all forms of life.
However, I believe that this is one of the first steps that mankind must take. This is the initial building block of what is to become of the future. Taylor’s views are sincere but are not completely plausible in a society that we live in today. We live in an anthropocentric world. We must manipulate this reality to ensure the health of the world.