To this day, a war rages on between environmentalists and those who seek to profit from developing on areas of wilderness. One notorious battle in that war was the case of Sierra Club v. Morton. In that court case, the Walt Disney Company sought to build a ski resort on a glacial valley in California known as Mineral King Valley. Sierra argued that the result of the development proposal would be “irreparable harm to the public interest”. As the plaintiffs did not establish how human beings would be harmed by Disney’s proposed development, economically or otherwise, they lost the case. Nevertheless, Justice Douglas put forward a famous dissent which argues that trees should be extended standing to sue in court. I believe that inanimate objects …show more content…
Morton). Therefore, humans would act as the spokesmen of nature. Instead of solely arguing the impact of development on humans in court, the impact on the landscape could be argued as well. In fact, Douglas argues that the case should be renamed to Mineral King v. Morton, granting nature a say. Douglas furthermore notes that inanimate objects other than wilderness already have standing, arguing that it is not unusual for non-human entities such as ships or a corporation sole to be parties in …show more content…
One pertinent example of this is through the action of activist Julia Butterfly Hill, who lived in a tree for just over two years to prevent a logging company from cutting it down. Known as Luna, the tree remains standing to this day thanks to Hill’s activism. There is no doubt that the tree would have been torn down without a human being willing to step up. If Luna were to be granted legal standing, activists like Julia Hill would not be required to engage in the civil disobedience of sitting in a tree for two years in order to prevent its destruction. Rather, she would only need to argue for its preservation in court as a human representative of the tree. The Deep Green Resistance concurs with Douglas that inanimate objects should have legal rights. In a lawsuit of their own, the organization seeks legal recognition for the Colorado River in order to let said river sue for its protection. As written in the New York Times, “If a corporation has rights, the authors argue, so, too, should an ancient waterway that has sustained human life for as long as it has existed in the Western United States. The lawsuit claims the state violated the river’s right to flourish by polluting and draining it and threatening endangered species.”
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The positive aspects of ‘Lake’ Powell are few yet noteworthy. Glen Canyon Dam’s hydroelectric power-plant generates one thousand three hundred mega watts of electricity at full operation. That is enough power to supply three hundred fifty thousand homes. Glen Canyon Dam holds twenty seven million acre feet of water, which is equivalent to twice the Colorado River’s annual flow (Living Rivers: What about the hydroelectric loss?). One of the most valuable reasons for the dam to remain active is that “Lake Powell generates four hundred fifty five million dollars per year in tourist revenue, without this cash inflow, gas-and-motel towns . . . would undoubtedly wilt, and surrounding counties and states would lose a substantial tax base” (Farmer 185). These positive aspects are of no surprise considering they are the reason dams are built in the first place.
Justice is often misconceived as injustice, and thus some essential matters that require more legal attentions than the others are neglected; ergo, some individuals aim to change that. The principles of civil disobedience, which are advocated in both “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau and “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr. to the society, is present up to this time in the U.S. for that purpose.
This Paper will describe and analyze three articles pertaining to the ongoing debate for and against Glen Canyon Dam. Two of these articles were found in the 1999 edition of A Sense of Place, and the third was downloaded off a site on the Internet (http://www.glencanyon.net/club.htm). These articles wi...
Not many people know of the used-to-be 150-mile excursion that the Glen Canyon had to offer. Not many people know how to sail a raft down a river for a week. Not many people know how to interact with nature and the animals that come with it. We seem to come from a world that is dependent on time and consumed in money. Edward Abbey is what you would call an extreme environmentalist. He talks about how it was an environmental disaster to place a dam in which to create Lake Powell, a reservoir formed on the border of Utah and Arizona. He is one of the few that have actually seen the way Glen Canyon was before they changed it into a reservoir. Today, that lake is used by over a million people, and is one of the biggest recreation hot spots in the western United States.
J. Baird Callicott is probably most famously known as an advocate for Aldo Leopold's The Land Ethic (1949.) The Land Ethic is an environmental ethic which Callicot strongly posits is a holistic and non-anthropocentric ethical theory. In other words, The Land Ethic should, if Callicotts position is correct, be an ethical theory that places collectives, as opposed to just individual living things, as having intrinsic value. It should also be an ethical theory that does not focus on, or allow, Homo sapiens to be considered the only “things” as having moral significance. The Land Ethic, originally sketched out by Leopold is a very concise, yet intricate, piece of literature and Callicott has written many pieces of literature which attempt to explain, unfold, apply and defend Leopold's Land Ethic. The purpose of this essay is to, as clearly and precisely as possible, provide an explanation as to what The Land Ethic consists of, with both references to Leopold and several of Callicot's literatures. Following this an identification of any problems that can be extracted from the theory will then be juxtaposed with Callicott's attempt to defend The Land Ethic and remedy these issues. Finally, after the presentation and analysis of The Land Ethic a decision will be made as to whether The Land Ethic is, what Callicott claims, truly an adequate non-anthropocentric environmental ethic.
Despite protecting millions of acres of wilderness, this act provided for the numerous groups of people affected by the establishment of this law. Stipulations regarding the use of protected lands by private landowners were made. People living inside the park lands were guaranteed the right to subsistence hunting and fishing, as well as the guaranteed access to their lands. This right of access is the main concern for this argument, as it is a major management issue for park officials and land owners alike.
For example, the National Park Service is one of the most important players involved because they are one of the four management branches over the Wilderness areas. Additionally, John Hans Krebs is associated with this meadow because it is named after him; therefore, he takes on the reputation of how his Wilderness is being taken care of. Also, because the Cahoon Meadow is located in the Sequoia National Park, the managers who work there have a say in what happens to the meadow. Consequently, “As part of an effort to understand the origins, impacts, and restoration potential of erosion gullies in wetlands, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks received funding from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to investigate Cahoon Meadow” (Wolf & Cooper, 2016). This donation makes the Sierra Nevada Conservancy a player in restoring the Cahoon Meadow because they are concerned with protecting the land. Mostly everyone involved with the situation wants to see the meadow restored, the only question being proposed is how will it be
Civil disobedience is the refusal to follow or demand laws or rules. Taking a stand on issues of justice in society may be important or redundant to many individuals. In my case, taking a stand on issues of justice is important. Individuals take a stand on justice so they can change issues, speak for people who can’t speak for themselves, and fight for what they believe in.
To illustrate, a famous man of literature and a leader of civil disobedience acts is Henry David Thoreau; he wrote the essay “On the Act of Civil Disobedience” as a realist to state his views on the government. He felt the government unjustly taxed the people to pay for a war with Mexico. He encouraged acts of civil disobedience against these unjust laws – laws that did not agree with their conscience (1-4). He felt the human race should act upon what their conscience tells them to do; they should not let a government say what they should or should not do. Thoreau stated, “The only obligation I have a right to assume is to do anytime what I think right” (1). He thought the government had too much power over the people and wanted them to rebel (1-4). He saw that the people obeyed because they felt they were supposed to and were too afraid to do anything about it. The law he was opposing was that the people should pay taxes because they lived on the land and they were a part of that society so they had to pay whenever and whatever they were told by the government. Thoreau was jailed for not paying his taxes for one night and felt that he was ...
What does a man do when the canyon that he so dearly loves is transformed into an unrecognizable monstrosity at the hands of others that have no affinity to the area they have destroyed? Some may bemoan the destruction, yet lament that what’s done is done and move on. Others may voice their concerns with the unsightliness they see. However, rarely does one voice their views in such a poignant and direct way as to grab the attention of the reader and powerfully force the writer’s views into the mind of the reader. The essay “The Damnation of a Canyon” by Edward Abbey is a revealing look into the mind of an environmental activist and his dissatisfaction with man’s detrimental impacts on the environment and the natural world. Edward Abbey is acclaimed
Civil Disobedience makes governments more accountable for their actions and has been an important catalyst for overcoming unpopular government policies. To voice his disgust with slavery, in 1849 Henry David Thoreau published his essay, Civil Disobedience, arguing that citizens must not allow their government to override their principles and have a civic duty to prevent their government from using unjust means to ends. The basis for Thoreau’s monumental essay was his refusal to pay a poll tax, which subsequently landed him a night in county jail. In his passage: “If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go; perchance it will wear smooth—certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine...
Changing the messaging of their argument to racial discrimination moved the focus from the polluting facility to the people who would be victimized by its presence. This communication method is further explored in the case of The Ancient Forest Rescue (AFR), a group of concerned, mostly white, young activists fighting against a mining operation in the heart of the San Luis Valley, a mostly Latino populated region. The AFR was against a toxic mining operation that would cause tremendous amounts of soil erosion, which would nearly destroy that area’s watershed. These activists were well intentioned, but local residents had to make them aware of the historical and cultural context of discriminatory environmentalism (Westra and Lawson 2001). The Chicano community needed a safe space for themselves in order to communicate about the cultural significance in preserving their land.
Leopold, Aldo. “The Land Ethic” in Environmental Ethics edited by David Schmidtz and Elizabeth Willott. Oxford University Press, New York. 2002. p. 27-32.