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The Importance Of Environmental Philosophy

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Environmental philosophers are able to open up a range of different ideas behind our environmental crisis. They do this by not only looking at physical marks left by humans on the earth but also at the very humans themselves. Theories don’t only explain complex dynamics and structures but give us an opportunity to reflect upon our own behaviors and decisions in relation to the environment.

Environmental philosophy tries to make sense of the unexamined values, assumptions and ideologies behind humanities treatment of the environment and, in doing so, aims at helping to elicit an effective human response to related issues (Curry, 2011). Environmental philosophy, has gone beyond being merely an academic pursuit, now requiring the world’s population take moral responsibility for the damages caused by their industrial advances on natural systems.

Overpopulation can be seen as one of the key factors responsible for the state of our rapidly decaying earth. Developments in medicine, agriculture and technology have allowed for the human race to take over all other species and be excluded from the natural food chain. Humans, particularly westerners, lead lives of extreme consumption that take huge tolls not only on the earth but also on certain groups within society. A great division has developed between the western world and the third world.

Hans Rosler in the BBC documentary, ‘Don’t Panic’ (2013), raises questions about what a ‘good life’ actually means through studying people with differing amounts of money. The poorest people in the world, many living off crops they grow themselves for food, use the least amount of natural resources and fossil fuels, whereas the richest people use the most. Rosler measures the rank of ones lifesty...

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...contemporary environmental crisis, we are able to gather a concise understanding of issues that are often hard to explain yet alone understand. Wealth has become a power system evoking dualism of the western and third world. Power and quality of life is measured against the wealth of an individual. This is a result of human’s tendency to over utilize and eventually deplete the resources available to them inevitably leading to overpopulation. In the next fifty years, the success of the environmental movement may depend much more on its ability to change ethics and values. Environmental philosophy gives an invaluable lens into the issues of overpopulation by deconstructing complex dynamics within society. By spreading ideas within environmental philosophy to all different corners of the globe then everyone will have a chance to learn how to live rightly in the world.
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