Exploitation of natural environment or resources is an essential state of human existence, throughout the history of mankind; human have been manipulating natural resources to produce various materials they needed to sustain growing human populations. This likely to refer primarily for economic development and food production but many other entities from the natural environment have been extracted. Natural resources are an important material basis for a stable natural economy and social development. These materials can be divided into two distinctive groups such as the non-renewable: which includes raw minerals and the renewable: such as grasslands and forests. With the increasing rate of industrialization and urbanization mankind’s great demands for natural resources and their large scale exploitation as well as their consumption has resulted in deteriorating, weakening and exhaustion of these precious resources (MAGAJI, 2012).
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In the struggle for survival and development, mankind creates a lot of negative impacts on the environment, these impacts ranges from over-exploitation of resources, destruction of ecosystem as well as pollution. Typically the exploitation of nature has been executed in a non-sustainable way, which is causing an increasing concern, as the non-sustainable exploitation of natural resources ultimately threatens the existence of human being itself. One major difficult task faced by both developed and developing countries it to guarantee the lasting utilization of natural resources at the lowest possible environmental cost, while still assuring the economic and social development.
In religious point of view, exploiting natural resource is permissible for mankind to achieve a better living standards as well as their survival at a minimal level. In Genesis, Adam is told by God that he has “domination over the animals of the earth, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea” and that nature is essentially is there for his purposes. Adam was also told “go forth and multiply” and has dominion over everything. This again makes nature and everything in it compliant to human beings and their wishes, implying that nature exists strictly for their use and has little or no value in itself (Thiroux, 2009). However, in the current competitive and leap forward era, humans are exploiting these resources at an alarming rate which will indeed causing these precious resources to deplete in a long run basis.
In addition, in science point of view, the rise to an exploitative attitude toward nature made science and other scientific progress possible. It is no accident that science has progressed by leaps and bounds in the Western world (Thiroux, 2009). If nature, and all it contains, is compliant to mankind, or if mankind can make it so by harnessing its powers and using if for their own best interest, then why not do so? As science and technology advanced, nature become more and more compliant to human needs and desires, and the environment and animals were used and exploited without regard to any intrinsic value they might have (Thiroux, 2009). After all, mankind are the only beings with intrinsic value, nature has only instrumental value. Nature only has valuable values only as it helps mankind to attain whatever goals they believe are important to them.
There have been countless debates over these issues in the ethical world. Mankind assumed that the Earth’s natural resources will last forever and will never be depleted; however this just proved how easily mankind being able to take things for granted without any further realization. Therefore this issues can be linked to the following ethical theories includes ethical egoism, utilitarianism and deontology.
Ethical egoism describes an individual’s act such as “exploiting natural resource” based on their self interest for the sake of gaining more profits. Moreover, in utilitarianism stand point of view, it illustrate an individual’s act for the interest of all which in terms act on behave for the majority which brings benefits, such as exploiting natural resource for the sake of survival and further developments of infrastructure that will bring mankind a step further into the future as well as providing more amenities which enables mankind to have a much more easier lifestyle. Furthermore, in deontology terms of exploiting natural resources are where individual’s judgment regarding their act is either right or wrong for themselves. In addition, in Act nonconsequentialism view, only individual acts and situation count morally, which practically illustrate that an individual or corporation may conduct exploitation of natural resource legally as long as the government and other legal policies permits it to do so. Therefore it is permissible for them to continue exploiting natural resources even though it violates ethical rights for the sake to satisfying consumer demands as well as building a better and more advanced civilization for mankind.
Two arguments for Exploitation of the natural environment are stated in the text book where one argument is in favor of it and the other is against it. There are a total of four elements in the first argument. Dominion over Nature Arguments is a strong set of arguments stated that human beings are the highest form of natural creation, therefore, human being should have complete dominance over nature and everything that it contains. Nature only exists for the use of human beings and has no other purpose for its existence.
Furthermore, there are two sub arguments in regard to the 1st element which come from two sources religion and science. Religious Basis for dominion pointed out that western religions seem to support the stance that people although related to nature, are yet other and higher than nature by virtue of the spirituality that has been conferred upon them by God. No other beings in nature have a higher status then humans therefore, nature does not deserve the same ethical considerations as humans do. It is up to the human beings to decide what the value of nature has. Natural Order and Evolution Argument is the other argument that supports human dominion over nature is what which focuses on the evolutionary level and the natural order of things that places human beings at the top of everything. Human are bless with their brain power that are considered to be the highest achievement of nature and should be granted full dominance over everything else in the natural world. Humans have shown their abilities to reason and invent.
Human Reasoning Versus Nature as Blind and Nonreasoning is the main reason that human beings are at the top of the natural order of things is that they have the capacity for reasoning as compare to the rest of nature which does not possess it. Non-living objects and plants have no reasoning ability, and animals have it to a minor degree. That’s why human beings till date should have complete dominance and control over nature.
Civilization More Important Than Nature because of human brain have the utmost capabilities to reasoning, analyzing, organizing, using a language as well as creating as compare to nature itself. Therefore, human beings have the rights to destroy nature in order to allow human civilization to expand and progress such as advancement of technology and scientific studies.
Moral Rights and obligations describe that humans are at the top of the religious and natural orders, thus they deserves moral rights and other forms of obligations means humans have moral obligations only to themselves and other human beings but not to nature in any aspects. Morality does not exist as far as the rest of nature is concerned. Therefore human have no moral obligations toward any part of nature, nor does any part of nature have any moral rights. At the end, nature can be used and exploited in any way that humans preferred for their purposes.