An Environmentally Sound Mind in an Environmentally Sound Body
Our environment worldview plays a key role in how we treat the earth that sustains us and how we treat ourselves. Knowledge is power especially when it comes to matter dealing with how our knowledge of our surroundings plays a significant factor in how we go about our daily lives. Our knowledge thus translates into awareness; an awareness of the environmental degradation that continues to occur in the world and how we might curb but not entirely alleviate the damages. When we become more environmentally literate we come to realize how much damage is really going on in the world. Through environmental literacy, we can come to have an environmentally sound mind in a sense where we have come to understand the environmental problems and strive to live in a much more sustainable way. Especially when we look at our ecological footprints and how we are consuming our resources faster than the earth can replenish them and at the same time, we exploit these resources to get the maximum benefit.
Our worldviews of the world greatly shapes how we respond to environmental problems. It seems that you see the human race as a part of nature and having an obligation to protect what helped sustain life for so long or nature being part of the human race; that it is a human right to benefit at the expense of nature. If we all decide to live with the mentality that nature belongs to the human race, it won't be too soon until it decides to get rid of the human race. The forces of nature are too powerful for any human technology or innovation to fight against. This is because it is not nature who is dependent on us; it is mankind who is dependent on nature. Mankind is heavily dependent on all the ecological and economical services that the environment provides. The bane of human nature is its insatiable desire for more "stuff". Because of this, we put so much strain on our resources that our each of our ecological footprints show numbers that aren't able for the earth to sustain for long. That is why we must learn how to live within sustainable means. It sounds as if all our problems could easily be mitigated with this plan but in reality it can make a huge difference when it comes to resource management.
Moving onto several concepts regarding environmental worldviews are the concepts of biophilia, environmental justice, and intergenerational justice. The concept of biophilia was termed by Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson as an “innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms”. The two aspects of it that it is innate and part of humans genetic heritage and evolved nature and that it is an emotional response that can be an end itself (a feeling of pleasure or well-being) or it can stimulate emotions that can motivate various kinds of behavior. One thing that I disagree about the aspects that define the word "biophilia" is that it is an “innately emotional afflication”. What about the cultural aspects of it? Drawing from my own culture and understanding of the word “biophilia” it is not merely because of one's emotions that are drawn to describe one's affinity for nature and other organisms. There are some cultural roots to examine as well. Land is a significant part of culture that often defines a family and, to the extent, a lineage.
Pacific Islanders hold much esteem for perimetrical environment and other living organisms that inhabit their land. Because of the cultural and family's historical values that are derived from an islander's land, Pacific Islanders sought to protect their environment and beautify it to pass it on to the next generations. Native Americans hold the philosophy of interconnectedness. How everything is some ways are connected and how this philosophy imbues an awareness of one's environment. In keeping with the harmony of their external environment, Native Americans kept a harmony within themselves and with other people. Several case studies involving people with scenic views, horticulture, urban trees, and contact with nature showed improvements in the way people socialize and felt physiologically. The human desire to be in contact with nature has many benefits but has also presented many dilemmas. One such dilemma is urbanization and its unsustainable building design. The goal to boost the biophilic experience is backed by economic incentives. Urban real estate and business buildings dictate higher prices when they are located near lakes or oceans and lush landscaping. One example of this are the residential and hotel buildings constructed around the perimeter of Central Park in Manhattan. The location of these buildings are within the realms of New York City and are in close proximity to the famous Central Park.
The concepts of Environmental Justice is found intermingled with the theory and practice of Intergenerational Justice. The four concepts of Environmental Justice addressed within the scope of International Justice are as follows: 1st approach: Because ecosystems lack the possession of conscious interests, we must implement environmental policies that aim to preserve the environment from further degradation and environmental offenders. The 2nd approach: We have obligations to protect animals who do possess conscious of interests and because they are the nonhuman bearers of basic rights we have an obligation to protect their rights to humane treat and a life-sustaining environment. The 3rd approach involves the argument for the preservation and protection of the environment due to the obligations we have to future human beings. The people of the present age must uphold these obligations for these are the fundamental requirements for enacting intergenerational environmental justice. The 4th approach is to make the claim that the duty to protect the environment is of justice based on the rights and interests not only of people alive now but also of generations to come. This is the intergenerational standard of environmental justice.
Blog Question: What environmental worldview is considered to be the best for environmental preservation? What are its weaknesses? How can we go about achieving global consensus on a particular worldview?