The Environment and human livelihoods

The environment should be protected because and only because human livelihoods depend upon it. The essay will treat the different problems that exist, nowadays, between environment and human beings, their difficulty to coexist, and mostly the ethical issues that result from it. Introduction “There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but nor for man’s greed”- Mohandas K. Gandhi. This sentence is getting all its meaning since the previous decades.

Nowadays, the question of environment, and its relation with human beings is one of the most central issues. Many things impact people’s life, but protecting the environment and the planet should be important to everyone all around the world. The questioning of environment was an ignored issue through time, and human beings hadn’t put this problem on top of his priorities. For many years, people have satisfied their needs, without showing any concerns or awareness about the care of our planet, the way we treat our environment is described by some, like murder.

Thus, it is natural to ask ourselves if the environment should be protected because and only because human livelihoods depend upon it or the opposite, that us, humans, exist only because of our planet, and that we should do all our best to save the air we breathe, the ground we live on, the entire environment that surrounds us. First of all the study will begin by what the environment is through time, then it will show the obvious relationship between environment and human beings and its issues, and it will finish by the question of ethics about human and nature.

The nature of the environment In recent years, the term environment has replaced the term nature, environment may be understood by what is surrounding us, it can be separated into living components: fauna and flora, and non-living components. Environment provides resources that ensured the well being of each species in the world, it is a real support for all the living organisms that exist on our planet.

According to Raymond Williams, that is one of the most famous Britain writer and philosopher, the nature can be defined as “the material world itself, taken as including or not including human beings”, it means that nature includes everything that lives, and that human beings are fully part of nature. There are two ways of thinking, on one hand, the ecologists who focus on environment and living being relationship in general and on the other hand the ones who focus on human beings and its relation with the environment.

Firstly, the traditional meaning of nature was that God created it for all the living organisms, but basically, through history, people used to think that humans had a central place in it, like a king on his realm. As times has passed, with the industrial revolution, environment has another position in the society, and nowadays, human being is the one responsible for the environment’s change. According to Michel de Montaigne, French philosopher and writer of the 16th century: “ Let us a little permit Nature to take her own way; she better understand her own affairs than we. Montaigne tried to explain that nature could be by itself, and that it had always done. For decades, man gives itself the right to do everything, everywhere without any concerns for the planet. Before the creation of man, the environment was evolving by itself, and now, a new reliance emerges, the well being of the environment almost depends on man. The issue is that human nature didn’t respect what was offered to it. The relationship between environment and human beings Firstly, it is crucial to realise that humans have a unique position in nature because of the exceptional ability they have to adapt, to transform, to create.

In the beginning, man could be compared to other animals; nature was the one who dictated where living beings was. Humans lived with fishing, hunting, gathering vegetables; nature was the only dominator. Through time, humans continuously evolved in their way of living, they succeeded in creating new materials; they understood what the environment could provide them. The relationship between man and nature had gradually changed, through the evolution of the agriculture, man begins to control his environment, he modified his needs, and his frequency.

However, the most important redefinition of the term nature was after the industrial revolution until today, man is now able to have a total control over it. The evolving of new technologies, of new mores, and the rising of the population created a new world. Since the 20th century, and the birth of the consumer society, the relation man-nature totally changed, man doesn’t only need nature in order to survive, but he needs it to satisfy different inexistent needs. The issue of energy is almost the most important, as it was said previously, evolution and energy are two reliable term, concerning man.

The most famous ones are fossil energies, for years, man has used these energies indefinitely, and this phenomenon has grown abruptly because of our society. A new reliance was created, man plundered every resource on Earth, and a new dependence was born, nowadays, nature almost needs man. Moreover, another fact has to be pointed out: the massive decrease of certain species because of man, especially the decline of fish, as it is shown in the documentary: “The end of the line” by Rupert Murray, which highlights all the problems caused by humans in the maritime world.

Even if man has to satisfy his natural needs, it is obvious to say that, in the 21th century, there is a big issue, because man acts without any concern about what the environment provides The questions of ethics about the relationship: man-nature Human beings are part and parcel of nature, which is part and parcel of the universe. Nowadays, new issues comes up about environment, a lot of scientists agree that human beings succeed in creating an alarming disaster on the planet. Since few decades, man realised what happened, and the mores about environment preservation began to change, it is now a well-known fact.

However, there are some real ethical questions that have emerged: who is responsible of the environment degradation? Does it have to concern every man on Earth? Was it legitimate for human beings to use what nature can offer without any awareness of the damage? As it was previously said, it is necessary to understand that man is unique compared to other living species. In the mean time, nature created every living organism, included man, thus, these ones have to give it some respect; it is the basis of the ethics.

Unfortunately, the issue is the nature of men, they didn’t respect the contract, and they even abused of the environment’s creed. Human beings basically exploit nature to gratify their selfish instincts; they are ignorant of what universe had provided them. The fact is that the development of our society takes over the good preservation of our planet, when man undertakes to create new technologies, he doesn’t have any concern about the environment, because it is included in human nature.

Moreover, it is difficult to satisfy everyone’s needs, and thinking about the protection of the environment at the same time, but today, human beings are facing a really new type of dimension concerning environment. At first, man deeply depended on nature, and it is the opposite in this day and age, nature deeply depends on man. What is central to highlight, it is that all flora and fauna is degrading, man destroys living life, and today, we are on the ledge of nature bankruptcy.

Human beings have to be more and more implicated in the protection of Earth; it is crucial for them to save the living and non-living organisms for the reason that even if man doesn’t protect the environment for himself, he has to do it for all the species that exists in the world, and that he threatens. Conclusion “I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something created by nature we call it progress” – Ed. Begley Jr.

This quote really points out the fact that it is unconsciously acknowledged in humans minds that using all the resources that nature has to offer is normal and moral. The way of thinking is starting to evolve these days, because people are realizing that it’s for their own sake that the environment should be preserved. This shows all the duality of the problem, people start caring only when their own interests are at stake, and not due to the fact that it is ethical and moral to try and protect the living things around us.

Ecologist have now a very powerful plea, which is that letting things going the way they are will harm us, but this means that telling people that we should protect the environment just because it is a beautiful living thing that we should try to coexist with, wouldn’t work. The consequence of people starting to care is good, but if they are doing it for the wrong reasons, selfish reasons, is that really the morality that we should adopt?