Basics of an ethic for nature
Nature is rather immoral from a human view, since it worries little about our conceptions of good and bad.
If one wants to set up such a thing like an ethics for nature, then this is a cultural achievement. The term ethics for nature is used thereby equivalently to ecological ethics or environmental ethics . The ethics for nature tries to specify the correct way of human acting in relation to nature.
How can an ethics for nature look like ?
Basics of an ethic for nature
Basis of each ethic for nature must be the survival of nature and mankind. If humans become extinct, also each ethics is redundant. Therefore the most important set of an ethics for nature are the following:
- You must support survival of life on earth .
- You must support survival of mankind on earth.
- You should avoid everything, which makes survival of life and mankind more difficult.
If you do not want to follow these rules, you do not have to. But sooner or later you will notice, that it is easier to live with nature rather than against it.
Laws of nature can be bent only with difficulty. If one fires for example enormous quantities of fossil energy, how we do that today, one does not need to be surprised, if the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere rises and it becomes warmer and warmer.
A change of the goals in order to save fossil energy and for the use of renewable energy sources is thus inevitable.
The ethics for nature are not a “natural right” or a “natural moral”. The rules come from humans. Humans and life will die out anyway sometime. The concern is to keep this unevitable end as far away as possible. Exactly like each one of us should live in good friendship with his body in order to live as long as possible without unnecessary diseases. Although nobody can escape from death as good and healthy he tried to live.
The ethics for nature should not be an exaggerated love for nature. A “general love for all creatures” like Albert Schweitzer demanded it, is not possible. Where do the loved creatures begin and where do they end. Albert Schweitzer surely exterminated malarial parasites with large devotion, although they are organisms too. Reasonably he did not love them, but fought against them, even though this contradicted his own ethical principles.
How nature will force this kind of ethics?
The conception of a punishing nature is scientifically unreasonable. There are however consequences of human acting, which work like punishments, because they bring substantial and predictable disadvantages with itself.
Thus the population growth will be stopped by different factors:
- Mankind will run out of food
- Mankind will run out of water
- The dense population leads to aggression and war.
- Diseases lead to premature death. They are easily spread by worldwide travel.
- Ecological damage leads to a fast or creeping death by poisoning.
The waste of energy will be reduced by the following factors.
- The carbondioxid production leads to a rise of the carbon dioxide level in the air. *Die atmosphere heats up. Storms and inundations increase.
On the other hand many disasters have an natural cause and are not man made. The Tsunami in Southeast Asia in the year 2004 was a natural catastrophe. Naive humans may regard therein the punishment of a higher instance of nature or an angry God. Scientifically these opinions are unreasonable.
Why is an ethical behavior to nature important for us?
The necessity of ethics for nature is quite clear today. From the long list of the environmental problems there are mentioned some:
- Ecological damage by industrialization, traffic, tourism and agriculture,
- Growth of garbage, exhaust gases and waste water,
- Sound - and light contamination
- Radioactivity by atomic energy and nuclear weapons,
- Climatic change, ozone hole
- Loss of species and habitat destruction
- Monocultures, pesticides, overfishing,
- Waste of energy and resources
Already in the interest of the today living persons, and even more in the interest of the coming generations the long list of these negative consequences of todays developed life will force a change and will limit the human freedom of action.
Ethics for nature practical view
From the rather generally formulated principles of the ethics for nature the practical application leads us to environmental protection. By appropriate laws, their control and forced application ethics for nature will become a part of the general system of necessary laws. The most difficult laws will handle global environmental problems for example the carbon dioxide problem, because it is not so easy not enforce them. In addition, here the increasing heating up of the atmosphere forces all states to introduce obligatory volume controls in order to achieve the generally accepted goals.
- environmental protection
- nature protection
Many environmental organisations help to contribute their part to the preservation of our natural environment and help to implement environmental policy.
- Georg Picht, the 1982 deceased religion philosopher:
If you recognize the ecological function of the ethical and moral values, then you cannot hang on to the illusion, that humans have the liberty, to set their own values. They are forced to these values to a very broad extent by the structure of an ecological system, whose limits cannot be crossed unpunished.
- Friedrich Engels:
We can not be too proud of human victories over nature. For every such victory will come back on us again. Every victory has primarily the consequences, which we expected, but in the second and third line it has completely different effects, which way out those first gains again. The people in Mesopotamien, Greece and small Asia , which exterminated their forests, in order to win land for agriculture, did not dream that they would thereby cause the current depopulation of those countries… And in such a way we are reminded of the fact that we do not control nature, how a conquerer controls a strange people - We are reminded of the fact that with our body, blood and brain we belong to nature. The only thing that gives us an advantage above other creatures is our knowledge of these laws of nature and the necessity of their correct application.