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Title: How to conserve biodiversity in a nonequilibrium world
Contributor(s): Rohde, Klaus (author); Ford, Hugh A  (author); Andrew, Nigel R  (author)orcid ; Heatwole, Harold  (author)
Publication Date: 2013
DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139095075.036
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Abstract: Peter Sale, in his important book 'Our Dying Planet' (2011), presented and critically examined economic and ethical/esthetic arguments for conserving biodiversity. We refer the reader to that book for an overview. An ethical responsibility of humans towards nature is usually denied: man has responsibility towards other humans but not towards animals. There are exceptions, for example in Schopenhauer's philosophy compassion with fellow humans and animals is the foundation of ethical behavior (Rohde, 2010). In other words, man has the responsibility not to harm any animal needlessly but to safeguard its survival, which implies protection of its habitat, and this may well be an attitude held by many. The esthetic value of protecting biodiversity is even more controversial. It is almost impossible to define such a value. One is left with pointing out that many of the most important works of art were and are inspired by nature, by a forest, a plant, an animal, and that people enjoy forests and other undisturbed habitats. In the Italian Renaissance, the period when Western modern culture really took off, the development of science and the artistic appreciation of nature's beauty went hand in hand, sometimes in the same person (e.g., Leonardo da Vinci). Some great physicists (Einstein for example) have used the esthetic beauty of mathematical equations as evidence for their truth. One can argue that esthetics is as defining for humanity as is scientific exploration. It should not be forgotten that humans evolved in environments with rich floras and faunas, and that change to a life surrounded by concrete and in an environment vastly impoverished from its previous condition could have unforeseen consequences for mental and physical health.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Grant Details: ARC/DP0769961/ DP0985886
Source of Publication: The Balance of Nature and Human Impact, p. 393-406
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Place of Publication: Cambridge, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9781139095075
Field of Research (FOR): 069902 Global Change Biology
060801 Animal Behaviour
060806 Animal Physiological Ecology
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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