Humans’ Moral Obligation to Preserve Endangered Species
Humans’ Moral Obligation to Preserve Endangered Species Many species that exists today are becoming endangered to extinction. In the past era where humans did not exist, extinction occurred due to natural causes. On this present time however, extinction of species are threatened by humans’ existence. Humans are the only moral agent; in which, it has the intellectual capacity that animals and plants do not have.
Thus, humans are powerful and dominate over any species. Many practices that humans do such as: tree logging, environment pollution, exploitation of animals and others has led to many species being endangered to extinction.Thus, humans have a moral obligation to preserve endangered species for such reasons focus on biodiversity, future generation and cultural icon. First argument why humans have moral obligation to preserve endangered species would be for the reason of biodiversity. Every species are all unique with each other. Each one has its own unique genetic code.
So, if one species become extinct, they cannot be replaced. As well as all species have a purpose for one organism or so. Extinction of species would cause the chain of an on going process that occur everyday for organisms to be in disorder.That is, if one would take a species out in the ecosystem, it would lead to extinctions of many other species. As Holmes Rolston (Duties to Endangered Species p.
323) argues, “Extinction shuts down the generative processes. The wrong that humans are doing or allowing to happen through carelessness, is stopping the historical flow in which vitality of life is laid. Every extinction is a kind of superkilling. It kills forms (species), beyond individuals. ” Therefore, if extinction of species affects the ecosystem, then it will also affect humanity.
Humans benefits from plants and animals, just like plants and animals benefit from humans and to one another. However, short-term effect of extinction may not be visible, but in a long run it will be detrimental. Thus, future generation will pay for the consequences if extinction of endangered species is ignored. However, one could argue if humans should still have a moral obligation to preserve endangered species, if the humans present now will not exist and benefit in the future in that sense. To answer this, the following issue will be address below.For the future of our children and grandchildren that humans care for, and for the animals and plants, humans need to preserve endangered species.
Everything that humans choose to do now will affect the future generation. If humans continue to exploit species in our ecosystem especially endangered ones and pollutes the environment, negative consequences will affect the future. Such exploitation comprise of using species for commercial usage for instance: making furs and other clothing, testing animals for perfumes, hunting and others.The negative effect in the future could lead to depletion of resources for animals, plants and humans such as habitats, food, and protection from natural disasters. In addition, the resources for medicines to find cures for present untreatable illnesses would also be affected due to extinction of endangered species. There are many species particularly plant species that have not been tested that could be the answer to deadly illnesses.
Thus, for the well being of the future generation, humans have a moral obligation to preserve endangered species.Another argument is that when people are traveling to different places, the first thing a person notices is the culture of the place. A person sees how the culture differs from places to places. Thus, culture is what makes one place unique from other places. The uniqueness that every culture has is what represents the identity of people living in their community.
People value their own culture and proudly represent them on such occasions to show off their unique culture.Such occasions like Olympics where athletes from different countries around the world gather and shows off their culture by wearing their cultural clothes and waving their flag would be an example. Another example would be the Foklorama event here in Winnipeg where people represents their countries and shows off their culture by educating people about their culture. Therefore, humans have a moral obligation to preserve endangered species base on communities’ cultural icons.
Every place has a unique species in which it can only be found in those places. Those unique species is a part of which it represents their culture.For instance, a caribou is a cultural icon of Manitoba; Philippine eagle is an endangered species and is the national bird of the Philippines; as well as panda bears for China, koala bears for Australia and others. In addition, people value individual animals simply because of their beauty. As Lill-Marlene Russow (2003 p. 475) sums up, “individual animals can have, to a greater or lesser degree, aesthetic value: they are valued for their simple beauty, for their awesomeness, for their intriguing adaptations, for their rarity, and for many other reasons.
We have a moral obligations to protect things of aesthetic value, and to ensure their continued existence. ” Many people like to travel to different places and admire the beauty of different species. The beauty of individual animals attracts people to visit and it adds to admiration of the culture of the place. Thus, to preserve the cultural icon that represents individual culture, humans have a moral obligation to preserve endangered species. The limits to such obligations of humans to preserve endangered species are only to the extent of what they can control.
Humans cannot control natural extinctions.As Holmes Rolston (Duties to Endangered Species p. 326) stated, “In natural extinctions, nature takes away life when it has become unfit in habitat, or when the habitat alters, and supplies other life in its place. ” What humans can control are the artificial extinctions. Humans can control their action against nature. They can control their act in away that it does not have a negative effect to the nature and species.
That is, humans should reduce or eliminate practices in which affects the nature. Such practices that affect the nature would be eliminating practices that pollute the environment, sports hunting, and exploitation of animals.Such moral obligations of humans cannot be based to species interests. Species is a type of class or group of a certain kind of animals. Species is a name of a class therefore it cannot have interests. However, individual animals can have interest.
As Holm Rolston (Duties to Endangered Species p. 324) refers to the authors as such: Singer (1929, p. 203) asserts, “Species as such are not conscious entities and so do not have interests above and beyond the interests of the individual animals that are members of the species. ”; Regan (1983. p.
359) maintains, “The rights view is a view about the moral rights of individuals.Species are not individuals, and the rights view does not recognize the moral rights of species to anything, including survival. ” Rescher (1980, p. 83) says, “Moral obligation is thus always interest-oriented. But only individuals can be said to have interests; one only has moral obligations to particular individuals or particular groups thereof. Accordingly, the duty to save a species is not a matter of moral duty toward it, because moral duties are only oriented to individuals.
A species as such is the wrong sort of target for a moral obligation. Thus, such obligations are not base on species interest; but rather on both human interests and individual interests of plants and animals. Humans benefits from plants and animals as plants and animals benefits from humans and to one another. As well as their survival needs depends on one another. In addition, the obligations should be attached to the species as a whole.
All species have the same rights. It would be unfair to say that the obligations should be weighted more on certain types of species compare to others. Therefore, such obligation is attach to the species as a whole, for species all have equal rights.In conclusion, humans have a moral obligation to preserve endangered species for the given reasons in need for biodiversity, for the good of future generation and preserving cultural icon. Species are unique individuals in which they cannot be replaced. As well as, humans care for their children and grandchildren and their future.
Lastly, humans need to preserve endangered species in order to preserve their cultural identity that represents their culture. Such obligations are base on both human interests and individual plants and animal interests. References:Regan, T. 1983. The Case for Animal Rights.
University of California Press, Berkeley Rescher, N. 1980. Unpopular Essays of Technological Progress. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburg, Pa. Rolston III, H.
Duties to Endangered Species, p. 323-326. Singer, P. 1979.
Not for humans only. In K. E. Goodpaster and K. M Sayre, ed. Ethics and Problems of the 21st Century.
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN. VanDeVeer, D. , & Pierce, C. (2003). The Environmental Ethics & Policy Book. In LM.
Russow, Why Do Species Matter? p. 475. Belmont, Ca: Holly Allen.
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