For Nature’s Sake

The protection of Nature is, among other things, an ethical problem. Ethics plays an at least equal role as the other components – technology, economics, politics, sociology, psychology. Particularly so, since it is clear that the environmental protection comes at a cost. We cannot have it for free. Indeed, every serious attempt to stabilize the climate, to change the conditions of farm livestock or to protect the Earth’s scarce resources, should be expected to be painful for us humans. The more every call for action needs a clear ethical foundation. Why should we emit less greenhouse gases? Why should we abstain from the consumption of industrial meat? Or become vegetarians? Maybe even vegans? Should we do that because we grant other people rights – possibly also those who are not born yet? Or does Nature, at least parts of it, also an intrinsic value, independently of what we humans consider useful? These are questions in need of clarification before we talk about concrete measures. They determine which measures are needed and which are redundant or even excessive. Continue reading