My position as an environmental stakeholder is one of a student in the process of learning, a lover of nature, and someone who hopes to cultivate positive attitudes towards nature and biodiversity into the future. I hold the environmental ethic that is closest to that of a Land Ethicist. Aldo Leopold, one of the most influential founders of environmental ethics, has a philosophy that rings true to me, as someone who grew up in an urban environment but wants it to change and change people’s opinions about their power to make positive change in wild places across the globe. This entire year has been eye-opening to me and has reshaped my feelings on the environment. I now know what I want for future generations: my children and my children’s children. I want a world for them to explore and get lost in, a wild, natural world that still has a strong hope for the future of humankind as well.
I reason that, as Leopold does, the land is more than just lifeless soil, inanimate trees and animals that do not have a spirit like humanity does. Nature is more than what anthropocentric, ethicists see. It is more than just rating the different organisms on their intellectual levels. We are more than our intelligence, as philosophers such as Tom Regan maintain. We have a basic creativity that perhaps even began the universe as well, according to Thomas Berry. I think that recognizing the inherent value of the multivariate natural world and treating it less as a disposable means and more as an end we can reach a higher life fulfillment as well. Basically my reasoning involves forgetting what humans have typically valued: power in the form of wealth, intellect and control and instead the basic value of treating others better.
As someone who is also an atheist I maintain that it is also not necessary to force a belief of God on the value of nature in order to value creation. In my opinion, the idea that there is no God is much a more wondrous idea. The randomness of the universe is the most beautiful concept I can conceive of, and makes nature and the random happenstance that humans even exist as sentient beings even less likely. In order to fulfill this reasoning it is important to respect all beings in a non-anthropocentric way, not necessarily valuing one species over another. I still have work to do myself with my own sentiments and consumer habits, but one day I hope to reflect my own feelings towards the environment in everything I do.