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Environmental Ethics

What responsibilities do we have to wild species and ecosystems and to present and future generations of humans dependent on critical ecological services? How does the recognition of rapid, global environmental change challenge our traditional understandings of these obligations? What does it mean to be "sustainable" and why do many believe that achieving sustainability is an ethical imperative for science and society in this century? These questions, and others like them, are e plored in this series! "nvironmental ethics is a branch of applied philosophy that studies the conceptual foundations of environmental values as well as more concrete issues surrounding societal attitudes, actions, and policies to protect and sustain biodiversity and ecological systems! #or some ethicists and scientists, this attitude of respecting species and ecosystems for their own sakes is a consequence of embracing an ecological worldview$ it flows out of an understanding of the structure and function of ecological and evolutionary systems and processes! We will consider how newer scientific fields devoted to environmental protection such as conservation biology and sustainability science are thus often described as "normative" sciences that carry a commitment to the protection of species and ecosystems$ again, either because of their intrinsic value or for their contribution to human wellbeing over the long run! Historically, the development of the mankind resembled a cyclic process in which some civili%ations disappeared while new arouse in their place! &n fact, the same trend could be traced in the development of the life at large! &n other words, the cyclic development is the characteristic of not only human race, but also other species inhabiting the "arth as well as the nature at large! &n such a situation, it is very important to understand how the life cycle actually works and which forces make the cycle repeat and function without interruption! &n this respect, it is possible to find various theories e plaining the changes of life cycles in various spheres of human life as well as in the nature at large! 'evertheless, these theories still are not perfect and often they are critici%ed, but these theories are very important to study because they help better understand ma(or factors that influence the life of humans and the development of the environment at large!

Hence, on the basis of these theories, it is possible to understand better how the process of the development of human civili%ation and the life at large occurs and how this process changes! #irst of all, it is important to underline that traditionally the development of the life on the planet and the human society were viewed in the conte t of the anthropocentric ideology, which put humans in the center of the universe and made them the main, if not the only agent that can perceive the changes in the world and that can influence these changes! 'aturally, the anthropocentric view has been undermined with the development of evolutionist views under the impact of )harles *arwin+s works! 'evertheless, the influence of anthropocentrism is still very significant even in the contemporary theories which attempt to e plain the progress and development of human society and the life cycles on the "arth! &n fact, the focus of scientists specifically on the nature or on humans solely is the result of the dominance of the anthropocentrism in the past! &n this respect, the carrying capacity curve, the , curve and the lifecycle civili%ation curve perfectly illustrates the distinction between humans and nature! &n a way, it is even possible to speak about certain (u taposition between humans and nature because often the development of human society is viewed independently from the development or changes that took place in the environment! -bviously, such an approach is totally erroneous because human society cannot progress and change without influencing and being influenced by the environment, i!e! by the nature! This is why it is necessary to view various theories e plaining the development and progress of life and human societies as complementary to each other but not as isolated and independent theories! &n such a conte t, the , curve may be very helpful in the understanding of the evolution and changes of human societies! .asically, the , curve is focused on political, social and economic life of human society and it allows tracing the changes in the society which eventually lead to the radical and often violent change of the e isting social, political and economic order, i!e! to the revolution! The creator of the , curve, ,ames )howning *avies, while working on his theory, attempted to e plain political revolutions above all! This strife for the e planation of the

political revolutions that regularly take place in human societies consistently affected his , curve and defined its orientation on the socioeconomic and political life of human societies! The milestone of the , curve is the idea that political revolutions occur under the impact of the rapid and une pected reversal in fortunes after a long process of the economic growth! &n such a way, on the basis of the , curve, it is possible to define the principle of the radical socioeconomic and political changes which take place in human societies! .asically, the idea is quite simple/ the economic growth leads to the accumulation of the wealth, which, though, is accompanied by pauperi%ation of the lowest layers of the society! 0radually, the gap between the elite and deprived layers of the society grows wider leading to the almost inevitable reversal in fortunes which results in the redistribution of the wealth from the elite to the deprived layers of the population! Historically, human civili%ations have undergone the stage of the formation, progress but, as the highest point in the development of a human civili%ation is achieved, a gradual or sometimes rapid decline commences which eventually leads to the total disappearance of a human civili%ation! &nstead, new human civili%ation starts to develop and grow stronger instead of those civili%ations that have (ust disappeared! 1t this point, it is possible to apply the , curve to e plain the rise and fall of human civili%ations by internal contradictions which accompanied by political revolutions and reversal in fortunes! &n this respect, it is possible to e trapolate the carrying capacity curve on both the , curve and lifecycle civili%ations curve since human relations and the development of human societies and civili%ations do not really differ in their essence from processes which take place in the wilderness to other species! &n actuality, carrying capacity curve helps define the supportable population of an organism, giver the food, habitat, water and other necessities available within the ecosystem! &n such a way, the presence of the necessities available within the ecosystem and the si%e of the population are closely interdependent since the increase of the population inevitable leads to the decrease of the necessities available within the ecosystem, while the abundance of the necessities available defines the changes of the si%e of the population! Traditionally, this curve is applied to the wildlife, but it can be also applied to humans on the condition that the list of necessities is enlarged in accordance with the e isting demands and needs of people and human society at large!

-bviously, humans, similarly to other species, are developing within the ecosystem and they cannot live in the isolation from their natural environment! -n the other hand, the technological, social and economic development of society creates larger opportunities for human civili%ations to grow and develop since people can produce new commodities and use the available necessities more effectively than previous generations! However, whatever the level of the development of human civili%ation is it cannot avoid a crisis and decline! The reason is quite obvious and it can be e plained by the complementation of the , curve, the civili%ation lifecycles curve and the carrying capacity curve! What is meant here is the fact that any human civili%ation, as well as any other species, develops within the ecosystem and people use resources which are available in their ecosystem! 2sing the available resources people develop their socioeconomic relations, science, form comple political structures, which contribute to the strengthening of their civili%ation! The effective use of the available natural resources leads to the economic growth, which, in its turn, provokes economic contradictions within the civili%ation! 3imultaneously, there are other human civili%ations that are also progressing and are growing in power! "ventually, the human civili%ation arrives to the point when the human population consistently e ceeds the natural resources available in their ecosystem and they have either to come into conflict with other human civili%ations or disappear! &n addition, the lack of natural resources, the large population and conflicts with other civili%ations are aggravated by internal socioeconomic contradictions within the civili%ation which may result in the political revolution and the reversal in fortunes, which mark a profound economic crisis! 1s a result, the human civili%ation can hardly survive such a comple stronger civili%ation that has (ust started to grow in power! Thus, the life cycle is repeating, human civili%ations are changing, but these changes constitute only a part of the general evolution of the nature and environment in which all humans live! of natural, demographic, socioeconomic and political problems, and eventually it disappears given the way to a new,