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Religion and Ethics, Who knew.

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Western Christian and Eastern Buddhist Ecological Spirituality and Environmental Ethics… what a weird mix. Some people would love to extend personhood to animals, and some already do this. Think about it, how often do you talk to your animal in the second person? If I may so myself, it must happen pretty often. I know I do it multiple times per day. Yet, there are religions out there that blog 28.2believe God created us as the authoritative figure on Earth, therefore we are above animals. They do not see God’s creations extending beyond humans, thus animals, etc. do not have souls. What I want to know is where did this thought come from? Lynn White and Andrew Linery provide an answer.

White’s “main area of research and inquiry was the role of technological invention in the Middle Ages” (Wikipedia). He believed the Middle Ages was the time which can be defined as the “genesis of Western technological supremacy,” founding the basis of all technological inventiveness (Wikipedia). Wanting to figure out why the scientific community thinks in a certain way, White seeks to understand how the relationship between science and technology began.

All significant science is western, dating back to the 17th century. White thinks the relationship between science and technology is recent, science was a form of contemplation: what brough them together was this dominion view in Christianity. This view can be used to subdue the Earth and create mastery. This mastery comes from this ideology that only man was created by God, and man only. Which explains why the church replaced pagan animism with cults of saints, because man had an effective monopoly of spirits. Hence, man does not need to answer to any natural spirits, just its monopoly of spirits. Therefore, God did not create nature, but we were created to have dominion over it.

Linzey takes a similar point of view, but takes a viewpoint from christianity, and its thinking. Christians have lost their identities, because most have a strong hatred for animals. In fact, in christian theology animals are used as satelites for Satan. Satan is viewed as an evil creature, so if animals are depicted as satelites of Satan then they must be evil, as well. For centuries, animals have been made to look evil. Depicting them in dimly light, dark, and evil situations give animals horrific denotations.

However, there is some hope in christianity. St. Francis of Assisi believe in the virtue of humility. Not only for individuals but man as a specie. He tries to despose man and his monarchy over animals. This dominion should not exist, have christians forgot their past, their story? They need to rethink their story, go back and see these untapped, marginalized stories of a world filled with animals and humans together, in harmony.

As a fellow catholic, similar to a christian (different sector) I do not believe animals are evil, but I will say that they are depicted as evil creatures, which is clearly ironic due to how inhumanely they are treated as of late, but I can see that once upon a time they were equal to us humans. Humans are an evil specie. I mean, look at the destruction we have caused amongst the ecosystems of this world, none of them look the same, and none of them will ever look the same. In my opinion, our world would do a whole lot better if religion did not exist. I guess people need something to hope for, to pray for; but why cannot people pray/hope for our world. This world is hanging on by a thread (not trying to sound cliche here but it is true). We focus on continually improving our technology, but what about the science which daily portrays the implications of our own doings?

I love the assessments done by White and Linzey, it helps one better understand the origin of this concept of us being higher up on the ladder in comparison to animals. Fortunately, that is not true. We are all equal. Now lets get that into all our dang minds. COME ON PEOPLE. blog 28.1

Categories: ethics, Life, New York City, Priorities, Religion in Ethics, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Sustainable Development, the Wave of the Future

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Sustainable business and sustainable development are recent terms and systems which  grew out of a green 21st century motto. So what does business and economic development look like when they are guided by the kinds of higher economic and ethical criteria like: environmental justice, duty to future generations, as well as aesthetic and ecological criteria. Therefore, we need to use people for profit but also for our planet; using each to help develop sustainability. This means providing socially environmentally sustainable/beneficial goods and services, while still being able to make money.

There are some great green initiatives out there, and some modern practices include using recycled materials, using less controversial (harmful substances), and using more alternative resources. One Californian company goes in and takes apart buildings and reuses the parts by selling them to poorer areas of the state. Others use recycled materials, building LEED certified buildings, encouraging conservation, reducing the amount of packaging a product uses.

Unfortuantely, today’s stigma of being environmentally friendly portrays an ignorance instilled in the modern, global citizen. Many of these people seem to equate being environmentally, and socially conscionable with being unprofitable. However, using renewable engergies and manufacturing processes, bio-mimcry for example, allows the localization of  markets to continuously improve products and services. These products and services have already been shown to be profitable. People do not realize how profitable these solutions are for us, and our world. Developing sustainably for the future should be logical conclusion of all sustainable business practices. This idea has been around since the start of the environmentalism movement, circa 1960s.

Sustainable development, including green engineering and architecture, uses local knowledge such as indigenous practices and services. Using these practices, architects and engineers alike have developed new techniques for the built environment; buildings blog 22.3are now taking cues from nature, and mimicing their structures and patterns to help strengthen the structures, lowering their impact on the environment. However, there are some downsides to be considered, one being an ignorant mindset embraced by millions subsiding in developed nations.

Developed nations have enveloped this idea of sustainable design and business, whereas developing, and under-developed nations, have not been quick to embrace this trend. Most of these “other” nations have dealt with famines, droughts, and other environmental problems instead. These problems have caused great stress amongst the high leaders of these unfortunate nations, great stifes, like the ones mentioned earlier, were once viewed as environmental but now are recognized to be exacerbated by socio-political strife and climate change. Climate change and resource allocation has directly affected these strifes, impeding further development; this creates a self perpetuating cycle.

This all leads one to question, what are the ethical considerations we should be providing the world? If we live comfortably does that mean we should care about how others are living, or help them develop sustainably? Do we really need to have any moral obligations towards nations which we have directly harmed through climate change? The world’s sustainable development relies on all of us to help each other out, and by helping the world’s companies become greener and developing new technologies together we can create a global economy without further destroying, and perhaps fixing most environmental issues. We need moral leadership. We need to be united, as one.

Categories: climate change, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, New York City, Organic Farming, policy issues, Poorer nations, Priorities, Retail, Sustainability, Urban agriculture | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How many Humans Does it Take to Exploit the Earth?

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The Earth is filling up with people, their things, and their consumption related byproducts. Around 10,000 years the human population was made up of about five million individuals. It would not be until 1850 for the world’s population to reach over one billion individuals. Adjusting to this population explosion, mother Earth’s resources have been utilized to the extreme, taking a hit in its overall reserves. This begs the question: how much resources does the Earth have in store for us? Will its reserves be able to sustain an overall population north of seven billion individuals?

In 1798, Thomas Malthus published an essay on the Principles of Population. Malthus predicted that human population would start to grow exponentially and the production of food would not be able to keep up with demand. His prediction came true. Natural resources, such as: oil, timber, metals, minerals, and water, have been depleted. Worse, they are continuing to disappear, a time blog 17.3when our population really needs it — I mean it does not help that our population keeps growing, especially in developing nations. Perhaps the worst part was the number of people in poverty has reached over a billion individuals. These individuals are starving, or becoming extremely malnourished, just because not enough food is being produced where it is needed most. What can we do?

Differing philosophers have suggested alternative theories to combat this situation, one being Garrett Hardin. He suggests this concept of the “lifeboat.” It is a theory that states each nation has a carrying capacity based on its endowed resource and ingenuity. When a nation uses up all its resources it is not up to the other nations to help them out. Whereas utilitarian theorists often are criticized because they would help only those in need, but not necessarily closest to them first. Instead, they would help the people who are the most beneficial to the population as a whole. Our world has a carrying capacity, our resources are running out… maybe it is time we limit resource use and limit our population.

Population is an uncontrollable force, ever since technology has advanced population have been growing at an unfathomable rate. Humans need food, that is a thing, but the amount of food necessary to feed the entire planet is incredible. Just thinking about how much chemicals are needed or how much carbon dioxide is produced just sustain this world population, it is crazy. However, is it fair for us to misuse this planet, to over populate it while other species continue to dwindle in numbers?

Our world was designed from the beginning to withstand a certain number of each creature, but when that number exceeds its limit things will go haywire. Resources will disappear, and land will disappear for all, including species which have maintained their populations and their use of resources. Then, if I am to be bold, humans do not deserve ownership of the Earth and her resources. Maybe, just maybe, animals deserve a larger chunk of the world’s global resource change.

We need population control, take, for instance a law put into place similar to China’s one child policy, or simple family planning. I do not know if most will take this sitting down, but they will have to… I mean who is gonna sit there and let the government tell him or her how many children they can have. It will not be easy, at all. However, if we do not do anything about this exponential growth we will meet our demise. Yes, we do not know the official carrying capacity of the planet, let alone the United States, but what I do know is the amount of people living on this planet is not natural.

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Categories: climate change, Corporate, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Policy, human beings and the environment, New York City, policy issues, Poorer nations | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

New York, New York City & Fordham

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New York city is an important city for the United States. It houses millions of people and generates billions in profit/tax revenue each and every year. Walking through New York city is a unique prospect, but its degrading to the environment. Looking back on Manhattan’s history and ecology is the Manhatta Project.

Projecting New York City’s early look shows a long wooded island, with wetlands and streams coming down from the shower. Beavers, river otters and other animals existed amongst these rivers and streams, and Manhattan then would be considered what Yellowstone is today. Speaking ecologically, Manhattan’s diversity was broad, befitting of most national parks. All of this started by looking back at past maps of the island, and the area; showing all the original landscape of Manhattan. Helping scientists learn about the geo-features of the island, what the Native Americans were doing, what species existed and what the soil was like. The landscape was recreated.

All of this fits in with New York’s Planyc. This project will lead the way forward to creating the first sustainable city in America. Planning to change its transportation systems, help maximize clean air and minimize carbon, and air pollution. Developing air initiatives, looking at alternative fuel vehicles and clean burning materials for energy and how to reduce the waste produced within the city.

This can stem back into the Bronx River restoration project, a project trying to fix the environmental degradation that has occurred along its banks for decades. Reconstructing from the bottom up will take decades but it reconstruction is working. People are restoring habitat, removing invasive species, fixing erosion all by looking at historical maps of the Bronx River. One can even look at the older maps of Fordham’s campus to see what has happened over the past decades degrading our schools landscape, soil, water and air.

Fordham is all about flashiness. Flashing its credentials is priority number one, of course. However, factoring Fordham’s recent sustainability report card Fordham fails to impress and flash its larger than life credentials. Yes, I love my school; but sometimes the ostentatiousness surrounding its every move gets quite annoying, actually really annoying.

Breaking away from this behavior would be beneficial, and it would actually show off Fordham’s sustainability plan. I mean other schools are doing the same so why not play up the plan? Receiving a B, NYU beat us with its sustainability plan, whereas we received a C+. Come on Fordham, we need to get everyone involved, students and all. Student body needs to become more consensus about this plan/environmental problem.

It is for all our futures, so lets move forward, help living sustainable gain traction amongst students, professors and parents. Lets beat other schools and become a green triumphant example of sustainability amongst top-tier schools

Categories: Environmental Policy, Fordham, New York City, Priorities, Sustainability | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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