In this paper, I have tried to address some aspects of environmental ethics from an Islamic perspective. We saw that great emphasis is put in the Qur’an on nature and natural phenomena as divine signs indicating the knowledge, the wisdom and the power of God. Then we focused on four major parts of the environment i.e. water, earth, plants and animals. In Islamic scriptures, water is introduced as the origin and the source of life and the earth is introduced as an origin for the creation of human beings and as our ‘mother’. In Islam, planting trees is considered as an act of worship, for which special prayer is recommended and people are urged to protect them. Animals have numerous rights, including the right to life, food and water, a home and medicine. An animal’s life can only be taken with the permission of God. Not only must an animal’s not be taken unjustifiably, but it must also be protected. Animals must also be loved and respected.
1 Sylvan and Bennett 1994: 90.
2 Cf. Pimentel et al. 2000.
3 Bender 2004 is clearly an important new analysis of ecocentrism.
4 Such as is being developed, in different ways, by people like Susan Bratton, Jane Lubchenko and Carl Sana (with thanks to Jack Stillwell for this point). On an ocean ethic, see the excellent Shaw and Francis 2008.
5 Sylvan and Bennett assign the Land Ethic to Intermediate Environmental Ethics, a decision with which I do not agree. (Leopold's moral extensionism is not, in itself, sufficient grounds.)
6 For an excellent discussion of 'ecofascism', see Orton 2000.
7 He was preceded by Bateson 1972, 1979.
8 See Curry 2000.
9 Those are the three Buddhist 'sins', which seem to me to be ecologically more relevant than the Christian ones.
10 See Smith 1988, 1997 and Latour 1993.
11 As for developing a genetically modified cow resistant to BSE - something which was reported in 2004 - that is simply and in every sense sad.
12 See Curry 2003; Viveiros de Castro 2002.
13 Lovelock 1979, 1988.
14 See the bibliography in Bunyard 1996.
15 E.g., Margulis, in Bunyard 1996: 54.
16 See Abram 1996. The objection also ignores the considerable subsequent work modelling Gaia (e.g., 'Daisyworld').
17 See Rawles 1996.
18 With thanks to Clay Ramsay for points I have incorporated here.
19 See Quammen 1998, 1999.
20 As Machiavelli argued.
21 Margulis, in Bunyard 1996: 64; Lovelock 1991.
22 See also David Rothenberg, in Naess 1989.
23 Taken from Naess 1989: 29. These differ slightly (but not substantively) from the way they are stated in Devall and Sessions 1985.
24 Naess 1989: 28; Naess and Sessions 1984.
25 For a very different (and preferable) definition of depth ecology, see Abram 2005.
26 See Chase 1991 for a good summary.
27 See List 1993. See also Chapter 7, note 6.
28 See Sylvan and Bennett 1994: 99-102.
29 See also Fox 1995: 223-4.
30 See Sylvan and Bennett 1994: 102-4, 107-10; Katz 2000; and for a good discussion, James 2004: 76-82.
31 See Curry 2010a for a critique.
32 In Mahayana Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is one who is ready to transcend the world of suffering (samsara) for nirvana but chooses instead to stay, or return, in order to help others.
33 See Bateson 1972, 1979; Abram 1996. (Not idealism in the sense of having ideals, but in the philosophical sense of according the 'spiritual' world primacy over the 'material'.)
34 See Barry 1999; Curry 2000.
35 See Plumwood 1995 and Curry 2010a.
36 See Abram 1996: 66-7.
37 Li 1998: 300.
38 Salleh adds that 'There is surely a large portion of illusion and self-indulgence in the North's comfortable middle-class pursuit of the cosmic "transpersonal Self"' (1993: 229).
39 Cf. Abram 1996.
40 To be fair, this point has a Madhyamaka provenance which may not carry the same weight in all other Buddhist schools.
41 Perhaps apocryphal, but to the point nonetheless. I have also seen this remark attributed to T. S. Eliot.
42 With respect to David Bennett, whose role as Sylvan's co-author I am sure was crucial, I shall treat DGT as primarily the work of Sylvan. It is certainly of a piece with his earlier writing.
43 Cf. McLaughlin 1993: 214.
44 Such as those of Guhu 1989.
45 I'm afraid I cannot now locate the reference for this remark.
46 Email (I would like to thank David Orton for his helpful comments on this section).
47 (extant at the time of writing).
48 Cf. Kohak 2000: 64.
49 For one well-informed answer in the negative, see Rees 2000.
50 McLaughlin 1993.
51 I am grateful to Penny Novack for the points in this paragraph.
52 Michael Novack, private communication.
53 David Orton, 'A Deep Ecology Talk' (4 July 2003).
54 See, e.g., McLaughlin 1993 and Eckersley 1992.
55 E.g. the depressingly orthodox and sectarian Foster 2009.
56 See Orton's indispensable analyses in his 'Ecological Marxism, Intrinsic Value, and Human-Centeredness' (Dec. 2005),
, 'Mixed Thoughts on Ecosocialism', MS (17.3.10), and 'A short talk on Left Biocentrism' (2008)
57 'The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which' (the concluding sentence of Orwell's Animal Farm).
58 Imhoff et al. 2004, Vitousek et al. 1986, Daily 1995, Haberk et al. 2008.
59 Galadriel's words to Frodo in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. (For a qualified ecocentric reading of the latter, see Curry 2004.)
60 As Rudolf Bahro always insisted, to the disquiet of the socialist left.
61 Earth Charter USA (2000). See the special issue of Worldviews 8: 1 (2004), especially Lynn 2004.
62 As with most other such statements discussed here, please see the original document, which is freely available - in this case, at - for the full text.
A forum for discussion of social and scientific responsibilities toward the environment in a rational and interdisciplinary manner, the certificate is awarded to undergraduate students who successfully complete at least 18 hours of undergraduate course work, including at least 7 credit hours in core courses (one 3 or 4–hour course in Ecology, one 3–hour course in Ethics, and one 1–hour course in Environmental Ethics), 7 or 8 hours in approved elective courses, and 3 hours for an approved research paper in Environmental Ethics.
An education in communication studies offers powerful skill sets that go far beyond polishing one's presentation style. These include negotiating conflict, crafting effective arguments and persuasive messages, working constructively within groups, navigating cultural divides, creating effective publicity campaigns, building satisfying personal relationships, and recognizing the channels of communication available to resolve problems. Majors acquire an understanding of both theory and application in these areas, and become familiar with the methods of inquiry and research used by scholars in communication and rhetorical studies. Majors are required to take one introductory class in public speaking and another in interpersonal communication, followed by Empirical Research Methods (COMM 3700) and Rhetorical Criticism (COMM 3300), completing their programs of study with courses in such topics as Interracial Communication, Health Communication, Persuasion, Environmental Communication, Communication and Religion, and Women and U.S. Public Discourse.
All established or traditional ethics are recognized as inadequate, ecologically speaking. (We have already qualified this point, however, on account of virtue ethics.) The human chauvinism of both the Sole Value Assumption and the Greater Value Assumption is rejected, so the intrinsic value of natural items can, in particular situations, override strictly human interests. The human/non-human distinction is not ethically significant; in fact, no single species, class or characteristic (whether sentience, life or whatever) serves either to justify special ethical treatment, or to deny it. This eco-impartiality, however, does not entail trying to adhere to equal value or treatment in specific situations. Nor does it try to rule out human use of the environment - 'only too much use and use of too much' (ibid. 147). It follows, for example, that sustainable indigenous inhabitation and use of remaining wildernesses is perfectly acceptable, and indeed potentially a key to their preservation; but indigenous industrial development and/or commercial exploitation, unrestrained by ecological considerations, is not.43 Similarly, broadly sustainable hunting for the pot is one thing; the 'bushmeat' trade in Africa that is now threatening whole species, for profit, is something very different. (The ecological effects of development/exploitation are not affected by who its agents are, and, to that important extent, charges of elitism or ethnocentrism are therefore beside the point.44 But an ecocentric perspective, such as that of DGT, is required in order to recognize this fact.) 'What is required now is that reasons be given for interfering with the environment, rather than reasons for not doing so' (Sylvan and Bennett 1994: 147) - a point that becomes more urgently true with every passing year. Or, as Midgley puts it, from an eco-centric point of view, 'the burden of proof is not on someone who wants to preserve mahogany trees from extinction. It is on the person who proposes to destroy them' (1997: 96). 'The implementation of environmental ethics is a top-down and bottom-up and inside out issue.... Achieving individual change . . . is a start, but it is not enough. Institutional change is also required. It is not enough that individuals may want to change practices in their own lives. The community in which they live must meet their needs by offering environmentally sound alternatives' (Sylvan and Bennett 1994: 180).
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There has also been intellectual criticism such as that of John Benson, who maintains that the identification with Self demanded by Deep Ecology has three possible senses, all of them unsatisfactory (2000: 126). One is empathy, but this is apparently limited in its objects to other intelligent and/or sentient animals, since it 'cannot carry over to plants and mountains'. Here Benson simply assumes, without feeling the need for argument, an individualistic sentience-chauvinism. Second, 'the [natural] object is thought of as partly constitutive of who one is', giving rise to the same kind of concern one feels for oneself. However, 'It is of the essence of such relationships that they are to particular places and beings', and such empathy will therefore not 'take us as far in concern for natural beings as Naess wishes to go'. Here Benson has touched on something important, for it may be that (as I shall argue later) that is as far as anyone needs to go, or can go, in any kind of ecological context; in which case, Deep Ecologists' calls for a cosmic or cosmological consciousness are mistaken. Third, he points to close human relationships, such that the other person's good is felt to be one's own good. Once again, however - and characteristically of writers even on environmental ethics - Benson dares not venture very far from the modernist anthropocentric redoubt: such empathy, it seems, cannot extend to 'mountains and rivers'. Why not? The work of Anthony Weston (1994) and David Abram (1996) is evidence to the contrary. (Or rather, one kind of evidence, namely convincing arguments. The other kind, equally necessary and usually more vivid, is sympathetic personal experience of the natural world beyond the confines of any book, no matter how good.)
Self-realization (with an upper-case S). The idea here is that the nature of entities is constituted by the relations between them, rather than entities being preformed and then establishing relations, or such relations being simply one-way: in Naess's words, a 'relational, total-eld image' rather than a 'man-in-the-environment' image. So far so good, but this total field is then conceptualized as one's real Self, as distinct from one's illusory ego-self, and a normative imperative derived: to realize one's Self, i.e., to perceive that that is one's true nature, and to identify with it. (This is a psycho-spiritual process that can be ongoing and take place by degrees.) The hope is that since one's own nature is identical with nature's nature, so to speak, then one would no more harm the natural world unnecessarily than one would harm oneself; and ethics, at least as any kind of rules or imperatives, becomes redundant.
Some of this ground we have discussed in other but related contexts: the distinction between Shallow Ecology or 'environmentalism' and Deep Ecology (which, indeed, derives from Naess); ecological holism; and the idea of intrinsic value. Subject to what has already been discussed, these important aspects of Deep Ecology need no further comment. One peculiarity, however, is that the Platform Principles make no explicit reference to the Earth as such, emphasizing instead life-forms. That means Deep Ecology could well be identified as a biocentric mid-green or intermediate ethic. However, I am going to argue that the import of Deep Ecology is ecocentric nonetheless, both in the intentions of its founders and (more importantly) how it has been commonly understood. Within the Deep Ecology movement, the terms 'biocentric' and 'ecocentric' tend to be used interchangeably, and it is significant that the main activist movement Deep Ecology inspired was called 'Earth First' The common adoption by Deep Ecologists of Leopold's injunction to 'think like a mountain' points to the same conclusion.