Ecofeminism and Wilderness

Gaard, Greta
Environmental Ethics Vol. 19/1 (1997), pages 5-24

I argue that ecofeminism must be concerned with the preservation and expansion of wilderness on the grounds that wilderness is an Other to the Self of Western culture and the master identity and that ecofeminism is concerned with the liberation of all subordinated Others. I suggest replacing the master identity with an ecofeminist ecological self, an identity defined through interdependence with Others, and I argue for the necessity of restoring and valuing human relationships with the Other of wilderness as integral to the construction and maintenance of an ecofeminist ecological self. I conclude that ecofeminists must be concerned with the redefinition, preservation, and expansion of wilderness.

Ecocentrism and Ecological Modeling

Steverson, Brian K.
Environmental Ethics Vol. 16/1 (1994), pages 71-88

Typical of ecocentric approaches such as the land ethic and the deep ecology movement is the use of concepts from ecological science to create an “ecoholistic” ontological foundation from which a strong environmental ethic is generated. Crucial to ecocentric theories is the assumption that ecological science has shown that humanity and nonhuman nature are essentially integrated into communal or communal-like arrangements. In this essay, I challenge the adequacy of that claim. I argue that for the most part the claim is false, and that, if it were true, it would overextend the sphere of morally considerable entities to include entities that are implausibly deserving of moral consideration. In either case, the foundation of ecocentrism is significantly weakened.

The Value of Wilderness

Godfrey-Smith, William
Environmental Ethics Vol. 1/4 (1979), pages 309-19

In this paper I explore various grounds on which wilderness can be regarded as something which we should value, and I draw attention to the problems of resolving conflict which are generated by these diverse grounds. I conclude that our attitudes toward nature are partially determined by a background of metaphysical assumptions which derive in particular from the philosophy of Descartes. These metaphysical preconceptions lead to the misconception that various alternative views about the natural environment are mystical or occult. Thus, an alternative non-Cartesian mode of conception involving holistic or systemic modes of thought is required in order to develop a satisfactory basis for our attitude toward the natural world.

The Call of the Wild: The Struggle against Domination and the Technological Fix of Nature

Katz, Eric
Environmental Ethics Vol. 14/3 (1992), pages 265-273

In this essay, I use encounters with the white-tailed deer of Fire Island to explore the “call of the wild”—the attraction to value that exists in a natural world outside of human control. Value exists in nature to the extent that it avoids modification by human technology. Technology “fixes” the natural world by improving it for human use or by restoring degraded ecosystems. Technology creates a “new world,” an artifactual reality that is far removed from the “wildness” of nature. The technological “fix” of nature thus raises a moral issue: how is an artifact morally different from a natural and wild entity? Artifacts are human instruments; their value lies in their ability to meet human needs. Natural entities have no intrinsic functions; they were not created for any instrumental purpose. To attempt to manage natural entities is to deny their inherent autonomy: a form of domination. The moral claim of the wilderness is thus a claim against human technological domination. We have an obligation to struggle against this domination by preserving as much of the natural world as possible.

Environmental Ethics in Antarctica

Rolston, Holmes III
Environmental Ethics Vol. 24/2 (2002), pages 115-134

The concerns of environmental ethics on other continents fail in Antarctica, which is without sustainable development, or ecosystems for a “land ethic,” or even familiar terrestrial fauna and flora. An Antarctic regime, developing politically, has been developing an ethics, underrunning the politics, remarkably exemplified in the Madrid Protocol, protecting “the intrinsic value of Antarctica.” Without inhabitants, claims of sovereignty are problematic. Antarctica is a continent for scientists and, more recently, tourists. Both focus on wild nature. Life is driven to extremes; these extremes can intensify an ethic. Antarctica as common heritage transforms into wilderness, sanctuary, wonderland. An appropriate ethics for the seventh continent differs radically from that for the other six.