Refocusing Ecocentrism: De-emphasizing Stability and Defending Wildness

Hettinger, Ned; Throop, Bill
Environmental Ethics Vol. 21/1 (1999), pages 3-21

Traditional ecocentric ethics relies on an ecology that emphasizes the stability and integrity of ecosystems. Numerous ecologists now focus on natural systems that are less clearly characterized by these properties. We use the elimination and restoration of wolves in Yellowstone to illustrate troubles for traditional ecocentric ethics caused by ecological models emphasizing instability in natural systems. We identify several other problems for a stability-integrity based ecocentrism as well. We show how an ecocentric ethic can avoid these difficulties by emphasizing the value of the wildness of natural systems and we defend wildness value from a rising tide of criticisms.