Three Ways of Thinking
What is more important: the health of the world’s ecosystems or the needs and wants of the human races? Your answer may determine your environmental worldview.
People often disagree about how serious the environmental problems facing the world and what we should do to solve them. These disagreements often cause conflicts, which arise out of our different environmental worldviews. How can we categorize the major worldviews? Read on.
1. Planetary Management
The planetary management worldview believes that humans are set apart from nature and can manage nature while adequately meeting our increasing needs and wants. Believers of planetary management believe that with the help of technology and innovative ingenuity, we can manage our resources and not run out of those that are limited. Also, economic growth is unlimited in the world and should not be restricted by worry about natural resources. The success of the human race depends on how well humans are able to use the Earth’s natural resources for our advancement and benefit.
Those who have a stewardship worldview believe that we have an ethical responsibility to be caring managers, or stewards of the Earth and its finite resources. Stewards believe that with the right management strategies and mindfulness, we will not run out of resources. These strategies must encourage environmentally beneficial forms of economic growth and discourage growth that harms the environment. The success of the human race depends on how well we are able to manage the earth’s life support systems for our benefit and the rest of the world’s organisms and ecosystems.
3. Environmental Wisdom
Those that believe in an environmental wisdom worldview believe that we are all a part of and totally dependent on nature. Nature exists for the good of all species and we must include them as we create management plans. An environmental wisdom belief system believes that all resources are limited and should not be wasted or squandered. Environmentally friendly modes of economic growth should be employed and those economic practices that degrade the Earth should be discouraged. The success of the human race depends on learning how natural systems maintain and sustain themselves. Humans must integrate lessons of nature into the ways we think and live.