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ES 001 Notes 2

by: Carina Bonasera

ES 001 Notes 2 ES 001

Carina Bonasera

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Notes on the readings for Mon. 2/1 - "Nature and Us," "The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship," "Pope Francis and the Environment"
Intro to Environmental Studies
David Casagrande
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Bonasera on Friday January 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ES 001 at Lehigh University taught by David Casagrande in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Intro to Environmental Studies in Environmental Studies at Lehigh University.

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Date Created: 01/29/16
ES 001 – Notes on Readings for Mon. 2/1 “Nature and Us: The Dualism that Produces Our Attitudes Towards the Environment”  Religion has a large impact on our attitudes toward the environment  Religions that emphasize the idea that the environment is separate from mankind => environmental degradation  Older religions tend to view humans and nature as being unified o These “older religions” tend to be philosophies on life rather than organized religions o Nature is seen as a “benefactor and sustenance,” therefore humans treat nature with respect  Judeo-Christian religions tend to further the separation between man and nature o The concept of a God figure in human form, that created nature and everything in it, separates God and by extension humans from nature  Dualism – separation into two groups: one “normal” and accepted group, and the rest being the “Other”; the Other is considered subordinate. o Radical exclusion – labeling the Other as very different, separate, and inferior o Homogenization/Stereotyping – the Other is viewed as a collective group made up of “all the same” individuals; overlooks diversity of any kind. o Denial/Backgrounding – the Other is considered inferior and therefore can be ignored; is not considered to have any impact whatsoever on the dominant group o Incorporation – the dominant group is “normal” while the Other is considered to be lacking; this allows for hierarchy and exclusion. The Other “needs improvement.” o Instrumentation – the Other is considered to be in need of protection because the Other is not capable of independence.  Anthropocentrism – human-centeredness; humans are the superior group, and the Other is often considered to be nature.  Reductionism – the act of breaking down a system into its components, and either dealing with the interactions later or ignoring them; allows us to understand the working parts of systems without being able to see how they work as a whole. This specialization led to two distinct realms of knowledge: o Science – knowledge o Philosophy – love of wisdom The Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship - The past millennium has yielded great improvements in health and life expectancy - The new millennium presents an opportunity to expand on the past millennium’s achievements - BUT are science and technology a threat rather than a benefit? - Three areas of common misunderstanding: 1. Humans are often viewed solely as consumers/polluters, rather than as producers and stewards. This view can hold back progress that would benefit the environment. 2. People believe that we need to leave the Earth completely untouched by humans, but the reality is that human influence, when applied well, can have a synergistic effect. 3. Some environmental concerns are false or over-dramatized (global warming, overpopulation, fast species loss), and public policies to combat these therefore do more harm than good. - Goals:  Care wisely for the environment  Approach situations with objectivity  Positive relationship between stewardship and private property  Transition economic freedom to ecological stewardship  Encourage progress that is beneficial to both humans and the environment “Pope Francis and the Environment” *This is an article from the Globalist that summarizes the points that Pope Francis made in his encyclical “Laudato Si, On Care of Our Common Home” - Pope Francis was trained as a chemist and is concerned with climate change - Believes that we must “recognize the interdependency of nature and human society” o When one is damaged, the other will be too - Exploitation comes from a divisive perception of the relationship between humans and nature; if we see the two as connected, we will naturally tend to take better care of nature - Business as usual will result in the Earth turning into “an immense pile of filth” - The powerless and the poor feel the worst of the damage from environmental degradation - Water quality, biodiversity, and resources are being compromised - Putting the fate of natural resources in the hands of the market does not help; the way to protect the environment is through far-sightedness and communication between countries - Pope Francis said that “greater investment needs to be made in research aimed at understanding…the functioning of ecosystems and adequately analyzing the different variables associated with modifications of the environment.” - Quality of life has declined o City problems o Very few green spaces o Too much reliance on technology - We need to take a social approach to dealing with the environment so that we can also help the poor, who are affected more strongly by environmental degradation - “Globalization of the technocratic paradigm” – scientific/technological progress vs. humanity’s progress; too much “newness” and not enough appreciation of what we have - Integral ecology – combines ecology, society, and the environment - We must think of future generations when making environmental/social decisions - All nations must work together and communicate in order to solve problems


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