13 agosto 2018

Ethics of the Earth



We were eating on a rocky ledge, at whose feet a turbulent stream bent to one side. We saw what we thought was a deer wading, submerged up to the chest in the white water foam. When he climbed the bank on our side and shook his tail we realized our mistake: he was a wolf. Another half-dozen, evidently already grown up, jumped from the thickets of the willows, gathering to welcome, wagging their tails and arguing playfully. In short, a real bunch of wolves stirred and tumbled in the open just below our boulder.
 In those days we had never heard that someone missed the opportunity to kill a wolf. In a moment we were unloading lead on the herd, with more excitement than accuracy .......
We reached the agonizing animal, which was a she-wolf, in time to see a fierce green fire extinguish in her eyes. I realized then, and I never forgot, that there was something new to me in those eyes, something that only she and the mountain knew. At that time he was young and his finger was on my trigger; I thought that less wolves meant more deer, and therefore no wolves were equivalent to hunter's paradise. But when I saw that green fire go out, I felt that neither the she-wolf nor the mountain shared that point of view ......
Perhaps this is what Thoreau's saying means: 'The salvation of the world lies in the wilderness'. Perhaps this is the meaning hidden in the wolf howl, which mountains have known for a long time, but which men rarely perceive "(A. Leopold, 1949-1997).

In contemporary society for a real preservation of natural spaces and to be able to fulfill a sustainable development of the human community it is necessary to put into play many practical acts, but that start from the acquisition of a new mentality that, even if still in shape embryonic, it meanders to some extent in the world. Hence the need to express at best and with the utmost clarity a new ethics of the earth in which, the summation of several aspects, must lead to the rooting of a knowledge that can reveal itself in the reality reality of things. In fact it is not enough to talk about the preservation of nature or of a new way of life that is disjointed only on what should be done, but it is fundamental to bring to light numerous questions that concern above all politics, society and the most profound philosophy. In other words, if a holistic vision of the whole is not rooted in the mind of mankind, every discourse that is vehemently stressed to affirm the right path, finds no concrete basis for its implementation. "What does philosophy have to do with ecological problems? Is it not better to speak chemistry, biology, geography, engineering or sociology and politology? The incombere of the ecological catastrophe provokes reactions of resignation or of cynical hedonism and finds its roots in the fragmentation of knowledge and its techniques which is also at the base of the current philosophical crisis. The task of philosophy then appears to ask how man has come to threaten the entire planet and what sense, in this perspective, the traditional idea of progress. But not only: philosophy must identify new values and categories to restore the relationship between man and nature in order to train human beings capable of facing the crisis. Ecology is, literally, the doctrine of the house. But beyond the material abode, the Earth, it is necessary to rebuild the spiritual abode (and with it a new idea of politics) that will guarantee the survival of the planetary house "(Hosle, 1992).
At this point it seems fundamental to remember the concepts, more faces mentioned in this work, that expressed Aldo Leopold (symbolically his awareness started from the day that he saw that "green fire" of the eyes of the wolf disappear). In fact in his "Ethics of the Earth" contained in his masterpiece "A Sand County Almanc" (1949, 1997), a book that represents a milestone for the conservationist mentality, Leopold goes beyond anthropocentrism and elaborates the "ethics of the earth" "; all ethics are based on a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts ... once you recognize this it is difficult to deny the rights to the various parts ... the man being a member of the biotic community of the earth can not deny its rights to this. A decision is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends to the opposite (Pagano, 2001). With this simple and acute reasoning Leopold is considered the most important source of modern biocentrism and holistic ethics. Pagano (2001) always writes: "... .. nature was not just an object that man could dispose of at will. Leopold understood that remaining anchored to the daily banality, the thought becomes unable to perceive the grandeur of nature ....... No, until then, had thought of an ethic that operated at the level of species, habitats and even ecosystem processes. In that brief reasoning Leopold argues that human ethics imposes limits on the individual man as part of a community of interdependent parts: human society. But, by broadening the reasoning, if the human species recognizes its role as an integral part of ecological communities it must also automatically recognize the rights of nature. The awareness of being 'traveling companions' of the other natural beings implies that nature has its own value independent of what the human being gives it. In this regard, Leopold writes: 'In short, an ethic of earth changes the role of Homo sapiens as the conqueror of the earth to a simple member and citizen of his community' ".
But as we mentioned earlier, the affirmation of a new ethic of the earth must confront itself, in order to be really metabolized, with numerous social, political and philosophical events. "The problem is no longer if environmental problems are better solved through ethical action or political action, but if these problems can be resolved through a complementary action at both levels.
For this dual approach to solving environmental problems to work, as Leopold himself saw clearly, the democratic state must educate citizens about the environmental values that are necessary for both ethical and political action ... ... The objective the teaching of values should not be indoctrination, but clarification ... .. "(Hargrove, 1990).
The concept of clarification is very important because it raises the question on a fundamental point: a biocentric and holistic land ethic must not be taught as something born from a philosophical and metaphysical attitude detached from reality, but simply as something that is already in being, since the formation of the planet earth, something that only in the course of millennia the path of man has lost it from its dimension and that now does not see it anymore or at most it perceives it very faintly. In other words, one must not say something invented by a new vision of life, but rather "clarify" that non-anthropocentric precepts are already in place in the reality of mother earth, both biotic and abiotic. Here then is the appeal for the new ethics of the earth (it must be said new because if it was once present, walking, as we said, we have completely lost), you reappropriate your being and return triumphant in the vision of the whole by the mankind.
The task of this clarification is not at all simple, even if we are talking about something that already exists, because contemporary man has thrown himself headlong towards precepts that see him more and more at the center of things with the claim that every element is his exclusive property and uses it to his free but senseless pleasure. "There may be countless scales of values, but from what has been mentioned it is clear that the first value should be to allow the life of the Biosphere, on which we depend: the survival of the Earth is essential.
The ethics of the Earth is not just a philosophical position, it is above all a necessity to keep alive and in health the organism to which we belong, together with other species, ecosystems, the atmosphere, the sea, the rivers, the mountains " . (Guido Dalla Casa).
A schematic summary of the basic principles of a real ethics of the earth are similar to those presented in the chapter on deep ecology, but for greater clarity and completeness it is good to re-examine them with further additions and clarifications (from Devall & Sessions, 1989, modified):

1. The well-being and prosperity of human and non-human life on Earth have value for themselves (in other words: they have an intrinsic or inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness that the non-human world can have for man.
2. The richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.
3. Men have no right to impoverish this richness and diversity unless they have to meet vital needs.
4. The prosperity of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial diminution of the human population: the prosperity of non-human life requires this diminution.
5. The current interference of man in the non-human world is excessive and the situation is getting progressively worse.
6. Consequently, collective choices must be changed. These choices influence fundamental ideological, technological and economic structures. The state of things that will result will be profoundly different from the current one.
7. The ideological change consists mainly in the appreciation of the quality of life as an intrinsic value rather than in adhering to an ever higher standard of living. The difference between what is qualitatively large and what is quantitatively will have to be clear.
8. Anthropocentric religious cultures (almost all) must radically change their vision and spread the ecocentric principle of the earth.
9. The forces that must promote a holistic view of the whole must operate with synergy and involve a multitude of sectors: sociology, politics, economics, philosophy, science, etc.
10. The concept of the value of life must not be referred to in the dissertations only in the human sphere, but must include every form of living being.
11. In the current diffusion of globalization it is necessary to universalize holistic and ecocentric concepts of value and not just aspects of economic and liberalistic utility. It is also necessary to spread at the world level precepts of sobriety, thrift and simplification of lifestyle.
12. The fundamental parameters of a state should not be measured only from the economic point of view (so-called unlimited growth, development, GDP, etc.), but above all from the environmental, social quality and the absolute preservation of natural spaces.
13. We must think that the necessary changes must start from the individual and not only from the whole society, otherwise with the excuse that in general nothing changes, even the individual does not work in any field. It is recollected that the multitude is made up of the sum of many individual units.
14. Always remember to protect and maximize biodiversity on earth.
15. Those who share the previous points are obliged, directly or indirectly, to attempt to implement the necessary changes.

The ethics of the earth must therefore be celebrated not according to relativistic priciples and pigeonholed in dogmatic archetypes punctuated by unilateral and short-sighted visions, but we need to put in place a wide range of models that lead with extreme clarity to that clarification that we could also translate with the term " awareness". It is fundamental to make the citizens of the world aware to bring them back, albeit by degrees, to those ethical and practical values that were once inherent in the vision of everyday life. Join forces, multiply efforts, but every action must firmly endure the affirmation of a holistic ethics of the earth. Perhaps the task and the intent may seem arduous and almost utopian, but at least one attempt must be made before the world degenerates into the catastrophe that is already in place and is one step away from being completed!
"When we talk about ecology and the protection of nature, dealing with 'visions of the world' seems more abstract, or less practical, than giving advice on waste disposal or conservation of forests, but it's only because we talk about 'visions of the world 'has effects to a much longer duration. However, these are aspects that touch behavior and attitudes much more in depth, compared to the most immediate practical suggestions of petty ecology "(Dalla Casa, 1996).
WA-SHA-QUON-ASIN once said: "This is not the voice of Gray Owl speaking, but the voice of a powerful and ever-increasing army: the defenders of wildlife, whose voices must be heard. Let your ears be open "(Dickson, 1999). And then, as already mentioned in this book, to conclude, one of his bellissma as eloquent statement: "You are tired of these years of civilization. I come, and what do I offer you? A single green leaf “.