ETHICS & EXTINCTION:
HALF-EARTH and OTHER DEBATES TO SAVE NON-HUMAN LIFE
1. Scientists estimate that there are between 8 to 20 million species on Earth. Humans are only ONE of them (and we currently use 80% of the planet’s resources). Why should a single species deserve HALF of the planet? Develop an argument FOR and AGAINST the position that humans should get half of the planet. Defend that position with philosophical arguments and hypothetical examples that might help defend your two positions.
a. Humans deserve MORE THAN HALF of the planet (status quo situation) because ….
a. Humans DON’T deserve anywhere near half the planet because ….
2. Imagine that all of our needs could be met, and Earth could get along just fine, without current levels of biodiversity (no need for pollinators to maintain food crops, or decomposers to process waste & filter our water, or trees to maintain our atmosphere, or plants to produce our medicines or other materials). In this scenario, almost all species could disappear and humans could inhabit Earth with just a limited number of species we choose to keep (pets, livestock/ food animals, ornamental plants for our parks and gardens or whatever). In short, we still get to consume whatever we like and just have a planet with a radically reduced number of non-human species we hand pick.
What are your thoughts on this scenario? Would it be desirable/preferable? What are the ETHICAL implications? Think through this as deeply and thoroughly as possible.
3. Make a case for why human-caused mass extinction is unethical using a:
· Deontological argument:
· Utilitarian argument:
· Natural Law argument: