Approaches to natural resource management
Illustrate your answer by reference to the ethical viewpoints which you believe underlie the proposals of stakeholders in a natural resource issue/s of your choice.
The essay should describe a number of ethical viewpoints across the spectrum, from anthropocentric to ecocentric views. You should illustrate each viewpoint by giving explicit (and referenced) examples of resource managers, or stakeholders, or resource management practices which you believe are based on each viewpoint. You can use examples from just one issue such as biodiversity conservation, water management, or sustainable agriculture, or use examples from a range of issues.
Do some background reading first (start with the Chapter in the Unit Notes on ethics) and develop an understanding of the spectrum of ethical ‘positions’ (from anthropocentric to ecocentric including positions such as developmentalist, resource conservation, welfare ecology, deep ecology), whether the theoretical basis of each position is rights based, utilitarian, or religious/cultural and how each position affects what its proponents believe is appropriate resource management. Most importantly, try to understand your own ethical viewpoint, where do you sit on the anthropocentric ? ecocentric spectrum, how much of the environment do you believe has rights regardless of its value to humans?
The ethical positions of an organization can often be identified from a critical analysis of:
1. Policy documents
2. Legislation: in particular the ?objects? at the beginning of an Act give some insight to the underlying ethical positions of the government agency charged within implementing the Act.
3. Media: in particular quotations from representatives of organisations within newspaper articles and radio and television interviews.
4. Web pages: Many government and non-government organisations now maintain Web pages within which their opinions upon current NRM issues are exposed. Ethical viewpoints can often be gleaned from the policy outcomes they seek, and the belief systems that underpin these positions.
NOTE: the essay is about ethical theory and ethical positions. THE ESSAY IS ABOUT ETHICS and ethical positions, NOT JUST NATURAL RESOURCES. Devote more of your essay to discussion of ethics, than description of your natural resource management examples. We want you to provide an essay, a reasoned argument about how ethical ‘positions’ may affect views/approaches to natural resource management. It can (but doesn’t have to) reflect your environmental resource ethic. Fewer than 20 reference sources will be regarded as inadequate.
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