What is deserving of protection?
The implication of the course title (Environment and People) is that people (Homo sapiens) are important and require protection under the law. An implicit assumption might be that people are qualitatively different from other organisms on the planet, and thus more worthy of protection than the other organisms. Or it might be that, as people, we think of ourselves first? Or, it could be that we don’t understand the level of intelligence, behavior, personality, feeling of other animals? Or are we different.
There are other organisms that have many of the characteristics that we think set us apart from the rest of the animal and plant kingdoms. Your job Mr. Phelps (find out who this is), is to write a paper describing your thoughts on these issues.
Here are some questions that will help you in formulating your paper:
Do plants, animals, and ecosystems deserve protection at the level of people? If not, why not? Should they have property rights to their habitats and rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Why? or Why not?
Can trees be murdered? Should they have standing to sue in court? Or are they belongings that can be used as we wish?
Should there be a limit to what we should allow ourselves to do to the environment? Should we inconvenience ourselves for its protection?
These are intentionally loaded questions. They have to do with forming a personal moral and ethical code in relation to the other parts of the living environment.
You will use the resources listed below, and any other resources you can find, to answer these questions. You will write at least two pages (double spaced, inch margins, Times New Roman 12 point type) that includes your thoughts on the questions above supported by examples from the material below.
If you need to write more than two pages you do not need to ask me. Two is the bare minimum of what I think you will need to be able to cover the material. You probably should write more. I will accept up to 15 pages, but it better be well written with inciteful observations on many examples. You will need to write well with inciteful observations and some examples in any case.
You will submit your paper by attaching a pdf to this assignment in CANVAS.
I expect that you will include at least four sections: an introduction, an exposition of the ideas from several sources below or that you find in addition, a discussion of what they mean in light of the questions, and a personal conclusion at the end.
You might think of the personal conclusion as a statement of your personal code of morals and ethics as they relate to plants, animals, and the environment.
You should include a list of sources as the last page (that does not count towards the page limit). I do not care if you go over the page limit.if the extra pages are good discussion of the topic. The page limit is a minimum.
I do care if your writing is full of filler that includes unnecessary phrases, hyperbole, and repetition. Proofread. Use the grammar checker. Use the university resources for writing assistance. Use your roommate or parents as proofreaders. The best way to become a good writer is to practice.
Your paper will be examined based on writing quality (20 percent), structure, are the elements in the correct sections (20 percent), and your use of the source material to answer the questions above (60 percent).
If you never refer to the source material, do not use examples from the material, and make statements of your personal opinions with no support or critique of the source material, you will not do as well as those who do. If you write one paragraph that is two pages long with redundant clauses you will lose quality points, if you state your conclusions before you give evidence for them you will lose structure points.
Resources: you should look at all of these.
Discuss them with the people in your house.
Get their opinions to use in your paper.
Here is a law journal article that opened this question in 1972, also posted in files for the course. I have discussed some of it in class. :
https://iseethics.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/stone-christopher-d-should-trees-have-standing.pdf (Links to an external site.)
These are the TED program that I have mentioned several times in class. It presents that case that many animals have feelings, can grieve, remember their relatives, and respond to the behavior of other members of their group. You should use it.
https://edge2.pod.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/npr/ted/2019/08/20190815_ted_anthropomorphic-937893a6-4a21-400f-bdcf-3ef31ea7c159-7dddd5e5-12f3-4a5b-a60a-a4c5c953bd49.mp3/20190815_ted_anthropomorphic-937893a6-4a21-400f-bdcf-3ef31ea7c159-7dddd5e5-12f3-4a5b-a60a-a4c5c953bd49.mp3_7ca8766d2e4476402b083ddfeebe4aa9_49813993.mp3?orgId=1&d=3105&p=510298&story=751431341&t=podcast&e=751431341&dl=1&siteplayer=true&size=49574085&awCollectionId=510298&awEpisodeId=751431341&dl=1&hash_redirect=1&x-total-bytes=49813993&x-ais-classified=download&listeningSessionID=0CD_382_222__83a07a0e5b306f62dad75990d0c230e02b32973c (Links to an external site.)
This is the web page of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a statement of basic rights that the international community has agreed that every Homo sapiens (people) should have. These are the rights you are extending to other species if you choose to give them protection as humans.
https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/human-rights/ (Links to an external site.)
Here are some examples of special trees. The Huon pine is over ten thousand years old. The bristlecone pine are more than 3 thousand years old. The giant sequoia is at least 2 thousand years old. The turtle lived the last 40 years of its long life in captivity as the last member of its species. The orangutan video shows it protecting its habitat from intruders.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagarostrobos (Links to an external site.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristlecone_pine (Links to an external site.) Cutting one of these down ruined a persons career
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoiadendron_giganteum (Links to an external site.) Look at the pictures at the bottom of the article. These are truly exceptional
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonesome_George (Links to an external site.) Turtle died at age 102 last of his kind.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihPfB30YT_c (Links to an external site.)Orangutan protects its forest from loggers.
For when your head hurts.
Comic relief:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg (Links to an external site.) Learn this routine
Musical interlude:The HU – Yuve Yuve Yu (Official Music Video) (Links to an external site.)
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