Ecosystem management – Rising Kashmir

ecosystem-management-–-rising-kashmir

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  1. Viewpoint



ADEEL
NABI

Since
the 1990s, emphasis has been ecosystem management. This approach appeals alike
to scientists, who see the need for understanding ecosystems objectively and
for applied technologies, and also to humanists, who find that humans are
cultural animals who rebuild their environments and who desire benefits for
people. The combined ecosystem/management policy promises to operate at
system-wide levels, presumably to manage for indefinite sustainability, alike
of ecosystems and their outputs. Such management connects with the idea of
nature as ‘natural resources’ at the same time that it has a ‘respect nature’
dimension.

Pristine
natural systems no longer exist anywhere on Earth (the insecticide DDT has been
found in penguins in Antarctica). Perhaps 95 percent of a landscape will be
rebuilt for culture, considering lands plowed and grazed, forests managed,
rivers dammed, and so on. Still, only about 25 percent of the land, in most
nations, is under permanent agriculture; a large percentage is more or less
rural, still with some processes of wild nature taking place. The twenty-first
century promises an escalation of development that threatens both the
sustainability of landscapes supporting culture as well as their intrinsic
integrity.

Scientists
and ethicists alike have traditionally divided their disciplines into realms of
the “is” and the “ought.” No study of nature can tell humans what ought to
happen. This neat division has been challenged by ecologists and their
philosophical and theological interpreters. The analysis here first
distinguishes between interhuman ethics and environmental ethics. The claim
that nature ought sometimes to be taken as norm within environ- mental ethics
is not to be confused with a different claim, that nature teaches us how we
ought to behave toward each other. Nature as moral tutor has always been, and
remains, doubtful ethics. Compassion and charity, justice and honesty, are not
virtues found in wild nature. There is no way to derive any of the familiar
moral maxims from nature: “One ought to keep promises.” “Do to others as you
would have them do to you.” “Do not cause needless suffering.” But, continuing
the analysis, there may be goods (values) in nature with which humans ought to
conform.

Animals,
plants, and species, integrated into ecosystems, may embody values that, though
nonmoral, count morally when moral agents encounter these. To grant that
morality emerges in human beings out of nonmoral nature does not settle the
question whether we, who are moral, should sometimes orient our conduct in accord
with value there. Theologians will add that God bade Earth bring forth its
swarming kinds and found this genesis very good. Palestine was a promised land;
Earth is a promising planet, but only if its ecologies globally form a
biosphere.

Environmental
science can inform environmental ethics in subtle ways. Scientists describe the
order, dynamic stability, and diversity in these biotic communities. They
describe interdependence, or speak of health or integrity, perhaps of their
resilience or efficiency. Scientists describe the “adapted fit” that organisms
have in their niches. They describe an ecosystem as flourishing, as
self-organizing. Strictly interpreted, these are only descriptive terms; and
yet often they are already quasi-evaluative terms, perhaps not always so but
often enough that by the time the descriptions of ecosystems are in, some
values are already there. In this sense, ecology is rather like medical
science, with therapeutic purpose, seeking such flourishing health.

(Author
is PHD in Environmental Science)

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