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People or Penguins

People or Penguins

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Published by kblitz83
William F. Baxter in his article “People or Penguins” mentions that, according to some scientists, the use of DDT in food production is causing damage to the penguin population. Following Baxter’s criteria, environmental problems should be people-oriented. Hence, he has no interest in preserving penguins for their own sake. However, in my opinion, Baxter’s arguments are too radical. I consider his trade-off approach too human-centered, which could be considered as a win-lose situation, where humans always win and nature always loses.
William F. Baxter in his article “People or Penguins” mentions that, according to some scientists, the use of DDT in food production is causing damage to the penguin population. Following Baxter’s criteria, environmental problems should be people-oriented. Hence, he has no interest in preserving penguins for their own sake. However, in my opinion, Baxter’s arguments are too radical. I consider his trade-off approach too human-centered, which could be considered as a win-lose situation, where humans always win and nature always loses.

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Published by: kblitz83 on Dec 29, 2009
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11/19/2012

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People or Penguins
Victor WongWe, human beings, as any other living being, do need natural resources inorder to live. However, currently, we are overexploiting the resources we haveavailable in a very irresponsible way, which creates a huge damage to theecosystem that is hard to heal. The modern world is demanding more and moreresources to satisfy our needs. It is clear that, in order to satisfy the increasingdemand, more resources need to be harvested from the nature. If we look at theeconomical numbers for each industry today, we will see that, in many cases,production has been increasing exponentially in the last years. Nevertheless, thisfast-pace growth is more harmful to the environment we live in than many of uswould have expected; especially because the negative impact is not correctlymeasured or taken into account by the industry. Nature cannot recover itself fromthe damage as fast as increment of the production rate.William F. Baxter in his article
“People or Penguins” 
mentions that,according to some scientists, the use of DDT in food production is causingdamage to the penguin population. However, this argument does not follow hispeople-oriented-criteria, which are:
1.
Every person should be free to do whatever he wishes in contexts wherehis actions do not interfere with the interests of other human beings.
2.
Waste is a bad thing, so no resources should be wasted.
 
3.Every human being should be regarded as an end rather than as a meansto be used for the betterment of another.
4.
Both the incentive and the opportunity to improve his share of satisfactionsshould be preserved to every individual.Following Baxter’s criteria, environmental problems should be people-oriented. Hence, he has no interest in preserving penguins for their own sake.His way of thinking is, indeed, selfish. But he also offers several reasons thatsupport his position and why he rejects the proposition that we ought to respectthe “balance of nature” or to “preserve the environment” unless the reason for doing so is the benefit of man.Baxter continues that the first and most fundamental step toward solutionof our environmental problems is a clear recognition that our objective is not pureair or water but rather some optimal state of pollution. Additionally, the costs of controlling pollution are best expressed in terms of the other goods we will haveto give up to do the job. Once the trade-off relationship is clearly perceived, it ispossible to state in a very general way what the optimal level of pollution is.It is true that all decisions regarding the environment that we make shouldbe good for human beings and favor their wellbeing. It is true that there is alwaysa trade-off in all our decisions; because, in order to get something, something of equal value should be given in return. I also agree that no resources should bewasted. However, in my opinion, Baxter’s arguments are too radical. I consider his trade-off approach too human-centered, which could be considered as a win-
 
lose situation, where humans always win and nature always loses. Such a thingas “optimal pollution” is only accepting that the planet is to be polluted anyways.I believe that it is possible to develop sustainable growth models that favor both human beings and nature. Otherwise, scarce resources will disappear fromthe face of the earth in no time, as many flora and fauna specimens alreadydisappeared due to human negligence. Wild life extinction rate has skyrocketedto alarming levels in recent years, and if the trend continues, human beings arein danger of disappearing from Earth too!Nature destruction in the name of modernization, development, andprogress has created a hell on earth in many locations in the world. Places thatused to be full of life are today just abandoned places where you can smell deatheverywhere. The hand of the man is very powerful. He is the only animal in theworld capable of destroying his own home. That is why today we face hugeproblems related to air pollution, water pollution, greenhouse gases emissions,acid rain, etc. Just take a look at the history of the last 100 years and count howmany nuclear weapons have been developed and used.I do think that governments should enforce and pass regulations so thattheir natural resources are protected, and their use, well-administered. Failing todo so, leads to irreversible consequences to Mother Nature. On the short or long-run, not only nature but also human beings would be affected.While writing this essay, I cannot help but think about my own country:Peru. It has one of the most diverse flora and fauna in the whole world due to its

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