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School of GeoSciences

Dissertation For the degree of

MSc in Environment, Culture and Society

Researching Environmental Value Pluralism in Theory and Practice Kendra A. White August 2011

I hereby declare that this dissertation has been composed by me and is based on my own work.

Date: ______________ Signature:_____________________________ Kendra A. White

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Abstract

Environmental ethics has been rising in popularity in literature steadily over recent years. With many challenges facing humans by way of endangered species, climate change, etc, environmental ethics and moral reasoning has become more important than ever. There are countless environmental philosophies to choose from and understand, and each one typically tries to claim itself as the best and only option. In order to have environmental ethics and philosophy have a better chance of being put into practice, I argue that one must draw strengths from numerous theories. This dissertation focuses on the key points of several environmental philosophies, including topics such as various theories of intrinsic value, intrinsic versus instrumental value, aesthetics and scientific knowledge. After a succinct and critical account of these theories, value pluralism and pragmatism are discussed and link together the many philosophies in environmental ethics in a way that can be used in practice. I argue that it should not matter if one values the environment strictly according to a single theory as long as an ethical decision is made in the end. In todays society, it is not practical to expect a single environmental theory to cover all of the issues humans face, and therefore, a pragmatic approach to value pluralism is crucial. In order to illustrate how value pluralism and pragmatism are imperative to putting theory into practice, a case study of residents on Fair Isle, Scotland is included.

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Acknowledgments

It is a rare gift to be able to study and work on a degree that fulfills ones emotional, mental and academic growth. This dissertation has allowed me to explore my own environmental values, travel to and explore a peaceful paradise known as Fair Isle, and not only educate others on environmental ethics, but learn from them as well. I would like to thank the following people for being my support, inspiration, and strength during the many long hours that went into writing this dissertation. Nancy and Robert White: Your continued support in all of my endeavors has never ceased to amaze me. Your sense of pride motivates me to do well in all that I set out to accomplish, and without you, I wouldnt be where I am today. Lindsay, Carla and Brittany White: To this day I am hard pressed to find four sisters that care for and support each other the way in which we do. The ocean separating us has nothing on the strength of our bond, and I feel the three of you wishing me well every day. Thank you for each of your unique ways of inspiring me. Diana Neil and Craigencalt Farm: Without your generosity two years ago, I never would have found the passion I have for environmental ethics, or realized my love for Scotland. Thank you for the many days and nights you have let me stay with you. Before and after this degree, Craigencalt was and always will be a second home to me. Finally, thank you to the many people who made this dissertation possible academically: Emily Brady, Nick Riddiford and all of the Fair Isle residents, the staff at Fair Isle Bird Observatory and The National Trust for Scotland.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments....iii Introduction........1 Chapter 1: Theories of Intrinsic Value...3 Chapter 2: Intrinsic Versus Instrumental Value....7 Chapter 3: Aesthetics and Scientific Knowledge.....13 Chapter 4: Pragmatism and Value Pluralism...17 Chapter 5: Fair Isle Case Study...24 5.1: The Human-Nature Relationship..27 5.2: Intrinsic and Instrumental Value...28 5.3: Aesthetics and Science..31 Conclusion...36

List of Figures Figure 5.1: The Gully, Fair Isle...................32 Figure 5.2 Sheep Rock, Fair Isle..........34

Appendices Appendix I: Margo Murrays Poetry...37 Appendix II: List of Participants......39 Appendix III: Sample Field Notes...40 Appendix IV: Discussion Group Transcription...42 Appendix V: Sample Interview Transcription.....52

Introduction

Debates on the proper way to value the environment have stretched across numerous fields in todays society. Scientists, conservationists, philosophers and the general public have all started to try and form views on how and why society should value nature. From arguing that all forms of life should be valued, even the non-sentient, to what is considered morally good in choosing what to conserve, the amount of literature based on these questions has been steadily increasing. While an increasing amount of literature on these subjects is indeed a positive step forward for environmental ethics, it also creates a problem when theories conflict with one another. Understandably, each environmental ethics theory that exists typically attempts to show why it should be implemented and how it sets itself above the rest. From anthropocentric to nonanthropocentric theories, to instrumental to intrinsic values, most publications on environmental ethics argue very heavily to one side. It is this type of one-sided philosophical debate that prevents environmental ethics from gaining the credibility it needs if it is to be useful in every day life by scientists, politicians, and even the general public. As I discuss in detail later, only if we can draw strengths from various theories will they be more likely to put theory into practice. It is necessary to work through various theories of values in environmental philosophy to highlight the key values of the environment, and by extension, crucial points from each theory. I am not writing this dissertation in order to merely criticize various philosophers; rather, my aim is to draw on the most important and useful aspects of their work. Through understanding key ideas from these theories, it will be possible to understand, as I shall argue, how and why value pluralism is imperative to putting theory into practice. I illustrate this approach through a small case study of residents on Fair Isle, Scotland. It is worth mentioning that this case study is not the primary focus of the dissertation, but helps to support the arguments of the dissertation in practice. It is my hope that the case study will highlight the types of environmental valuing that occur on the ground, whilst showing that it is nearly impossible for someone to strictly value the environment in one way 1

and along the lines of a single theory. Through interviews, field notes and a discussion group, my work on Fair Isle shows how people hold a plurality of environmental values, and the role of those values for living an environmental and ethically sound lifestyle. Through an analysis of various environmental philosophies, a thorough discussion of how and why value pluralism is effective, and finally showing theory put into practice on Fair Isle, this dissertation will forward the credibility of environmental ethics and render it more applicable to every day life, science and politics.

Chapter 1: Theories of Intrinsic Value

Intrinsic value dominates the majority of debates in environmental ethics. There are many different perspectives on what it means for something to have intrinsic value, and best starting point for exploring this concept is John ONeills influential essay, The Varieties of Intrinsic Value (ONeill 2003). While ONeill discusses his own approach to intrinsic value, here, my interest is only in the distinctions he makes in the first section of his paper, in order to give a backdrop for my discussion. Quite correctly, ONeill differentiates between three basic and commonly used varieties of intrinsic value. The first type is described as a synonym for non-instrumental value , where An object has instrumental value insofar as it is a means to some other end. An object has intrinsic value if it is an end in itself (ONeill 2003: 131). For example, an ape contains intrinsic value because it is an end in itself and strives to live and flourish, where as a rock contains instrumental value because it is a means to some other end, such as making a stone wall. This type of intrinsic value is quite vague and simplistic, making it arguably the most basic of the three varieties ONeill defines, however this difference between intrinsic and instrumental value opens up debate about what has an end in itself. Does a flower contain intrinsic value because it strives to bloom, or is it of instrumental value because it provides enjoyment when people gaze upon it? The second variety of intrinsic value that ONeill defines seeks to help answer questions such as the ones Ive just asked. The second variety of intrinsic value, as defined by ONeill, is intrinsic value used to refer to the value an object has solely in virtue of its intrinsic properties (ONeill 2003: 131). The intrinsic properties mentioned are further defined as an objects non-relational properties. This variety of intrinsic value is again, very basic, but due to the addition of nonrelational properties, it clarifies that the value non-human beings have depends solely on their non-relational properties (ONeill 2003: 132). ONeill further clarifies non-relational properties as either the properties an object has regardless of the existence or non-existence of other objects (weak interpretation), or The non-relational properties of an object are those 3

that can be characterized without reference to other objects (strong interpretation) (ONeill 2003: 134). This type of intrinsic value is extremely difficult to clearly define in an object, and therefore is not as commonly used as the first and third varieties. The third variety is intrinsic value that is used as a synonym for objective value i.e., value that an object possesses independently of the valuation of valuers (ONeill 2003: 132). For example, a beetle that has not yet been discovered by humans still possesses intrinsic value because it is an end in itself and does not need humans as valuers. All three intrinsic value varieties can be found in several environmental philosophy theories. ONeill states that the first and third varieties are often used interchangeably, and he is absolutely correct in this argument. One of the problems for intrinsic value is its vagueness when used in certain theories, so it is imperative to understand these three basic definitions of it before trying to understand the theories which make the concept central. Paul Taylor relies very heavily on intrinsic value for his life-centered theory in The Ethics of Respect for Nature. Focusing on the good of a being and the inherent worth of a being, Taylors life-centered theory is arguably one of the best examples of strictly intrinsic value in an environmental ethic. To expand on the good of a being, Taylor writes, Every organism, species population, and community of life has a good of its own which moral agents can intentionally further or damage by their actions. To say that an entity has a good of its own is simply to say that, without reference to any other entity, it can be benefited or harmed. (Taylor 1986: 199) This passage explains that an entity that has a good of its own, or intrinsic value, is worth including in a life-centered theory. An entity does not need to have sentience in order to have a good of its own, and can be harmed or helped by our actions. For example, a flower experiences advantages when given sun and water to grow, while it is disadvantaged if its petals are picked off or if it is crushed. Notice also that Taylor refers to an entity having a good

of its own without reference to any other entity, which is directly linked with ONeills second type of intrinsic value. Taylors explanation of inherent worth states that there are two main principles: moral consideration and intrinsic value. An entity deserves moral consideration simply because it is a part of the community of life (Taylor 1986: 203). In other words, an entity deserves to be treated ethically because it is part of the living world. Taylor further explains inherent worth when he gives his personal definition of intrinsic value. He writes, Insofar as we regard any organism, species population, or life community as an entity having inherent worth, we believe that it must never be treated as if it were a mere object or thing whose entire value lies in being instrumental to the good of some other entity. The well-being of each is judged to have value in and of itself. (Taylor 1986: 201) Taylor argues that an entity that is a member of the Earths community of life deserves to be treated as an end in itself, or in other words, intrinsically, and never strictly instrumentally. These criteria for a life-centered theory are easily linked to a second key aspect of his theory; a biocentric outlook on nature. A biocentric outlook on nature is another prime example of intrinsic theories, and Taylor does an excellent job giving a succinct definition. In order to have a biocentric outlook on life, Taylor argues four main points, which I paraphrase: (1) Earths community of life extends to all entities, including non-humans. (2) All ecosystems are connected and reliant on one another. (3) Individual organisms are conceived as a teleological center of life with its own good. (4) The claim that humans are superior to all other entities must be rejected and is an anthropocentric and bias claim.1 This biocentric outlook is heavily associated with intrinsic valuing, and strongly opposes the idea of human superiority as an anthropocentric, and ultimately instrumental way of viewing nonhuman animals and entities. The intrinsic valuing of nonhuman entities is key for both the life-centered theory and the biocentric outlook, and both paint anthropocentrism, as well as instrumental valuing, in a negative light,.
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For the full explanation of all four points, see Taylor 1986: 206 5

It is Eugene Hargroves Weak Anthropocentric Intrinsic Value that shows instrumental valuing as having more to it than the common misconception of being strictly anthropocentric, as Taylor and ONeill describe it. Hargrove introduces the notion of weak anthropocentric intrinsic value, the view, as I define it, that anthropocentric does not simply mean instrumental (Hargrove 2003: 180) and that there is indeed a version of intrinsic valuing which can still be weakly anthropocentric. As Taylor argues for a strictly nonanthropocentric intrinsic value, Hargrove justly points out, It is almost as if there is a competition between various conceptions of intrinsic value such that the recognition of one kind of intrinsic value, anthropocentric intrinsic value, somehow damages the other, nonanthropocentric intrinsic value (Hargrove 2003: 178). It is difficult to follow an ethic that is so one sided and biased, however theories like Taylors are necessary to add to the greater picture, and therefore many theories of intrinsic value should be explored and understood. Intrinsic value cannot be separated so distinctly from instrumental value, as the next chapter will explain. Hargrove puts a reasonable spin on intrinsic value when he writes, anthropocentric intrinsic value judgements, rather than being in competition with nonanthropocentric intrinsic values, are absolutely essential if humans are to muster any environmental concern about nonhuman living centers of purpose (as well as many other natural entities) objectively existing in the world. (Hargrove 2003: 178) It is the competitive feeling that many theories place on intrinsic and instrumental values that deters from their argument. As Hargrove explains, it is necessary to understand that anthropocentrism, nonanthropocentrism, intrinsic and instrumental values are all intertwined and cannot be put above one another in such clear cut ways. While there are many different arguments of what intrinsic value means, understanding numerous varieties of its definition allows for a deeper understanding in how the instrumental and intrinsic can be much more similar than many theorists give them credit for.

Chapter 2: Intrinsic versus Instrumental Value

One of the most successful theorists to link intrinsic and instrumental values is Holmes Rolston III in Environmental Ethics: Duties to and Values in the Natural World. As I have previously stated, while many ethicists argue one type of value is more essential than another, Rolstons work discusses the ways in which both sets of values should and can by used by humans in relation to valuing the environment. Rolston is able to break down different value sets, which provides useful, support for working toward value pluralism. The first value system Rolston defines is known as Life-Support Value, which describes valuing nature because of the resources and ecosystems that make all life possible. This type of value is seemingly instrumental as it places emphasis on the uses of the environment, however Rolston argues, that Earth is valuable would mean that Earth is able to produce value and has long been doing so as an evolutionary ecosystem (Rolston 1988: 4), thus making the ecosystems intrinsically valuable without humans or non-humans using it. The second type of value is referred to as Economic Value, which would again seemingly lean towards instrumental value. Rolston writes about resources, The sense of the prefix re- in resource is that nature can be refitted, turned to use by human labor, and only the latter can give it value. Valuing is a kind of labouring (Rolston 1988: 5). This quote shows how blurred the line truly is between intrinsic and instrumental valuing of the environment, and it is not so easy to say that one is better than another. Rolston delves further into economic value when he argues, Any living thing makes its environment into a resource. A squirrel hides a cache of acorns; a bird builds a nest. But these activities still involve ecologies, hardly yet economies (Rolston 1988: 5). Humans and nonhuman entities are constantly refitting the environment for their needs, however it does not mean that the object in use does not still contain intrinsic value. Acorns still have intrinsic value in that they can flourish and grow, even though a squirrel relies on acorns instrumentally as a food source. The third type of value is Recreational Value, which speaks to the pleasure of the outdoors. While many will automatically consider recreational 7

value instrumental valuing of the environment for the use of things such as white water rafting or camping, Rolston cleverly explains that this is not the case, and it is indeed intrinsic valuing as well. He states, People like to recreate in the great outdoors because they are surrounded by something greater than anything they find indoorsWhen persons enjoy watching wildlife and landscapes, though this may take considerable skill, the focus is on nature as a wonderland full of eventful drama and a bizarre reparatory, a rich evolutionary ecosystem where truth is stranger than fiction. Persons come to own all these recreational values, but sometimes what they seem to be valuing is creation more than recreation. (Rolston 1988: 7). It is true that by using a river for white water rafting, humans are using it instrumentally for their athletic activities, but as this passage so eloquently explains, in many cases it is just as much, if not more, about valuing creation rather than recreation. It is imperative to understand that even something such as recreational value, which is so easily categorized as instrumental valuing, can be cross categorized as intrinsic valuing as well. Scientific Value is another prime example of the link between intrinsic and instrumental value. Like music and the fine arts, natural science is an intrinsically worthwhile activity, but scientists find this difficult to say and, sometimes with much ingenuity, sell their study short by retreating to some utilitarian subterfuge (Rolston 9). While science is primarily done for the benefit of humans and our understanding of the environment, it is foolish for any theory to look down on scientific work as strictly instrumental when without it we would not know that certain entities have teleological rights, and therefore be apt to value them intrinsically. Finally, Rolston touches on Historical Value which again, would seem largely instrumental. Many theorists would argue that historical value does not have any correlation with intrinsic value as it is strictly for human purposes and instrumental to our culture, not life support. This argument is unacceptable, as it is easily disproved in the following passage: Using nature as a museum of natural history, a teaching place, doubtless makes nature of instrumental value, but here the living museum and the historical reality are,

although in small part, one and the same. When we treasure the living museum instrumentally, we may also come to recognize intrinsic value in the natural processes that still survive in remnant wild and rural areas. (Rolston 1988: 14) True, history is a part of human culture, but as Hargrove explained previously, a weak anthropocentric intrinsic valuing in nature is still indeed intrinsic. By valuing the environment instrumentally through natural history, we are able to value it intrinsically as well. The idea of using and valuing the environment instrumentally in order to value it intrinsically is one that Ted Bentons Environmental Values and Human Purposes argues with great fervour. To preface this argument, Benton comments on the undervaluing of the instrumental as being incorrect. Citing Alan Hollands work on intrinsic and instrumental values, I agree with Benton in his idea that the majority of the human-nature interaction is needmeeting, and to denigrate this in the name of intrinsic value in non-human nature is to risk being able to reunite legitimate human claims to secure livelihoods with a proper regard for nature (Benton 2008: 211). As has been proven by Rolston, the intrinsic and instrumental values cannot be separated so easily, nor should they be. To undervalue the instrumental is to be nave in the understanding of the natural occurrences in the environment not just between humans and non-humans, but also between all life forms. Benton furthers his argument for the consideration of instrumental value by using Hollands work as an example of using the environment in order to intrinsically value it. He quotes, the value and dignity of work; the challenge and satisfaction of the exercise of craft and the application of skill; and, in the case of gardening and farming especially, the rewarding and productive engagement with other life forms and the opportunities to exercise virtues of nurture and care. (Holland qtd. by Benton 2008: 211) The working of the land for farming or gardening not only sustains the needs of humans instrumentally, but it can allow for the intrinsic valuing of the environment through being close to it. Seeing a flower or landscape flourish can potentially lead the farmer or gardener to act ethically toward it for a combination of intrinsic and instrumental worth. Again, this shows how the 9

two sets of values can work together to achieve a morally good environmental ethic instead of being in competition with one another. Plotting instrumental and intrinsic values against one another instead of linking them for a successful ethic will not help environmental philosophy in the long run. Benton articulates this idea when he states, To value nature, and opportunities to engage with it, for its aesthetic, spiritual or symbolic contribution to a fulfilled human life is therefore implicitly to acknowledge the importance of a nonanthropocentric orientation to the world. There is no contradiction, therefore, in valuing something for what it is and valuing it as something whose existence enhances a human life. (Benton 2008: 219) While many could say Benton (and myself for agreeing with him) is anthropocentric in his argument, it is this passage that shows that being mildly anthropocentric in valuing the environment and nature for its uses to humans can ultimately lead to valuing it intrinsically. Finally, Riyan J.G. Van Den Born further demonstrates the ability to contain both intrinsic and instrumental value, separately and/or together, in her four images of the human-nature relationship. Van Den Born explains, The Master over nature stands above nature. In his interactions with nature he is not restricted by moral constraints or knowledge about natures fragility. Economic growth and technology are expected to provide answers to his problems. (Van Den Born 2008: 88) This relationship with nature is largely anthropocentric and instrumental and the Master over nature would not particularly consider other entities to have intrinsic value. The Master over nature is a Kantian take on the human-nature relationship and is not in line with any of the environmental philosophies that have been previously mentioned, however it is still a common view for the general public. The second relationship Van Den Born addresses is much more in line with the likes of Rolstons environmental ethic. Van Den Born defines, The Steward of nature also stands above nature, but manages nature. Nature is not owned by the Steward, but entrusted to him. The steward owes responsibility to God or future generations (Van Den Born 10

2008: 88). This human-nature relationship introduces the idea of sacredness in the environment, which can be linked to intrinsic valuing, as well as instrumental valuing as a duty to future generations. The Steward of nature is arguably the most common human-nature relationship in todays society as climate change threatens to take away vital resources for generations to come. The third relationship Van Den Born presents is the best example of linking intrinsic and instrumental values into one ethic. In a seemingly biocentric manner, Van Den Born explains, The Partner with nature stands side by side with nature. Humans and nature are considered to be of equal value. Humans should work together with nature with the aim that this interaction will benefit both (Van Den Born 2008: 88). This relationship with nature easily fits in with Rolstons environmental ethic, but can also be applied to Taylors criteria for a biocentric outlook. The Partner with nature combines the ability to value non-human entities for their intrinsic value, but also allows enough freedom to value them instrumentally as they can benefit humans as well as themselves. Lastly, the fourth human-nature relationship explained is largely in line with Taylors life-centered outlook. Van Den Born describes, The Participant in nature is part of nature, not just biologically, but also on the spiritual level. Although humans are a (small) part of nature, they are active participants. For the Participant, the bond between self and nature is very important; it coconstitutes the self. (Van Den Born 2008: 88) This is an ecocentric relationship that does not leave any real room for instrumental valuing, but values nature for natures sake. The Participant in nature is comparable to the likes of Arne Naess deep ecological philosophy, and too extreme to allow for both instrumental and intrinsic valuing in one ethic. All four human-nature relationships described by Van Den Born are succinct ways to understand ones ability to value intrinsically and/or instrumentally through relationships. It is unfortunate, however, that Van Den Born does not touch more upon how and where science and aesthetics

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would fit into any of these four relationships, as they too can help define the valuing of nature intrinsically and instrumentally. Thus far, varieties of intrinsic value have been explained, as well as how and why they should not be plotted against one another, or against instrumental value, as it is possible to intertwine them. Valuing an entity with a biocentric or a life-centered theory does not change that the same entity can also be valued instrumentally, and as I have explained, in some cases, instrumental value can lead to intrinsic value. The previous two chapters have laid the groundwork for understanding basic value pluralism, however pluralism will be stretched even further as the next chapter begins to explore scientific and aesthetic valuing of the same entities.

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Chapter 3: Aesthetics and Scientific Knowledge

Aesthetic valuing of nature is arguably one of the most immediate ways of respecting and valuing the environment. Beautiful landscapes designated as scenic areas, national parks that attract so many tourists each year, or where one decides to live, are all largely based on the aesthetic beauty of the environment. In Emily Bradys essay Aesthetics, Ethics and Environmental Conservation, the argument that aesthetics goes beyond beauty or prettiness and connects to ethics is one that deserves to be mentioned. However, it is Bradys argument that aesthetics go hand in hand with ethics that is what makes her essay relevant to this dissertation. The quarrel between scientists devaluing intrinsic value and philosophers devaluing instrumental value is one that seemingly has no end. Brady acknowledges this and defends the inclusion of aesthetics when she writes, On the one hand, aesthetics is absolutely central to valuing environments. It might even be said that it forms the basis of all other environmental values, such as valuing biodiversity or respecting the life of a species. On the other hand, aesthetic value is not taken very seriously in environmental conservation generally speaking. (Brady 2003: 225) Here, Brady has already highlighted how aesthetics can link science and their love of instrumental value with many environmental ethicists love for the intrinsic. Aesthetics has every right to be considered for ecological or scientific value, as for example, an aesthetically pleasing panda bear is much more likely to be conserved than a slimy and alien looking insect. Perhaps, an even better example of the link between aesthetics, science, and conservation is where humans would choose to conserve: a rainforest or a marshland? Quite obviously, the rainforest is aesthetically pleasing with its rich biodiversity of colourful flora and fauna, where a marshland is largely looked at as aesthetically unpleasing due to its lack of colour.

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For those such as Rolston who have a Kantian take on environmental ethics, Brady points out, For Kant, beauty becomes a symbol of morality, that is, the activity of aesthetic experience of beauty gives us the opportunity to experience the kind of freedom we discover in the autonomous act of moral choice (Brady 2003: 256). In other words, positive aesthetic value can lead to morally good decisions. I agree with Brady in linking aesthetics to moral choices, however it is important to state that it is not permissible to only value the aesthetics of an environment because it brings personal joy. In Yuriko Saitos essay, Appreciating Nature on Its Own Terms, the idea that nature should not be aesthetically appreciated for just personal gains, or even strictly pictorially is discussed. Saito explains, Listening to nature as nature, I believe, must involve recognizing its own reality apart from us. It includes acknowledging that a natural object has its own unique history and function independent of thesignificance given by mankind (Saito 1998: 141). Just as art must be appreciated in and of itself, so should nature. It is the intrinsic worth of nature that allows for the aesthetic appreciation, but it should not only be in sight that it is appreciated. When one perceives the environment or nature, it is not strictly through sight. Saito justly points out, this exclusive attention to its pictorial surface falsifies natures aesthetic value. First, the pictorial appreciation neglects the diverse nonvisual means by which nature speaks to us; through the fragrance of the lily of the valley, the gentle song of a lark in early spring, and the refreshing coldness of a stream. The predominantly visual experience of nature thus can be characterized as our selective hearing in comparison with the richness of natures gift to us. (Saito 1998: 137) It takes numerous senses to fully experience the environment. Sight, smell, hearing and touch all play a role in the aesthetic appreciation one has when out in nature. A pond next to a loud and busy highway is much less aesthetically pleasing than one that is deep within a forest in a quiet and secluded clearing. Hearing nature brings about just as much appreciation

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as seeing it, as many ornithologists could argue when they hear many different birds in one place without actually seeing any of them. It is through scientific and ecological knowledge that aesthetic appreciation can be found, as well. While it is not necessary to have either type of knowledge, it must be noted that something such as ecological knowledge can add a different type of aesthetic appreciation than someone with none at all. It could also be argued, however, that too much scientific or ecological knowledge can detract from aesthetic valuing of the environment. Saito states, On the one hand, we have to concede that indeed some scientific information does lead us away from the actual experience from nature. For example, the molecular structure of a rock or the medicinal value of a spring seems too removed from our immediate perceptual arena to be realizable on the sensuous surface. (Saito 1998: 144) An ecologist walking along a path may miss the grand landscape and beauty of openness as he or she is focused on some small part of it, such as an insect he or she is studying. If too reliant on scientific or ecological knowledge, the greater picture can potentially be lost. Furthermore, too much attention to scientific or ecological knowledge can deter from the intrinsic value of the entity or landscape, as the instrumental value to humans becomes too heavily considered in comparison. While that may be the case at times, it could also be argued that the same ecologist is aesthetically appreciating something that could have been completely overlooked by the tourist, who is taking photographs of only the vast landscape. For example, the geological origin of a mountain, the anatomical structure of an animal, or the camouflage phenomenon of and insect, is embodied or manifested in the observable features of the object and are valued for their own means through scientific or ecological knowledge (Saito 1998: 45). This type of valuing showcases the ability for ecological or scientific knowledge to aid in appreciating nature for what it is; whether it is an entitys remarkable ability to camouflage, or how a sea creature

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breathes under water, having ecological or scientific knowledge breeds appreciation and valuing. It is this link between science and aesthetics that Aldo Leopold is so well known for advocating. In A Sand County Almanac Leopolds writings echo his great appreciation for ecological knowledge for the proper valuing of nature and aesthetics. Leopold argues that in order for one to understand the song of the river, and speech of the hills (Leopold 2001: 158), one must have an understanding of evolution and ecology, thus linking science and aesthetics. The aesthetic appreciation of nature should not be just for what creates a picturesque photograph, and Leopold admits, Education, I fear, is learning to see one thing by going blind to another (Leopold 2001: 158). For example, a marshland is being ignored as an aesthetically pleasing environment because a field of wild flowers is nearby and overshadowing it. It is this value of the environments that sustain many different ecosystems that Leopold hopes education will benefit; environments such as marshes, or moorland. The link between ecological knowledge, aesthetics and ethics is demonstrated by Leopolds writings, and what makes his environmental philosophy one that is a staple in current theory, as it is referenced in countless essays. Aesthetic values, as demonstrated in this chapter, can sit alongside other values, such as intrinsic, scientific, or any ethical values, without creating conflict or degrading said values. Having a link between science and aesthetics, and intrinsic and instrumental valuing, is something that makes an environmental ethic more likely to be put into practice, which is, after all, the aim of so many theorists work. It is my hope that it is becoming clear how easily numerous value theories can be found in one persons value system. It is impossible to separate any of the aforementioned value theories into neat little sections, as they are all intertwined and can work with one another to help make ethical decisions.

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Chapter 4: Pragmatism and Value Pluralism

Thus far many aspects of environmental philosophy have been covered: Intrinsic value theories, the need to understand the correlation between instrumental and intrinsic values, as well as their differences, the humannature relationship, and the link between aesthetics, science and ethics. Each one of the previous chapters has been written with the hope of highlighting how they can all work together to make a practical, accessible and realistic environmental ethic. Do not misunderstand this for a single environmental ethic filled with rules and guidelines, but instead, understand the previous chapters and arguments as potential pieces to a constantly changing puzzle. The points that I have argued through the use of other theorists environmental philosophies are set in place to provide the basis of understanding how many different values can be used together to act ethically and practically. Rolstons openness in his argument for the valuing of nature allows him to understand the benefits of both instrumental and intrinsic value, as well as aesthetics via scientific knowledge. The philosophy he sets forth in Environmental Ethics is one that coincides with my position that value pluralism is central to a practical environmental ethics, and that pluralism is relevant in so far as different people, cultures, and beliefs are all going to require different variations of ethics. Rolston expresses this well: An ethic, it may be insisted, has to be formal, general, universal, applicable without regard to time and place, true all over Earth, true on all planets where there are moral agentsAn ethic too has an environment, a niche to inhabit. Like a species, it is where it is. Ethics evolve, as do species, and have storied development. (Rolston 1988: 342) An environmental ethic does not have to be one set of specific rules, because as Rolston and I agree, ethics evolve with the changing times and species. It is necessary to understand many sets of values so that the

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evolution is made smoother and consistent, no matter which cultural niche it is fitting into. It is imperative for environmental philosophy to take a pragmatic approach to ethics whilst linking it to value pluralism if there is any hope for putting theory into practice. Environmental pragmatism attempts to give humans the ability to make ethical decisions based on a theory in a practical way. Instead of focusing on a heavy philosophical side, environmental pragmatism focuses on practicality and open mindedness. In Beyond Intrinsic Value; Pragmatism in Environmental Ethics, Anthony Weston recognizes this: The important questions for pragmatism are the ones posed by specific situations, and while the answers across different situations will probably bear a strong family resemblance, they will not always be the same (Weston 2003: 338). Different people, cultures, and circumstances require a flexible environmental ethic. While many different values can be explored for a common goal of treating the environment ethically, they do not all resemble one another. It is unreasonable for the likes of Arne Naess deep ecology2 to make it past theoretical debate due to the overly strict rules and arguably extreme approach to ethics. Extreme and monistic philosophies will not be adapted in the real world, as people do not all share in the same values of the environment. Weston writes, Pragmatism, indeed, celebrates a wide-open and diverse culture; it is the prerequisite of all the central Deweyan virtues: intelligence, freedom, autonomy, growth. What we have yet to accept is its inconclusiveness and open-endedness, its demand that we struggle for our own values without being closed to the values and the hopes of others. (Weston 2003: 339) Arne Naess deep ecology is an arguably radical environmental philosophy which states that every entity (including rocks, rivers, etc) should be included in the moral sphere. Naess calls for understanding the Self, in which the valuer sees all other entities in themselves (as opposed to the lower cased self, in which the valuer does not and is not a deep ecologist). There are a set of eight guidelines that must be strictly followed in order to keep with deep ecology. For a list of the criterion, as explained by Naess, see Naess 1986: 189. 18
2

It is crucial for an environmental ethic to be open to understanding many sets of values, which leaves the likes of Taylor and other monistic theorists at a disadvantage. A successful environmental philosophy will have looked at many different values and theories and will be open enough to intertwining them in order to be practical enough for every day use. While value pluralism is necessary for a pragmatic environmental ethic, containing several sets of values raises a problem that must be addressed. It could indeed be argued by skeptics that multiple sets of values can conflict, contradict one another and create confusion. While this is a reasonable criticism, it can be addressed by applying Andrew Brennans sentiments in his essay, Moral Pluralism and the Environment. Brennan suggests that by ordering where one views each type of value in a sort of hierarchy, it becomes easier to utilize many values in one ethical decision. For each situation that calls for an environmental ethic, Brennan argues that by having a semi-hierarchical order to values pertaining to the issue, the ability to make the correct decision is less complicated. In other words as J. Baird Callicott explains, we take our many moral maps, planes, and frameworks (our polyglot ethical systems or theories), lay them out over the territory (the problem, quandary, or conundrum) and, if they jibe, fine. If they dont, then we prioritize them (Callicott 2003: 209). In this quote, Callicott is paraphrasing Christopher Stones moral pluralism, and is questioning its validity, however it is actually an acceptable theory. If one prioritizes the several theories at hand, each theory will ultimately lead to one sort of ethical decision, but since different situations call for different theories, a value (or moral) pluralist will be able to make the most fitting ethical decision for that particular problem by combining approaches. Having flexibility should not be frowned upon so much as celebrated, for it allows a bit of breathing room and therefore makes environmental theory much more realistic. I am not saying that prioritizing values means one must choose a single theory over another. Instead, what I am trying to convey is that

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prioritizing to a certain extent helps to utilize the most relevant theories. Callicott further demonstrates this idea when he explains, I suggest that we graphically represent the expansion of our moral sensibilities from narrower to wider circles, not as Peter Singer would have us represent it, like the expansion of the circumference of a balloon, but like the annular growth rings of a tree. In such a figure the inner rings remain visible and present and the outer are added on, each more remote from the center, from the moral heartwood. (Callicott 2003: 216) Imagining different sets of values as separate rings in a tree trunk is an excellent way to illustrate what I mean by prioritizing values. It is not to say that one philosophy is better than another, as they are all part of the greater whole, however some are further away from the center of the trunk, or in an ethical dilemma, a theory is further away from the problem. By still containing many sets of values, a value pluralist will be able to approach an issue with many rings and use the strongest ones to solve the ethical dilemma. The many values one person can hold is well demonstrated in Callicotts argument. Callicott explains, Moral pluralisminvites us to adopta fourth [theory] to express the concern we feel for future generations, a fifth to govern our relationship with nonhuman animals, a sixth to bring plants within the purview of morals, a seventh to tell us how to treat the elemental environment, an eighth to cover species, ecosystems, and other environmental collectives, and perhaps a ninth to explain our obligations to the planet, Gaia, as a whole and organically unified living thing. (Callicott 2003: 205) Within this single quote, various values that have been discussed thus far can be seen. For instance, relations with other people and duties to future generations are anthropocentric values, bringing plants into the moral sphere matches Taylors call for a biocentric or life-centered theory, and our obligations to the planet echo the sentiments of Rolstons idea of duty and respect. Although Callicott argues for a monistic approach to

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environmental ethics, in his aforementioned paragraph, numerous value sets have been illustrated as working together for a value pluralism based theory. While it can be argued that many people search for consistency in their personal philosophies, it can also be argued that many people feel pulled in several directions when it comes to the environment. One person could easily describe the pleasure of recreating in the outdoors, the appreciation for the colors of a flower in bloom, or the valuing of fresh water to drink, but does this make them wrong for containing more than one set of values? Within these three different sets of values, intrinsic, aesthetic and instrumental values are all described, proving how easy it is for value pluralism to be accepted and practiced. As Brennan writes, By adopting the pluralistic stance, we not only start to do justice to the complexity of real situations, but we also can start to look for ways by which environmental ethics can be linked up with other modes of valuing and ways of responding to our surroundings. (Brennan 1992: 30) It is true that most situations requiring environmental ethics will be complex and not easily categorized with one theory. For instance, a conservationist who wants to save wildlife may have to kill other forms of wildlife in order to do so. The questions can then be asked, how can one decide what is worth saving, is it for anthropocentric reasons that one nonhuman animal is deemed more valuable than another, is one more aesthetically pleasing than another? These are all very real sets of values that can potentially come into play when trying to make an ethical decision, making value pluralism and pragmatism of the utmost importance. Understanding how aesthetics can be linked to ethics, how intrinsic value can be reached through instrumental value, and so on, all inevitably lead to a stronger ethic in the end result. In Andrew Lights The Case for Practical Pluralism, the idea that having a practical approach to moral pluralism is one that is well argued. Light argues, The kind of pluralism I embraceargues that as long as our different moral frameworks are oriented toward the same environmental priorities, we can ignore for the time being many of the issues of the

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truth about which reason for valuing nature is actually right The point to focus on practically is that the differing theoretical bases of these views need not be resolved further for the pluralist so long as they offer reasons for achieving the same policy end: protecting old growth forests and the habitat of the owls. (Light 2003: 235) What Light is arguing is that it is not how we get to the end result of making an ethical decision; it does not matter which specific theory we choose to follow, only that we end up making the morally right decision in the end. Any environmental ethicist, even ones against value pluralism, cannot deny that in the end the most important part of environmental ethics (and the whole point of it) is to treat nature and the environment with care. Arguably, the largest difference between monist and pragmatic pluralist theories are the approaches to handling environmental problems. While monist theories largely try to prove themselves as the best option for ethics, pragmatic pluralist theories are more focused on getting to the correct ethical decision at a faster pace. Light explains, For the monist our goal should be theoretical agreement all the way down, from policy ends to ethical foundations. For my version of practical, or pragmatic pluralism, the fact that the environmental problems we face are so pressing provides a warrant for setting aside agreement on ethical foundations when possible. (Light 2003: 235) My arguments in this dissertation fit very well into Lights pragmatic pluralism. Ethical decisions are too complex to wade through the mass amount of environmental philosophies to find the correct or most appropriate theory for the situation; if one did indeed exist. It is unrealistic to expect anyone outside of philosophers to put that much time and effort into sifting through theories before making a decision. As long as an ethical decision that benefits the environment or nature is reached, it should not matter if it is anthropocentric or for nonathropocentric reasons, especially since it is nearly impossible to stick to one particular theory in a complex dilemma. Taking bits and pieces from any of the theories I have previously discussed in earlier chapters will allow a pragmatic approach to value

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pluralism to be successful. At any given time, intrinsic value can be mixed with aesthetics, aesthetics can be linked with science and instrumental value, and a human can use these links to form an ethical opinion or decision. If environmental philosophy is to be used in practice, value pluralism is the best option, as demonstrated by my case study on Fair Isle.

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Chapter 5: Fair Isle Case Study

Being one of the most remote and uninhabited isles in Scotland, Fair Isle exemplifies what it means to value nature in a variety of ways. A worldrenowned nesting ground for seabirds, Fair Isle was bought by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and declared a Special Protection Area (SPA), and in 1999 requested to make its surrounding waters a Marine Protected Area (MPA) (Wheeler 1999). Today, the Fair Isle community focuses on the Fair Isle Bird Observatory (FIBO), the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourist Initiative (FIMETI) and NTS work to conserve bird life and the marine life that sustains both nature and the communitys needs. The residents of Fair Isle, Scotland have diverse and colourful backgrounds. While some people living on the island have just moved there within the last few years, others have moved there over thirty years ago, and a select few are native to the most remote inhabited isle in the United Kingdom. Although their professional lives and upbringings vary greatly, the entire community on Fair Isle relies heavily on the environment for economic and personal (and for some, spiritual) development, making their sets of environmental values and ethics of crucial importance, and an excellent choice for a case study. The three methods used in the case study were field notes, four goalong one-on-one interviews, and finally a discussion group held in FIBO with six residents. Due to the small size of Fair Isle, coupled with the high levels of community participation in environmental sustainability, utilizing three methods of qualitative studies allowed the environmental values of select Fair Isle residents to be highlighted and understood. The community is extremely tight knit and once I gained contact with a few residents, word spread about my work and people were more than happy to recommend others for interviews. The field notes taken during my nine day stay on Fair Isle were a way for me to consider the many values I appreciate in the same environment as my participants. Fortunately, my accommodation was at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Lodge (FIBOL), where I could observe both conservation workers and residents interact with the environment on a daily basis, and since 24

I was there June 7th-16th, I was there just as many birds were starting to nest on the Isle. By having access to the grounds and research facilities surrounding FIBO, my own experience of the natural environment aided in understanding why the wardens at the FIBO work so diligently to save it, and provided me with an inside look on why residents support FIBO as heavily as they do. The residents knew that I was doing the study based on the community on Fair Isle, as did FIBO staff, however the staff did not realize that I also took into account their daily actions. This under cover approach to my field notes made sure that the wardens and researchers did not hold back their opinions in front of me, and while I did not interview any of them, my experiences in the field with them as a participant proved invaluable, as will be discussed later. For one-on-one interviews, a relatively recent method was used known as a go-along, which is an excellent way to break the uncomfortable setting of a sit down interview. While a go-along can be done in many ways, such as going for a drive in the car, I asked Fair Isle residents to take a walk with me to their favourite spot on the island. The go-along combined with participant observation and discussion groups allowed for a deeper understanding of participant values as, ethnographers are able to observe their informants spatial practices in situ while accessing their experiences and interpretations at the same time (Kusenbach 2003: 463). Recording the conversation and taking pictures of the final destination made field notes and analysis exponentially better, and the participant benefited from being able to speak about an environment they were comfortable and confident in. The interviewees chosen were two men and two women, however, due to inclement weather, both female participants interviews had to be performed indoors in their own homes. This did not change the outcome of the information gathered in the interviews, as I still asked them the same questions and made them aware of what we would have done if we had been able to go on a walk together. Lastly, The use of once-only groups is valuable for qualitative research because they provide a forum in which people can share and test out their views with others rather than responding in an isolated interview (Burgess 1988: 311). By leading a focus group, which I refer to as a discussion group, Fair Isle residents were able to articulate their values with the comfort of community members instead of speaking to a complete stranger one on one. 25

By listening to each others take on environmental values and ethics, discussion group participants were be able to better define what they agree and disagree with in ways they wouldnt have the opportunity to when answering questions on their own. Participants of the discussion group were inevitably difficult to group into categories of education level, age, etc, due to the small population size on Fair Isle (approximately 70). Every attempt was made to involve participants in equal numbers of male and females, age, occupation (environmental versus non-environmental), and the amount of time spent living on the island. The group was kept small to be able to gain trust among members at a rapid pace. Theoretically, the small group mirrors relationships in the real-world; people are not isolated individuals but social beings living in webs of cultural significance through participation in their linguistic communities (Foulke as qtd. by Burgess 1988: 457). Thus, by keeping the discussion group small, the intention was for participants not to feel isolated, however the group was not too big where someone did not feel they could participate. In the end, six community members participated; two women and four men, all between the ages of thirty-five and eighty-five. While some may question the thought process behind choosing Fair Isle as the case study location, it was an excellent choice due to the approachable nature of its community, as well as the reliance on the environment they inevitably inhabit. In terms of being over exposed to scientific research as a small island with world renowned bird breeding sites, some may assume the community would have been closed off from more research being conducted, or perhaps even well rehearsed in what information they pass on to researchers. Over exposure to research on a small island was in no way an obstacle for this study, as my research is on the human-nature relationship, which has not been done on the Isle before, and actually peaked interest in many of the islanders curiosity about my work. As one islander, Margo Murray3, wrote to me after doing a one on one interview, What I liked about

Margo later sent me a copy of her poem, Red Cow with Snow Buntings, in order to show how nature has inspired her poetry. This poem can be found in Appendix I. 26

it was that you found yourself happily answering questions that you had never asked yourself. Although the Fair Isle residents were so close to nature on a daily basis, asking themselves questions about their relationship with it, or how and why they value it, is not something they found themselves having done. One of the participants, David Wheeler, mentioned to me, Im just rather quite intrigued, and I found that last night [the night the discussion group was held] was quite an interesting night how it got the islanders, the few of us there, talking on a different level that I actually quite miss; a philosophical level. It took some time in the discussion group and interviews to show that environmental ethics was a valid set of ideas that the islanders should think about. It is very easy for humans to realize the scientific and socio-economic reasons that they value the environment, however, linking those with questions of aesthetics, intrinsic and instrumental value, and the human-nature relationship eventually helped Fair Isle residents understand that philosophy can apply to their every day life.

5.1 The Human-Nature Relationship

As previously discussed, the human-nature relationship as explained by Van Den Born can be viewed as the Master, the Steward, the Partner and the Participant. Before analyzing this case study into sections relating to value theories, it is important to showcase how some of the participants described their own relationships with nature, as it will give preliminary insight into their valuing of nature. During the discussion group, P54 stated, Well, the fourth would be nice but the reality would be one of the first other two, highlighting how more extreme theories, such as deep ecology, are much less likely to be applicable in the real world. The need for a pragmatic philosophy that feels accessible to people outside of the philosophical and academic world is demonstrated again by one
4

P1 stands for Participant 1, P2 stands for Participant 2, and so on. This is not applicable to the interviews or field notes, where names are used. Some participants are named while others are not due to requests of confidentiality. A full list of participants can be found in Appendix II. 27

discussion group participants (P3) statement, I think on a philosophical level we all agree we are part of nature, and purely philosophically we are just another species, but we are a very special species. We have to accept that about ourselves, we do have intellect, and that makes us humans. This statement by P3 links in with the Steward, where P3 is verbalizing his superiority over nonhuman animals, however he also realizes we are part of nature, and therefore insinuates we must treat it ethically. Although P6 did not comment in the discussion group, during her interview with me, she stated, I think were very much stewards of nature now, in the life and times that we live in, and thats very much how we run our croft; were stewarding our environment in a way. On the other hand were also partners with the environment, walking in stewardship with it you also have to have an understanding, a more intimate understanding of the environment; and I think in that sense youre also walking in partnership with it a bit more. This opinion from P6 shows how value pluralism directly affects the humannature relationship. While P6 thinks humans are stewards, she also realizes we have the ability to partner with nature, showing her appreciation for nature itself. Lastly, understanding how easily humans can fluctuate between the Master and Steward relationships with nature is illustrated in M4s statement, But the other thing is we want to be empowered. Were asking to be empoweredWe want stewardship, but we want to have the empowerment that says, Give us the stewardship. This perfectly highlights how one person can feel many different value sets, as P4 is trying to explain his inclusion of humans in both the Master and Steward relationships with nature. It is very difficult to fit neatly into one relationship with nature, just as it is difficult to fit neatly into one environmental philosophy, or side wholly with intrinsic or instrumental valuing.

5.2 Intrinsic and Instrumental Value

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Intrinsic value is notoriously difficult to bring out in every day conversation involving the environment, while instrumental value is typically verbalized quite readily outside of the philosophical world (Van Den Born 2008). In speaking to participants during interviews and in the discussion group, both intrinsic and instrumental values were discussed, and in most cases, the participant would express both values. During the discussion group and again in each interview, the basic ideas behind intrinsic and instrumental values were explained to participants. In short, intrinsic value was described as having many different theories, but for the purpose of this study, was the theory that the environment, nature, nonhuman entities, etc, all have the right to flourish regardless of their use to humans, and contain value in and of themselves. Instrumental value was defined as viewing any of the aforementioned things as valuable to humans as a resource aesthetically, economically, emotionally, etc. Most participants either did not fully understand what it meant to value nature intrinsically, or demonstrated feelings of both instrumental and intrinsic valuing. For example, during my interview with David Wheeler, he explained, I mean, its seeing nature for what it is, admiring it, wanting to enjoy it, but not wanting to harm it or destroy it any way because in doing so you lose it. While David is trying to say that he values the environment intrinsically, he also mentions losing it, which could be understood as instrumental valuing, since he could be referring to losing it as a resource for humans. On the other hand, David could also be implying that nature strictly has intrinsic value, and in losing it, it loses its own value, such as the last of a species being lost. During a separate interview, Elizabeth Riddiford did well in articulating her understanding of both values by responding to my question of whether nature has intrinsic value. Elizabeth commented, Man is part of the environment; we need the environment to survive ourselves. So, from that point of view were being selfish because were thinking about it like that. But also, from a nature point of view, we like to say everything in nature has a right to be there, and to continue, and not to be used up and disappear; if youre looking at it from that point of view as well.

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This idea that nature has a right to be there and continue clearly fits into the definition of intrinsic value, however Elizabeth also recognized that humans need the environment to survive, and therefore must use it instrumentally. This echoes Bentons theory that in using and valuing the environment instrumentally, one can then value it intrinsically as well. Elizabeths comments also correlate with Rolstons open-minded approach to linking the intrinsic and instrumental together. Containing both intrinsic and instrumental value philosophies has not deterred Elizabeth from making ethical choices, and has allowed her to understand that nature has a right to be there just as much as she does. Another example of valuing the environment intrinsically by using it instrumentally is suggested when during the discussion group, P2 stated, Where did that value come in? Im thinking back to hunter-gatherers. They didnt actually value their environment. They appreciated it, they appreciated what it meant to them, but its hard to think that way. I think we start to value things when we begin to realize what it would be like without them. This quote is in response to my question of whether the group thought nature had intrinsic or instrumental value. Very clearly, P2 believes in both values, and believes that in order to value nature intrinsically for what it is, people must also appreciate its worth instrumentally. In the interview with Margo Murray, I asked her if she thought nature was important. Margo responded, I suppose here you have a relationship with nature. Just walking you have a relationship with the flowers if youre close to things, as you are on an island, you create a relationship. She then later added, I think we get a feeling of well being from nature. You know, anything from the sea, and animals, we get something. In these two quotes Margo expresses intrinsic value first in appreciating a relationship with nature because it is there separate from us, but close to us, while in the second quote, Margo hints at gaining something (whether it be spiritually or emotionally) from nature, which could be argued as either intrinsic or instrumental. Not all participants view nature as having both intrinsic and instrumental value, as one person verbalized during the discussion group. Valuing the environment instrumentally is quite easy to do on Fair Isle, as the

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community is so dependent on it as a socio-economic resource. In response to P1 stating that the environment contains value without humans there to value it, P2 argues, a bird doesnt value a tree where its getting its feed from. It needs the feed, but it itself doesnt give a value to it. You only start to introduce the value aspect when humans start to think cash. P2s explanation of instrumental value as being directly linked to cash is in line with many theories in environmental philosophy, including Taylors. It was helpful to have P2 stress their point of view on instrumental value, as it allowed the other group members to feel comfortable disagreeing with one another.

5.3 Aesthetics and Science

Speaking about intrinsic and instrumental value led the discussion group into a discussion about aesthetics and how it is also involved in valuing the environment. In trying to work through how they value the environment, P2 stated, When I see a fine landscape, or a view of the effects of light and shadow and think, Brilliant. Photograph. I dont actually put a value on it, I appreciate it. To which P5 responded, Yes, your value is to appreciate it, and your hobby comes out of your enjoyment. In the appreciating the aesthetics of the landscape, P2 believes there is a difference between valuing and appreciating, where P5 puts it into perspective by saying appreciation is value. This idea can be linked with Saito or Brady in that by valuing the environment or a landscape for its own aesthetics, one is still valuing it and is more inclined to make an ethical decision about it. In keeping with Leopolds idea that ecological knowledge and aesthetic appreciation go hand in hand, Nick Riddifords interview is a perfect example. Being an ecologist, Nick has a wealth of knowledge about flora and fauna, not only on Fair Isle, but the world. When asked if he thought his ecological knowledge had an impact on the way he sees beauty, Nick responded, Living on a tiny island you think youve seen it allunder different lights, and different seascapes, and different skyscapes as well. So, you know, I do, Im one of those people who although, obviously

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working in a scientific field, have a very strong emotional and aesthetic bond with it as well. Nicks ecological knowledge allows him to look at the Isle in a completely different way than other residents. While many residents told me their favorite spot was a specific cliff, or stretch of beach, Nick took me to the gully (the location of a bird trap) with the view looking out into the North Sea, pictured below:
Figure 5.1 The gully, Fair Isle. Photo taken by Kendra White

The gully was beautiful to me because it had a small waterfall, and the bright green mosses against the crisp blue water as a backdrop, however that is not why Nick brought me there. It was because of the lichen and ferns that Nick considers this a favorite spot; the rarity value is of the utmost importance to him. For Nick, rarity is a thing of beauty, and the uncommon species of fern growing on the island were aesthetically pleasing to him. In my field notes, I reflected on the walk Nick and I took together after the interview: To the average person, myself included, walking around Fair Isle is certainly a scenically beautiful treat. The dramatic cliffs and constant chattering of

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birds easily draws your attention to scan the landscape on a wide scale. It was during my time with Nick that I realized just how much of the environment I was missing on a small scale. The rare mosses and tasty grass were things I never would have noticed, or thought to eat, for that matter. Nicks ecological knowledge allowed him, and myself, to gain a closer appreciation for nature. Even looking at some lichen, Nick knew the island history and facts about lichens well enough to know that they were around 150 years old on the stonewalls stretching next to the road. I had passed that same lichen dozens of times and had not thought for a moment how old it could possibly be. It does not mean that Nick is able to value the environment more, but it does mean that he has a unique value system and understanding of value in rarity. Nicks appreciation of the environment stems directly from his ecological knowledge, and his idea of aesthetic beauty is completely different than any of the other participants. As Leopold suggests, understanding the song of the river is possible through ecological knowledge, and Nicks appreciation of the gully is a prime example of this. Although not every resident on Fair Isle has ecological knowledge, each person still has a certain idea of beauty. As P4 stated in the discussion group, But thats a very individual thing, isnt it. I can say something is beautiful and everybody else could say, What on earth is he looking at? While Nick echoes Leopolds sentiments of ecological knowledge leading to aesthetic appreciation, other participants in the interviews related with Saito more in appreciating the aesthetics because of all of their senses. As Elizabeth said in her interview, Well, if youre out in the wind and youre sort of having to stand at a forty-five degree angle just to stay on your feet because otherwise the wind would blow you over, and you have this tremendous strength of the wind, and the noise, and the sea, and yes, just the whole thing really is pretty awe inspiring, I think. The impact nature has on all of her senses is what leads Elizabeth back to her favorite cliffs on the Isle, in conjunction with the form of the cliffsits

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just scenically very pretty. Speaking about the form of cliffs and the prettiness of the scenery quite obviously demonstrates Elizabeths aesthetic valuing of the environment and specifically the cliffs on Fair Isle.

Figure 5.2 Sheep Rock, Fair Isle. Photo taken by Kendra White

The form of Sheep Rock is what draws so many tourists and Isle residents alike to the shores of North Haven beach, which looks out on the now abandoned grazing site. The dramatic nature of Sheep Rock is agreed by many as being aesthetically pleasing, however when given the example of choosing a waterfall or a bog as one being more aesthetically pleasing than the other, Elizabeth responded, Its a bit maybe like first impressionsYou know, if you saw a beautiful field of flowers, Oh yes, thats fantastic, but then, as I say, if you get down and dirty, and start looking at a bog which isnt immediately beautiful, then you find that theres more underneath thats worth looking at. Elizabeth does not have a profession based on ecology, and yet still aesthetically appreciates a bog for its inner-workings just as much as a waterfall for its beauty, again linking her to Saito by appreciating the bog for what it is.

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All of the participants responses in explaining their favorite spot on the Isle, or whether they would choose a bog over a waterfall were linked to aesthetics and further linked them to want to treat the Isles nature ethically. Bradys idea that aesthetic appreciation can potentially lead to environmental ethics is demonstrated by each one of their responses and their eco-friendly lifestyles. That same idea was demonstrated on a walk with a warden on my last day on Fair Isle. I wrote in my field notes, We started walking along a stonewall that had numbers painted in white at certain points. Carrie explained they were markers for where Starling nests were hidden in the wall, but that the islanders requested they stop marking them in that way as it takes away from the aesthetics of the wall and landscape. It was interesting that the islanders put their foot down about something that would help the scientists, and clearly exhibited their appreciation for the aesthetics of the Isle. Research is one of the most popular reasons for people to come to Fair Isle, and yet the islanders value aesthetics so much, they stood their ground and changed the way scientific research is conducted on Isle. Additionally, not just one person could have stopped the researchers from using painted numbers; many islanders must have stepped forward in order to accomplish this, demonstrating the idea that aesthetics can lead to action, and at times, ethical action.

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Conclusion

After having looked at the many theories of intrinsic value, instrumental value, science and aesthetics, the words and actions of Fair Isle participants quite clearly connect with numerous environmental philosophies. While some responses fit in with Taylors view of intrinsic value, other responses incorporate Rolstons idea that the intrinsic and instrumental can be found one in the same. The same participants from the discussion group and interviews expressed an aesthetic appreciation of the environment, but also recognized their need for socio-economic gains, and natures right to be there for itself. Individuals in the Fair Isle community truly hold several different values for the environment, highlighting the idea that many different values can work together to create a pluralistic ethic. Fair Isle residents believe very much in being pragmatic, as they expressed numerous times that they wish to live a sustainable lifestyle, but realize they rely on the environment for their socio-economic benefits, emotional well-being, and they also appreciate the right nature on the Isle has to flourish for itself. Keeping a pragmatic approach to value pluralism allows for Fair Isle to hold an environmental ethic that works across the community, where each resident is able to value the environment in many different ways. While many theorists believe that one environmental philosophy must be the core of ethics, I have taken aspects of many philosophies, argued for pragmatic value pluralism, and demonstrated this approach in the case study of Fair Isle. In order to treat the environment ethically, a philosophy that allows for many values is the only way forward, and it works, as demonstrated by the ethical decisions of Fair Isle residents. Whether someone values the environment for anthropocentric reasons such as future generations, or whether they value it because they believe it has a right to flourish for itself, or for many people, for both reasons, pragmatic value pluralism is necessary to get what every environmental philosopher desires: the ethical treatment of the environment.

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Appendix I: Margo Murrays Poetry

After conducting an interview with Margo, she told me about a poem she had once written about a cow she could see from her bedroom window. Margo explained that she watched the cow every morning, and that upon its death, she realized the value it contained outside of being food. The following poem is an example of Margos intrinsic and instrumental valuing of the red cow.

Red Cow with Snow Buntings

Each morning, as soon as the light is enough, I see it, a red cow standing alone on the brow of a humped backed brae. Today she warms her buttocks, on a rising sun, whilst snow buntings, pretending to be a winter flurry, scan the girse at her feet. Even from where I spy I can see its niggardly and the woman with the white bucket has not yet delivered. The sun-rise is brief so the red cow hunkers down to wait. She hears the drone of the pickup, lifts her hulk expectantly, but the vehicle moves on. A small boy hurries by on his way to school. A turn of the head says hes not the woman with the white bucket. When the bucket does materialise the snow buntings, in their scintillating play of swerve on sway, will re-appear, then, as the buckets contents pepper the sparse girse theyll tilt in-by the red cow, form a shared table. On a different day

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theres a distinct nip in the air as I watch the red cow eye a gray horse-box, that has drawn up at the foot of the humped back brae. The red cow gambols a bit, when approached, not in the way of the douce calf she once was, but it only takes a handful of oats, proffered by the orange-clad man, to halter and lead her to the gray box. She enters peacefully. Perhaps the white bucket is already there. It is true, man cant live by bread alone, though the red cow was innocent as the white bucket, pure as the snow bunting that now fly past.

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Appendix II: List of Participants

Some participants wished to remain anonymous or did not give permission for their name to be publicized. Included are a list of participants and their occupation.

Discussion Group: - Anonymous, Fisherman - David Wheeler, Meteorologist, Photographer - Anonymous, B&B owner - Nick Riddiford, Ecologist, Co-ordinator Fair Isle Marine Environment & Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) - Anonymous - Elizabeth Riddiford, Community-Conservation Initiative (Kenya)

One-On-One Interviews

All participants of the interviews have lived on Fair Isle for over twenty-five years and are over the age of forty.

-Nick Riddiford -Elizabeth Riddiford -David Wheeler -Margo Murray, B&B owner, Photographer, Poet

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Appendix III: Sample Field Notes

The following is a single entry from the field notes taken whilst on Fair Isle.

Saturday 6/11/11 This morning I had my first interview and went for a walk with Nick Riddiford. He was kind enough to come to FIBO to meet me, instead of me making the trip out to his house in the south. The interview, transcribed separately from this, was incredibly interesting. After the recorder had been turned off, Nick made a few comments about how he thinks people forget about the landscape and its importance on Fair Isle, highlighting his aesthetic valuing of the environment.

We then walked around as he showed me different species of grasses and explained to me how each would taste and whether or not sheep liked it. He explained, What we wouldnt like to eat because of the texture or taste, sheep dont like either. We sampled a few different blades of grass and I was astonished by the accuracy in which he described what each would taste like. Nick was putting himself on the same level as the sheep, and was actively trying to link human and non-human tastes together so that people would give sheep more credit. He explained to me that they do not just wander around eating anything they can get, but that they too have tastes and preferences. I could not help but recall Arne Naess plea for humans to include all life forms in their moral sphere, or Taylors argument that any life-centered entity be valued intrinsically. Nick was doing just that, as he bent down and chewed on grass for several minutes.

Since Nick is the guide for the nature walks on Fair Isle, focused on the flora and fauna, we spent the next forty-five minutes looking at ferns, grass and lichens. Nick was passionate about each and explained to me that he had to beg FIBO not to try and grow trees or interfere with the gully (where our interview was taking place) in any way because of the rare ferns that were growing there. On an island that is famous for and so dedicated to the

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preservation of birds, Nick is taking the time to include other natural entities in the conservation scheme, and values each one of them, even though they are non-sentient.

To the average person, myself included, walking around Fair Isle is certainly a scenically beautiful treat. The dramatic cliffs and constant chattering of birds easily draws your attention to scan the landscape on a wide scale. It was my time with Nick that I realized just how much of the environment I was missing on a small scale. The rare mosses and tasty grass were things I never would have noticed, or thought to eat, for that matter. Nicks ecological knowledge allowed him, and myself, to gain a closer appreciation for nature. Even looking at some lichen, Nick knew the island history and facts about lichens well enough to know that they were around 150 years old on the stonewalls stretching next to the road. I had passed that same lichen dozens of times and had not thought for a moment how old it could possibly be. It does not mean that Nick is able to value the environment more, but it does mean that he has a unique value system and understanding of value in rarity.

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Appendix IV: Discussion Group Transcription The following discussion group took place at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory. Six community members participated in an hour-long discussion group led by Kendra White. Kendra: The discussion group is going to start out a little bit philosophical with broad questions that hopefully you can just work off each other and see if there are any differences with what your views are. Then, from there, work into more specific questions about Fair Isle. It should last just about an hour. The first question is how would you define nature? P5: You start over there and well work our way around. Group laughs, unsure of what to say. P5: No, I would say, are humans part of it? Kendra: Thats actually the second question: are humans are part of it? P5: Theyre a part of it. P1: Well, nature is all thats around you. P2: The biosphere. P1: Well, the biosphere, but yes, its what humans grow up with, the plants, and the birds, and the flowers, and the fish, and. P2: But then there would be no nature on the moon. I mean, would nature extend Group all start talking at once. P3: My definition of nature would actually include everything. P6: Are we talking about living things alone, or are we talking about geology as well? P3: Cosmology is a part of nature. P2: Mhmm. P5: Weve gone to the outer whatever, havent we? Group laughs.

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Kendra: I know. I definitely wasnt expecting the moon to be mentioned. To further the discussion, do you think nature is important? P2: You have to take in the whole cosmos, because without that you wouldnt have nature. P5: Thats what defines earth, isnt it? Whats out there defines what we are. P6: Do they not say that were all stardust? P2: Yeah, mhmm. P5: Yeah, but I mean, we are only defined by whats round us, which is the sun; primarily its our source. It does include everything then, doesnt it? We wouldnt be without it. P4: You must define important because one could argue that the whole cosmos is important intellectually, but nature which brings us the food we eat is probably important to survival. So, there might be different levels depending on how you classify important. Kendra: Say, were defining nature in this question as the immediate nature on Fair Isle. Why is the environment, or nature, important on Fair Isle? P1: We rely on it for so much; for our food and well-being. P4: And rights to the socio-economics on the island. If people didnt come to see our environments, which is what draws a lot of people to this island, then the likes of P5 would be complaining that we didnt have enough money going through the shop, the planes that come regularly, the transport to the island would be much more limited, the incentive then to live here for people would be that much lower as well, its just endless, really. P3: Yeah, and wed have two less people in this discussion, hah. P4: How nature sort of underwrites so much, so many elements of the island. P5: Stewarts comment about well-being, thats individual well-being, your own soul, or whatever it is, to collective well-being as a community, thats relying on the environment. I would say well-being is quite a strong factor for why people would be here. P4: Yes, the quality of the air. P6: The eco-systems. P2: Then you see different people would be at home in different environments. I would be, I think, quite happy living in a mountain, in snow, and ice, as long as I had supplies, you see. So what for one person is an acceptable environment, is not necessarily the same for everybody.

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Kendra: Im going to explain to you two different theories about valuing the environment. The first is intrinsic valuing of the environment. There are different levels to it that are being discussed in environmental ethics, but for the sake of this discussion group Im going to define it as nature and wildlife having value whether or not humans are there to value it. For example, birds have value whether or not their a resource for the economy, for tourists to come in, and whether or not there were humans on the island, they would still contain value. Instrumental value, again, has different levels to it, but for this, well say instrumental value is strictly valuing the environment, wildlife, nature, for resources only, what they can provide for the humans race. That being said, do you think that they can contain value without humans present? P3: Well, thats what Im wondering. Can it possibly contain value without humans? Were the ones who give value. I would say no. From a philosophical point, without humans, weve had millions of species in the past and we cant say they are valuable, in many ways its only because we say its valuable, whether its a thing of beauty, or of economic importance, its we who give the value, so without humans, you cant give it value. P6: I disagree., because taking a holistic approach, everything will have value within the environment, within the ecosystem, without one thing leading to something else, then the whole thing is going to crash and so forth. So, we dont need to be there to value it, its going to be valuable whether were there or not. P2: No, because a bird doesnt value a tree where its getting its feed from. It needs the feed, but it itself doesnt give a value to it. You only start to introduce the value aspect when humans start to think cash. P5: You could value the view for your own sake without it meaning cash. P2: Theyve only just started doing this in the UK, being able to work what value a house has based on its view, as such. P4: You can link it back to cash flow, but I wouldnt I wouldnt agree it necessarily means cash, because there are aesthetic values, for instance, a good view can be an aesthetic value, but not necessarily if youre just passing through an area, but it is definitely an intellectual concept and only an animal that has the capacity to have intellectual concepts P5: Which is man. P4: Which is man. P2: When I see a fine landscape, or a view of the effects of light and shadow and think brilliant, photograph, I dont actually put a value on it, I appreciate it.

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P5: Yes, your value is to appreciate it, and your hobby comes out of your enjoyment. P3: It can be a thing of beauty. I would like to go back for a moment to P6s point, I think just because a thing has a place and an importance in an ecosystem, I dont think that means it has a value. I think value is something we place on it. P4: Except that you could argue that with ecosystems, that one element of the ecosystem clearly relies on the elements of that ecosystem, therefore that ecosystem in good condition has a value for the individual parts of it, even if they dont appreciate it themselves. P6: Well, thats what I was trying to say. Values vary culturally as well. P2: Where did that value come in? Im thinking back to hunter-gatherers. They didnt actually value their environment. They appreciated it, they appreciated what it meant to them, but its hard to think that way. I think we start to value things when we begin to realize what it would be like without them. P3: I think a lot of humans, even as hunter-gatherers, they value P2: Yeah, but they didnt go around picking their fruit thinking Oh, I better leave some of this. P1: Well, thats not always the case. Feral cats, cats that had gone wild, and generally speaking they didnt feed near their own den area. They went away and brought the rabbits back, and whether or not that was them thinking Well leave these til the weathers bad. P4: Birds of prey do that, again, for the same hypothesis. A lot of other birds nest close to the birds of prey because they know theyll get protection. P6: The American Indians, from a cultural point of view, would have looked after their environment, so that they wouldnt have taken more than they needed, and they wouldnt have destroyed or damaged their local environment. They would have always made sure that it was P2: Yeah, but Easter Island inhabitants didnt. They just removed all the trees and removed everything. P3: In the fact of paleontology, you take the arrivals of humans right around the time big mammals disappeared. P6: Are we talking just islands here, or nature in general? P2: General.

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P6: Easter Island is an island situation where they dont have the space to move around, so unless they look after their resources theyre going to lose them P2: But initially they had a very good environment, with trees, and animals, seabirds, and everything. P6: How long was the society there? P2: It was short, it was very short. P6: Over millennia, presumably, communities and so forth would have realized that if they didnt look after their environment that they would lose it, and hunter-gatherers if they were nomadic and moving around, they would automatically be moving from one area to another. If youre in an island situation and you dont learn over a period of time that if you dont take care of what you have youre going to lose it, if youve got people going in there who havent got that experience and that knowledge going historically and so forth, they go in and just use whats there, then they might well use it all up in a space of time because they dont have that historical experience, if you like, of what happens when you use all your resources up. P1: Well, again, that takes you back to the fact that our lifestyle of plenty, and that you didnt have to use it sustainably, where as in some case you couldnt, you just had to eat what was there, and then you had to move on. P2: Have you got plenty of something you dont bother to think and use it sustainably. P4: Thats the example of the fish thing, of fishing. P5: Of whaling, as well. P2: Until its gone. Until you realize its too late and theres nothing you can do about it. P6: If I could put forward, when Im working in Kenya, Im working with community groups out there, with the Massai, a case in point, nomadic communities used to taking their livestock and moving them vast distances looking for grazing and so forth, usually following the rains. When whites moved into the area, set up ranches, fenced it all, it meant that the nomadic existence couldnt carry on in the way that it used to, but because for generations they had as many livestock as they could manage and they did certain things within their environment, the elders within the community didnt realize that if they didnt reduce their livestock within this confined area, they were going to end up with overgrazing, they were going to end up with health problems, they were going to end up with all sorts of other issues. Its the young Massai now, that are actually teaching the elders about set asides where they would actually set aside areas where they would exclude animals for grazing so they could produce hay for when there is a drought or

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something like that. Theyre actually having to teach the elders new ways of working their livestock because, as they say, the elders will say well for generations weve done it this way, this is how weve always done it, but if they continue it that way, their lifestyle is not going to continue because its not sustainable, so theyre actually having to change a traditional style of life to something different to cope with changed circumstances. P5: So they had to change when the white man came. P6: They had to because prior to that there were no barriers so they would just roam huge distances with their livestock. Now, theyre basically fenced in, theyre living on an island surrounded by fences, so they dont have that freedom to go vast differences, so the youngsters are actually teaching the elders. Kendra: In terms of conservation efforts on the island, do you think that there would still be the amount of effort going into marine and bird conservation if there werent any human benefits from it, economic, or aesthetic, any kind of benefits whatsoever? P5: I think there would still be some. P4: I think a lot is driven by cultural heritage as much as anything else, in the sense that fishing, and just maritime issues still run very thickly through the blood of Fair Islanders, as P1 is probably a very good example of that. P1: Well, the economy often told the first world war was mainly fish, then after that period it became extremely different for locals to catch the fish, for various reasons, not just because there were trawls coming into our ground, but because there was no market for salted and dried fish, because we couldnt export them fresh. So, there were a whole lot of reasons why the fishing industry declined. Certainly, in my lifetime, we could always get enough fish to salt and dry for ourselves for the winter, but thats no longer the case. Youre very lucky if you get any white fish at all nowadays. Weve had few occasions where weve had reasonable catches in the last sort of two or three years. Prior to that you couldnt catch anything. Kendra: So, do you think that there would still be a fair amount of effort being done, because cultural gains is still in line with humans, so P1: Well, were seeing the degradation of our environment through that because the fish are at the bottom of the food chain, and everything, the seabirds rely on fish to live on, we rely on the fish and the birds to a certain extent, but we also rely very much on the people who come to see it. If the birds themselves are protected and the fishings not, then the whole environment collapses. P5: I think regardless of the monetary gains we have from people coming here to see the birds, I think there were always people out there who were intrigued

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by the different species and stuff, so thats what drives them to come here in the first place. Kendra: So, its all interconnected, then, between the marine environment, and birds, and tourism P5: Yeah, because we all have our different likes, but for here, its a bird sanctuary. Kendra: On the island, the primary school is an eco-school, and its so interesting to see the board behind you where the kids are obviously very in tune with the scientific aspect of living on the island, do you think P4: People have a read pride in their environment and they also enjoy it without necessarily knowing what the various bits and pieces are, but actually people do know a lot more than you think, that people here have learnt over the years. P2: And you have to ask why are the children so keen and interested and knowledgeable on the environment, and its the teaching yes, but youve got the likes of P4 there, whos really actively encouraging and educating the children. P4: And children are natural enthusiasts, and I got interested because as a youngster I lived in a rural situation where I was surrounded by wildlife, and when youre a child youre closer to the ground and you notice these things and you enjoy them, and the children here are just the same. I mean, P1 here was a child once, if you can believe it Group laughs P4: He has a very working knowledge of the environment, and very often I go to him if I find an insect or a water bug, so I go to him, because we get these new things because of climate change, so I go to him as a memory he will know because he would have got his feet wet as a child, and hell know whether Ive overlooked it or if its a new arrival. So, were just carrying on a tradition, really. Dont you think? P5: Well, youre enhancing it. Thats probably what it is. P4: Well, if youre a child at heart thats sixty-two. P2: The other fact is that weve only got one island, and its only five kilometers by two, and were living on it, and we need to continue to live on it. So, were well aware of hopefully of what were doing to the island, or not doing to the island, and what we would like to see being done to improve things. P4: People here will bend over backwards to do what they think is right for the environment, and I think that its just a natural pride and a recognition of the

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link between the history and the cultural heritage of the island and the environment. Kendra: For the people who do have environmental backgrounds, and for the kids who are learning about the environment, due to their more scientific knowledge of it, do you think that they are able to appreciate the environment, or value the environment and nature at a deeper level? P2: I think particularly these days were able to leave the island and go off and see other parts of, for the kids, Shetland and the rest of the country, and then come back to Fair Isle, I think they appreciate what there is here a great deal more. P3: As an example, I saw all of these small children on the island this morning discussing with the warden of the observatory, about a blue finch hed seen in the garden. The children are very aware of whats going on around them. Kendra: One of the theorists that Ive looked at, has said that due to scientific knowledge, you could have a bog, and you can have a waterfall or something nearby, and most people would look at the waterfall and say that thats more aesthetically pleasing, however, the bog sustains more wildlife. Would you consider the bog to be more beautiful because of the biodiversity that it contains, or the waterfall? P5: I think it depends on the weather at the time. Group laughs. P3: But often the bog is a thing of beauty, but in December its not a thing of beauty. Im not saying its not interesting; its certainly more interesting than a waterfall. P4: The waterfall space in the gully is fantastic. P5: Yeah, in the gully. Im also thinking the knock off of that is attaching value. The mills, and the systems that were organized and built to sustain people, and that was related specifically to food. Without that, that wouldnt be the case. P4: But thats a very individual thing, isnt it. I can say something is beautiful and everybody else could say, What on earth is he looking at? Kendra: Im going to explain four different human-nature relationships. You dont all have to answer if you dont feel comfortable, but if you do, please tell me which one you think you would qualify yourself as having. Theres the master over nature, which views humans above animals; you can do whatever you want to the environment, to wildlife, in order to have economic gains and the economy and technology are expected to be able to remedy any situation.

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Theres the stewardship with nature, where its humans above animals, but they manage nature because its been entrusted to them, and its for future generations. Its not that they own nature, but that they manage. Theres the partner with nature, who stands side by side with nature and view themselves as equal with wildlife and landscapes. And then theres the much more holistic viewpoint, which is the participant of nature, which states that people are linked to nature biologically and spiritually, and the bond between self and nature is what constitutes the self. So, theres the master, the steward, the partner and the participant in nature. P5: Well, the fourth would be nice but the reality would be one of the first other two. P1: I would say the steward. P4: In the various bits and pieces I write in trying to persuade politicians that we need a marine protected area, I use the word stewardship, and its also used by The Council of Europe which has given us the diploma for man living in harmony with his environment. Everything I see here which is nature is shaped by man and his animals. Its hard to find anything on Fair Isle, its one of the more natural systems that youre likely to find, but nevertheless its been largely shaped by man, and youd have to go to Antarctica to find uh, and even there youve got fall out from various, uh theres fall out in the air from nitrates, and all sorts of stuff even in the Antarctic, so man does still have an effect. So, as much as I would like to say the others, stewardship is what I usually use. P3: I think on a philosophical level we all agree we are part of nature, and purely philosophically we are just another species, but we are a very special species. We have to accept that about ourselves, we do have intellect, and that makes us humans. P4: I would say that all four apply in the sense that the lot of, generally, man thinks he is in power to take control of nature and do what he likes with it, and thats still the driving force politically. P5: But the other thing is we want to be empowered. Were asking to be empowered. Whilst it creates problems in other areas, were actually in our stewardship words and what were trying to present, were asking for empowerment because we want to say whats going on. Its two sides there. We want stewardship, but we want to have the empowerment that says, Give us the stewardship. P2: This is actually looking at it on a local level, but if one takes it on a much, much broader scale, then I think that human beings, mankind, has got to be number one. If the human race is to survive, then weve got to take control,

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because if we dont, those whove not got control are just going to trust the system. P4: Well, yeah, I know what youre saying, but I would argue that because man thinks hes master of universe then he is destroying things because he thinks he can do whatever he likes and its Gods gift to man that he can use every resource thats available in an unsustainable way, which was your number one. So, yes, man needs to take control, but with a stewardship approach. Kendra: Well, for the partner approach, it does say that where there is equal value, its working together with nature with the aim that this action will benefit both. So, would you say that maybe youre a little bit a mixture? P3: Nope, on a local level, with P4 there, its stewardship, isnt it? P4: I think so, yeah. Cause I manage the croft to get maximum environmental value, which isnt popular with everybody because my crops are much wetter than other areas, weve got orchids, weve had quail breeding, and so on, and so we manage it for that. So, you could argue that thats kind of a partnership approach in one way because grass and fungi benefit from it, cause we actually target these things, but at the same time were still controlling it, through how we move our sheep around P6: Its through our activity that it happens. P4: Its through activities it happens, so its still a basic control situation. Kendra: I think thats a good note to end on, actually. Were just about to hit the hour mark. Discussion group ends.

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Appendix V: Sample Interview Transcription

Interviewee: Elizabeth Riddiford (E.R.) Performed by: Kendra White (K.W.) 13/6/11 The following interview took place indoors due to inclement weather. K.W.: Like I said before, what we would have been doing if the weather hadnt been so horrible is going for a brief walk to somewhere you think is special on the island. So, if you had to describe one of the places you would consider to be your favorite, do you have one? E.R.: Yes, probably. I enjoy going down towards South Light and then looking back across towards The Holmes. Do you know where that is? K.W.: I do. E.R.: Thats the cliff area that youre looking out towards if you stand at the lighthouse and look northwest. K.W.: What about that area makes it special? E.R.: I love the form of the cliffs there, and its just scenically very pretty. Its exhilarating when the sea is very rough when youve got a gale on, and the waves are breaking and so on. Its a lovely walk to go up there when you have the sea pinks, and the puffins, and you can sit on the tops of the cliffs at The Holmes and look across to the stacks and see all of the seabirds across there. So, I enjoy looking at it from afar and I enjoy the walk going up there and maybe looking back down across the Isle. Yeah, I think thats my favorite place, probably. K.W.: What about Fair Isle as a whole compared to other places that youve traveled. Is there anything in particular that makes you appreciate it as your home? E.R.: Well, scenically its beautiful, obviously. If you like islands, and both Charlie and I enjoy islands very much. I think the main thing here is the community, and the community spirit that we have here on the island, which is very special. Living on an island can be a very pleasant experience, but it can also be a very stressful one. Living somewhere as remote as this, trying to earn a living, being remote from family and friends, not being able to travel, and doing all of those sorts of things. The winter months, with the very long, dark, stormy winters, which I dont cope with very because I have sad, so I really struggle with that. So, yes, having a really good community spirit here really do help you get through all of that. K.W.: I can imagine winter being quite difficult to get through for anyone.

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E.R.: Its the darkness, really. When we get such short daylight hours, and if its overcast as well, and obviously its far more oppressive and very difficult. K.W.: And Im sure its more difficult to get off the island in the winter as well. E.R.: Yes, its very difficult to get off in the winter, because you know the boat can be storm bound, or the plan can be storm bound, and you can be stuck for periods of time. But again, if youre dressed for the weather, it can be very exhilarating to be out in the storm, depending on the frame of mind that youre in at the time. You know, thats very exciting as well. K.W.: What would you say about it that makes it exhilarating? E.R.: Well, if youre out in the wind and youre sort of having to stand at a 45 degree angle just to stay on your feet because otherwise the wind would blow you over, and you have this tremendous strength of the wind, and the noise, and the sea, and yes, just the whole thing really is pretty awe inspiring, I think. K.W.: In terms of what we had spoken about in the discussion group, most people said that they thought that man was above nature or wildlife in general. Do you think that having storms likes that and feeling the strength of E.R.: Its certainly very humbling to be, I guess the term is, to be at the mercy of the weather, or whatever the term is. I dont necessarily take the view that man is above all of that. I think were part of it. Yes, we do, these days, have a stewardship over it, but at one point in mans history we would have been a partner; a part of the natural environment. Over time, we became more stewards of the environment as we were managing the environment to provide our food, and so forth, we became agriculturalists rather than hunter-gatherers, and all that type of thing. But certainly, we are very much at the mercy of the weather here; we might think weve tamed it, but we havent. We tried to get our seeds sown and so forth this spring, and then we get this weather which has been very stormy, you know, it can blast the seeds or the young chutes out of the ground, it can blacken any crops that are above the ground here, the salt spray and the strength of the wind can kill off vegetation very quickly overnight, almost. So, we cant be self sufficient in that way any longer, and even in poly-tunnels the plastic can get blown away and that sort type of thing. So, yeah, and you know, the boats and the planes dont go if the weathers poor, and that type of thing. So, you know, as we say, on the one hand we think we have tamed everything, but on the other hand, as its been shown sort of in the states recently with the tornadoes and the earthquakes, and all these other things that go on, and maybe, sort of, if you have epidemics of illness or something like that, then that really does make you realize that we dont necessarily control everything, that we are maybe a little less controlling than we think we are. K.W.: So of those four types of valuing that I had described before, you would say that you personally consider yourself a partner with nature?

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E.R.: Um K.W.: I know its a difficult question. E.R.: It is a difficult one. I think were very much stewards of nature now, in the life and times that we live in, and thats very much how we run our croft; were stewarding our environment in a way. On the other hand were also partners with the environment, walking in stewardship with it you also have to have an understanding, a more intimate understanding of the environment, and I think in that sense youre also walking in partnership with it a bit more. Certainly when Im working in Kenya with the community groups and so forth out there, who are living up country, and living very much hand to mouth, and living very close to the land, and dont have a lot of money, and that type of thing. I think it strips away the sophistication that we have it in the third world, and sort of takes you right back to the fact that you havent been vaccinated against everything, you could get sick one day, youre dead the next day, you might starve because your crops fail, you dont have money to put fertilizer on, you dont have the right seeds, you know, all that type of thing. I think because youre so much closer to the way nature works at that point, you know, its certainly a different feeling about things there than perhaps here, where you can, well, we dont put fertilizer on our land, but you know, we have access to things like that more easily, and ploughs, and agricultural equipment, and all of that type of thing, and you know, if the crops fail, well ok, but you can get by. When youre living in a situation where if there is something that doesnt work, your life is on the line type of thing, and its a very different situation. K.W.: Do you think that as far as living a more sustainable lifestyle out here, and working in partnership with nature, it should be done for natures sake, for its own sake? I know we touched on this in the discussion group, but do you think its more so because of future generations that youre trying to take care of? E.R.: I think its future generations that were looking to take care of, in a way. From a human point of view, in the future we would like our people coming after us to be able to continue the cultural and traditional things that they have been able to do in the past, that the environment is there for them to be able to live in partnership, where theyll live in stewardship with, if you like, and in a sustainable way, so that its an ongoing thing, rather than its something thats used up in a short space of time with a very selfish, shortsighted view of things. Oh its there today, well use it today, well not worry about tomorrow. But I think also, taking it from a holistic point of view, as I said before, man is part of the environment; we need the environment to survive ourselves, so from that point of view were being selfish because were thinking about it like that. But also, from a nature point of view, we like to see everything in nature has a right to be there, and to continue, and not to be used up and disappear, if youre looking at it from that point of view as well. I dont know if Im making much sense.

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K.W.: No, you are! Its difficult. E.R.: Its difficult to express all of these different things. So, you have the sort of individualistic point of view, you know, what can nature do for me? and for the future generations of humans, if you like, but then, you also take into account the fact that for nature to continue on its own account, it needs to be looked after, it needs to be able to given the chance to continue either by man stepping out of the scene, or if man is going to be involved in the environment, that man is stewarding in such a way that it can continue. K.W.: Do you think it would be more out of a respect for nature or a duty to nature that you would be living in partnership? E.R.: A respect for. From a personal point of view, its a respect for nature. And there is a sense of duty to there, in a sense as well; that if you are in a stewardship situation that if youre responsible for something then you have a duty to care, so thats where I suppose the duty would come in. But if you have a partnership sense, then you have a sense of respect. K.W.: I know that youre not in an environmental field per se, but you did mention that you have interest in the environment. What exactly interests you about it? How did that interest get peaked? E.R.: Again, its a holistic interest in the environment, and seeing how everything interacts. You know, how a plant is dependent on a particular insect, or a group of insects to survive, and how those insects might be dependent on another group of insects, or a particular habitat, or whatever. So, I think its the interaction of everything that I find fascinating, and the variety of different species within a family. I just find that very interesting. K.W.: As far as valuing species, and again, we did discuss this a little bit on Saturday night, but one of the theorists Ive looked at believes that there is a hierarchy in everything; that its based on intelligence and what not. On the opposite side of that scale, there is the belief that everything contains the same amount of value, so, you know, a squirrel and a gorilla have the same amount of value. Do you think that you would fit somewhere in-between with that, or that you E.R.: Well, taking a holistic approach, then everything is important, and I dont think it would be possible to say that one thing has an importance over another. But, um, I guess we tend to empathize more perhaps with gorillas, because we maybe see a little bit of ourselves in them, and it might be easier to do that than to empathize with an ant, for example. You know, youre more likely to squish an ant than you are a gorilla, that type of thing. But standing back and looking back at the environment as a whole, or an ecosystem as a whole, then I would say personally that every species within that ecosystem is of equal value because each one has a reliance on the other for something. If you take away something from within the chain then its going to have a chain reaction, its going to affect something else, which may

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have an affect on something else, and so on. You know, if you take away the lion, the top predator, then thats obviously is going to have an affect on all the other species down the food chain, and vice versa, if you take something from the middle, or whatever. So, I think from that point of view. I mean, if something looks pretty, then I guess you tend to be a little bit more empathetic, again, towards something that looks pretty or looks beautiful, than towards something that looks ugly. I guess thats maybe human nature as well; it just depends on what sort of standpoint youre taking at the time, and how youre really sort of looking at things. K.W.: And that goes back to the question that I asked before in the discussion about whether or not, I dont remember the exact example, but a bog and the beautiful fields of orchids that you guys have. If they were both to be conserved which one people would probably go towards? And most times, most people have responded that it would be E.R.: It would probably be the field of the orchids because it looks pretty, where as the bog is incredibly important. I mean, once you get down, wet and dirty, and start looking at it, youll find theres an awful lot of interesting things within the bog, as well. Its maybe a little bit like first impressions. When people meet, its the first impression you have, and thats the one that makes people react the way they do towards somebody. You know, if you saw a beautiful field of flowers, Oh yes thats fantastic, but then, as I say, if you get down, wet and dirty, and start looking at a bog which isnt immediately beautiful, then you find that theres more underneath thats worth looking at. K.W.: And that has something to do with scientific knowledge as well. E.R.: And scientific knowledge as well, probably. But if you have an inquiring mind you can get down, wet and dirty, and not know what youre looking at, but you can still be fascinated by what youre seeing. K.W.: Do you think that the kids in the school here, because its an ecoschool, and because theyre so E.R.: Well it became an eco-school because of the interest in the activities of the children and the teachers. It didnt just become an eco-school, it wasnt just called an eco-school and because its an eco-school its therefore going to do all these activities. It gained the title of an eco-school because of what it was doing. So its the other way around. K.W.: Oh, ok. Thank you! K.W. and E.R. laugh K.W.: Do you think though, that the kids here on Fair Isle would see the environment differently than kids in, say, Edinburgh? E.R.: Yes, I think so, because theyre living so much closer to it. Theyre born and brought up on an island where theyre living so much closer to nature;

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weve got agriculture here, small-scale agriculture here. Theyll be out helping their mums and dads in the garden, or out sowing seeds, or helping with harvest, helping with lambing, with carving, with all of those different aspects from the agricultural point of view. Theyre also very much aware of the seasons here, from a nature point of view. You know, the migration of birds, the Passerines, or whether its the seabirds coming back for breeding, or whether theyre seeing killer whales off shore, or theyre going fishing, or theyre going down onto the seashore and theyre discovering things at the beach, or whatever. So, its very much a hands on experience from a very young age, and a lot of the young children, well, maybe so much the young ones at the moment because theyre maybe too small, but perhaps the teenagers now, who will remember larger numbers of breeding seabirds than we have at the present time for example, and more fishing being caught, because of the changes of fish stocks and the changes in the numbers of birds coming back to breed. So you know, that age group will have a different perspective and different understanding of things as well. You know, and having Nick on the island, as well, hes a natural enthusiast and enthuses everybody once he gets going, once he sort of shows them something you cant help but be enthused by it. I think, as Fiona said at the discussion the other evening, were so lucky to have Nick here to take peoples interest further forward so that the likes of Henry who has a natural inquisitiveness like his dad, theyre very often knocking on the door saying Hey! Ive just found something, and Tom will come and do the same, you know, the kids will come see Nick, and Susanna rang from the observatory last night, Weve got a couple of insects. Can you come and identify? and all those sorts of things. So, the fact that youve got somebody knowledge about that living in your community as well can actually educate people, and inspire, and take their own knowledge and interest further forward as well. And the observatory has obviously had a ranger service on the island as well for the last few years, and the ranger has had a role with working with the school children doing different projects and things, as well. And we have the wildlife club that Nick runs, that adults, children on the island, and visitors can participate as well, and thats looking at all different aspects and habitats of the environment and ecology and so on. So yes, it works at all levels, really. K.W.: After hearing the definition of intrinsic and instrumental value from the discussion group, do you want me to repeat what they were? E.R.: Yes, please. K.W.: Ok. Intrinsic value, I had previously stated has different degrees to it in current theory, but for this I was just saying that intrinsic value would mean that the environment and nature, wildlife, all have value in and of themselves regardless of whether or not humans are here to value them or are gaining any kind of economic, or cultural gains at all. Instrumental value would be, you know, that it would be a resource, its value is as a resource for humans, whether that be culturally or economically. Do you think that you would agree that the environment and nature have intrinsic value?

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E.R.: Yes. Nature has an intrinsic value. There was something I was listening to on the World Service a few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, where some aborigines had just taken some Australian researchers into a very remote part of, I think it was northwest Australia or something like that, and these researchers have just now discovered a large number of new species for science; mammals, and insects, and amphibians, and so forth, that just had never been seen by man, or new to science, or whatever. I think, you know, that underlies that, whether its intrinsic or instrumental, because intrinsically that remote area was very important to all those species that were living there, and also to the aborigines that have probably sort of been aware of it and appreciated over those generations and thousands of years, prior to these species having been discovered and now being given names and all of that type of thing. I think, yeah, there is an importance to something even if it hasnt been discovered, or if man hasnt had an input in someway, I think so. K.W.: Wonderful. Ok, do you have anything that you want to add to it? E.R.: No, this is fascinating! K.W. and E.R. laugh K.W.: It really is! E.R.: Its very interesting, and actually sort of, trying to get us to vocalize and verbalize what we feel about something like this, its K.W.: Its difficult. E.R.: Tis difficult, actually, but, yeah, its interesting. Ok. K.W.: Thank you! End of interview.

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