Humans’ Moral Obligation to Preserve Endangered Species
Many species that exists today are becoming endangered to extinction. In the past era where humans did not exist, extinction occurred due to natural causes. On this present time however, extinction of species are threatened by humans’ existence. Humans are the only moral agent; in which, it has the intellectual capacity that animals and plants do not have. Thus, humans are powerful and dominate over any species. Many practices that humans do such as: tree logging, environment pollution, exploitation of animals and others has led to many species being endangered to extinction. Thus, humans have a moral obligation to preserve endangered species for such reasons focus on biodiversity, future generation and cultural icon.
First argument why humans have moral obligation to preserve endangered species would be for the reason of biodiversity. Every species are all unique with each other. Each one has its own unique genetic code. So, if one species become extinct, they cannot be replaced. As well as all species have a purpose for one organism or so. Extinction of species would cause the chain of an on going process that occur everyday for organisms to be in disorder. That is, if one would take a species out in the ecosystem, it would lead to extinctions of many other species. As Holmes Rolston (Duties to Endangered Species p. 323) argues, “Extinction shuts down the generative processes. The wrong that humans are doing or allowing to happen through carelessness, is stopping the historical flow in which vitality of life is laid. Every extinction is a kind of superkilling. It kills forms (species), beyond individuals.” Therefore, if extinction of species affects the ecosystem, then it will also affect humanity. Humans benefits from plants and animals, just like plants and animals benefit from humans and to one another. However, short-term effect of extinction may not be visible, but in a long run it will be detrimental. Thus, future generation will pay for the consequences if extinction of endangered species is ignored. However, one could argue if humans should still have a moral obligation to preserve endangered species, if the humans present now will not exist and benefit in the future in that sense. To answer this, the following issue will be address below.
For the future of our children and grandchildren that humans care for, and for the animals and plants, humans need to preserve endangered species. Everything that humans choose to do now will affect the future generation. If humans continue to exploit species in our ecosystem especially endangered ones and pollutes the environment, negative consequences will affect the future. Such exploitation comprise of using species for commercial usage for instance: making furs and other clothing, testing animals for perfumes, hunting and others. The negative effect in the future could lead to depletion of resources for animals, plants and humans such as habitats, food, and protection from natural disasters. In addition, the resources for medicines to find cures for present untreatable illnesses would also be affected due to extinction of endangered species. There are many species particularly plant species that have not been tested that could be the answer to deadly illnesses. Thus, for the well being of the future generation, humans have a moral obligation to preserve endangered species.
Another argument is that when people are traveling to different places, the first thing a person notices is the culture of the place. A person sees how the culture differs from places to places. Thus, culture is what makes one place unique from other places. The uniqueness that every culture has is what represents the identity of people living in their community. People value their own culture and proudly represent them on such occasions to show off their unique culture. Such occasions like...
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Rolston III, H. Duties to Endangered Species, p. 323-326.
Singer, P. 1979. Not for humans only. In K.E. Goodpaster and K.M Sayre, ed. Ethics and Problems of the 21st Century. University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN.
VanDeVeer, D., & Pierce, C. (2003). The Environmental Ethics & Policy Book. In LM. Russow, Why Do Species Matter? p.475. Belmont, Ca: Holly Allen.
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