An Ethics of Biodiversity: Christianity, Ecology, and the Variety of Life

By Kevin J. O'Brien | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Scaling Conservation

An Inconvenient Truth, the book released alongside former Vice Presi- dent Al Gore's celebrated presentation and film about global climate change, begins with two pictures of the Earth from space, one of which Gore credited with changing the consciousness of humanity and help- ing to spark the environmental movement, another of which he iden- tifed as “the most commonly published photograph in all of history.” Gore uses these pictures—just as he used one in his earlier book, Earth in the Balance—to call for a global attention, an awareness and concern for the entire planet, and a moral affirmation that all lives on Earth are connected.1 Gore's work is a call to “think globally,” a familiar rallying cry for environmentalists. This is, as I will argue in this chapter and the next, an argument about scale: about the time and space of our moral attention, which is vital to the conservation of biodiversity.

However, the call for global thinking is not the only scalar perspec- tive available. Aldo Leopold, an early-twentieth-century forester whose writings have shaped the environmental movement and the science of ecology, famously encouraged his readers to “think like a mountain,” to expand moral attention beyond ourselves in order to understand the systems and communities around us. Leopold's moral call is for an ”expansion of ethics” so that we human beings can learn to care for— and recognize our own fate as dependent upon—the nonhuman sys- tems of which we are a part. He believed that because we had learned to care for other human beings, we could also learn to extend our care outward to the other species with whom we share our habitats and ecosystems. In light of environmental degradation, Leopold argues, this moral vision that encompasses other species and ecosystems must be embraced as “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological neces- sity.”2 Like the picture of the Earth from space, this is a call to expand our moral attention. However, Leopold's expansion of ethics is not as broad as Gore's call; rather than attending to the entire Earth, Leopold calls for attention to the ecosystem of a particular mountain.

-79-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
An Ethics of Biodiversity: Christianity, Ecology, and the Variety of Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 228

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.