"Feeding People versus Saving Nature?" Holmes Rolston III

“When we must choose between feeding the hungry and conserving nature, people ought to come first,” (EE 451) Rolston argues in the article “Feeding People versus Saving Nature?”. In this article he analyzes human’s importance over and role in nature, and he also argues that a healthy environment is crucial also to the vitality of human.

A pivotal point of Rolston’s argument is the notion of “human versus nature.” This is a false dichotomy, there is no such thing as humans versus nature because the battle of maintaining a sustainable environment is one that humans can win only by conserving nature. They need nature for food and a place to dwell.

However, the article highlights an obvious ethical issue at hand. Wealthy nations do almost nothing to offer to humane relief to those afflicted by dire poverty and starvation. Billions of dollars is used to fund the military, higher education, and other not necessary endeavors every year. But in this country, the poor are a minority, so the majority does not necessarily pay attention, especially to the impoverished people of other nations.

According to Rolston, the role of nature is key in this. Nature provides humans with a means to subsist and survive. The wealthy are simultaneously neglecting their fellow man into starvation, destroying nature and extinguishing whole species, and eradicating his very means of survival. “There is something ungodly by which the late-coming Homosapiens arrogantly regards the welfare of one species as absolute, with the welfare of the other five million species sacrificed to that”n (EE 461).

Rolston, Holmes III. "Feeding People Versus Saving Nature?" Environmental Ethics. Ed. Andrew Light and Holmes Rolston III. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2008.

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