SYSTEMS OF NATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
- The Value
of Life by Stephen Kellert, Island Press, 1996. Chapters 1 and
2 (Course packet)
Capitalism, Preface, Chapter 1
word "value" means worth. It also means the set of ethical precepts
on which we base our behavior. Among some values that are reflected in
many cultures are: fairness and justice, compassion and charity, species
survival, duties, rights, ...
2 of Kellert's The Value of Life discusses a typology of values
that is specific to the way we think of nature or non-human species. Summarize
in a table (see sample start below) these values, their definition, and
their perceived or real benefit to society. To do this, think of how and
for what purpose you might justify using the perspective of a given value
system in a situation of having to decide behaviors with respect to the
environment. For example, the utilitarian view is often advanced as a
good foundation for public policy because it gets the greatest societal
good, in many people's views.
good for greatest number (of people) ; exploitation of nature for
and physical well-being of society; often termed "Quality of life"
a list of the values for inter-human behavior that you consider
important for the maintenance of a "good" human society
(how do you define good?).
of these do we implement, or apply as guidance for our behavior
towards the environment? How would these "environmental "
values be implemented or reflected in individual or societal behavior?
of these are presumed (reflected?) in governmental decision making
in the United States?
of a course or other instance in which a teacher or decision maker
has ascribed a (implicit or explicit) value to nature, or to parts
of it. How would you classify this (set of) value?
Think of an example in which you make a decision affecting nature.
Explain briefly how you would classify your value system in that
one environmental regulation of the United States. In two or three
sentences, describe the main objective of this regulation. Describe
briefly the set of values embedded in it.
YOUR INFORMATION: Figure 1 taken from Chapter 3 of Kellert (page 41) shows
a rough estimate from his studies of these classes of values towards
living diversity in American Society. The data (frequency of values)
represent over 3000 interviews in 49 states of the U.S.
2 : You may do this question in groups. Remember rules for group work.
Have each group member sign.
The following questions may be answered together as a single essay
if you wish.
the fundamental tenets of "natural capitalism"? What values are being
integrated, or at least reconciled, by these principles?
the example you cited above of a decision of yours affecting nature,
discuss how that might be changed if you follow the principles of natural
overall sense, what would the greatest shifts in societal values have
to be in order for the principles of natural capitalism to operate in