The paper "Ethical Viewpoints Used to Justify Various Approaches to Natural Resource Management" is a good example of management coursework. Over the past couple of years, environmental issues have been placed at the hearts of world issues. Whereas in the past only a few paid attention to environmental matters, more and more have realised the sheer danger in neglecting the environment. This is primarily because of the ravages of global warming and accompanying damages to the environment such as air pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, and so on. As a result, natural resource management is no longer seen as a mere luxury but an area of grave necessity. “ Natural resource management broadly refers to the management of natural resources such as land, soil, water, animals, and plants with a focus on this how management affects the quality of life for both present and future generations, ” (Wikipedia, 2009).
More specifically, it is the planning and active manipulation of ecosystems and processes for human benefit. In short, human beings are the main stakeholders therefore resources are to be maintained for human beings and because of human beings.
Natural resource management is, therefore, necessary for the stability and survival of the environment and all governments of the world should actively implement NRM programs. Nevertheless, regardless of the obvious benefits of natural resource management, there are varying approaches to its implementation. There are several questions associated with environmental ethics that seek to be answered. One such question is “ What obligations do humans have towards non- humans? ” or “ Do these obligations vary from environment to environment? ” These are areas that have to be addressed if natural resource management is to be successful and accepted in all parts of the world. The single greatest criticism is that most approaches serve human interest first with apparent disregard for the environment.
Most stakeholders in environmental issues such as the government and business people disregard environmental ethics for selfish reasons. There are three main environmental ethics that form the basis of the varied approaches to natural resource management: The developmental ethic (based on human individualism and the need for progress); the preservation ethic (based on the belief that nature has intrinsic value and thus should be preserved); and the conservation ethic (stresses the need for balance between resource utilisation and its availability) (Smith, 2002).
Many stakeholders justify their approaches on the basis of one of the three types. The following discussion will, therefore, analyse some of the ethical viewpoints used in the justification of these approaches to natural resource management, lying special emphasis to trees as a natural resource (deforestation and afforestation). One ethical viewpoint that justifies various approaches is anthropocentrism. Anthropocentrism attaches primary importance to human interests and stems from the developmental ethic. With regards to the environment, “ anthropocentric ethics is an approach that evaluates environmental issues on the basis of how they affect human needs, ” (Ray and McGandy, 2003).
This view is divided into two main parts: consequential ethics and deontological ethics. Consequential ethics implies that human actions are valued according to their consequences upon other humans while deontological ethics deals mainly with rights and duties that are carried by ethical subjects or by those affected by intended actions. Common to both is the premise that human beings are superior to animals and non-living entities.
The anthropocentric view thus approaches natural resource management on the basis that human interests should be served over and above those of other resources.