Remember the days of “take only pictures … leave only footprints.” The days when we left no waste in the wilderness? No dogs meant no dogs. A closed gate meant stay out. Stay on trails meant that. No camping meant no camping.
Environmental Ethics must move beyond academic discussion and into the policy arena if we are to deal with global environmental conflicts of consumption versus conservation and the needs of our economies versus environmental protection.
We live in an area that promotes the environment for recreation, lifestyle and economic advancement.
Promoting a healthy environment requires a clear understanding of its value. True progress in the fight to save the environment cannot be achieved until a philosophically acceptable theoretical framework for environmental ethics and the implications of that framework are worked out. Our values must reflect short-term benefits and costs while respecting future generations. Nature must be recognized as having intrinsic value, not just resource value. We need a new environmental philosophy.
Those who feel that because we live here we have a “right” to the public lands within our reach need to review their positions, or our special places will be destroyed.
We must link values and ethical concerns when business crosses into environmental conflict. We must facilitate the incorporation of environmental ethics into decision making. We have a responsibility to make practical, implementable recommendations to put principles into action. Environmental ethics must be included in policy formation. We need to provide attractive incentives for business to adopt environmentally sound practices. We must acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of our nation’s regulatory agencies, the White River National Forest, the BLM, Colorado Division of Wildlife, valley government and the many local groups and businesses that focus on protection of the environment.
Business as usual must be reformed to be eco-friendly. Environmental ethics must be inserted into decision making at all levels, in business and government. Those of us who are interested in incorporating ethics and values into the balance of recreation and environmental ethics in how we treat our environment must apply to our own lives what we expect business, government, and other individuals to do.
Instead of complaining about rules, regulations, crowds and misuse of our resources, we must recognize the numbers of visitors and guests and members of our growing population and help them realize the need for an environmental ethic that works for business, lifestyle and respect for our fragile environment.
Crystal River Valley