According to Harald Kehl, the modern environmentalist either subscribes to a dualistic-anthropocentric (speculative) definition of nature with a philosophical-religious background or a scientific (hypothetical-deductive) proposition influenced by modern epistemology.
Those who subscribe to the dualistic-anthropocentric definition would probably consider global warming foremost a moral issue, while the latter might consider it more a technological problem.
Some may argue that the distinction is unnecessary and that global warming can be considered both a moral and technological issue.
But those who are honest to the beliefs and values that logically follow from the scientific definition of nature would have no problem, for example, with technological solutions that require no change in lifestyle.
Purely technological solutions, however, have limited appeal to the great majority of politically active environmentalists in places like Australia and the US who like the ‘Australian Greens’ advocate we make fundamental lifestyle changes including reversing our growing demand for energy.
Professor Kehl also claims that for most environmentalists nature is understood first and foremost as the antithesis of culture. But if its protection requires lifestyle change, what Kehl describes as protection by culture, how can it maintain its independence?
The Australian government places the portfolio of Environment with Heritage and Arts. So we have Peter Garrett as the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Arts – perhaps recognising that environmental protection, for the vast majority of Australians, is an issue of culture because as a nation we subscribe to the dualistic anthropocentric definition of nature with its philosophical-religious background.
Notes and Links
“Conventional Concepts of Nature vs. Pragmatic Conservation:
An irreconcilable Conflict?” by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Harald Kehl
Berlin Technical University, Institute of Ecology, 2000, http://www.agnos-online.de/kehl_iserlohn_engl.htm
The photograph, the beach scene, was taken near Seal Rock, on the NSW coast, by Jennifer Marohasy in January 2007.
Concepts of Wilderness , http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/tag/wilderness/