One of the challenges of developing an environmental ethic and a respect for nature is that seeing an animal, plant, or place as worth moral consideration isn't very helpful when it comes to eating it or otherwise taking from the natural world. We may expand the circle of what constitutes a moral community (Singer, 1973; Goodpaster 1978) or even erase any lines separating humans from the rest of the world (Birch, 1993; Plumwood, 2002). But how, if we follow the philosophers and our hearts, do we respect a being or place and use it, most particularly when use is the equivalent of destroying the subject of our affection?
Paper presentation at the Common Knowledges Symposium Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Culture, the Environment, and Labor, UCSD. May 2014