Biogeochemical Cycles Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:25:15
380 words
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Category: Biogeochemical

Type of paper: Essay

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With environmental rhetoric gaining increasing currency in the contemporary zeitgeist, it is commonly supposed that we have a moral responsibility to protect ecosystems and conserve biodiversity, particularly from the ecologically devastating impacts of a human civilization that depends on industrial systems and the capitalization of natural resources. Simply put, conventional thinking suggests that man must protect the environment from his own destructive tendencies, and that this moral responsibility is maintained as the sole reason why governments should implement protective measures on behalf of ecosystems.

However, by maintaining that moral and ethical responsibility as the reason behind conservation and biodiversity protection, we also risk overlooking the pragmatic and intelligent justification that provide strong reasons that can harness substantial political will and societal momentum to the environmental movement: That ecosystems provide a variety of services and resources ranging from pollination to water treatment, beneficial to human and non-human life, at little to no expense. (Schroeder, 2007)

As Emily Goodwin maintains in a discussion of the importance of natural capital, we need to include a very frank discussion of what we get from the Earth, with a goal of [maintaining] the functions and services they provide, such as flood protection, clean water, and clean air. (Steffen, Levitt & Kuck, 2008)

Governments should therefore take the initiative to protect ecosystems, simply because it makes good sense to do so, regardless of whether one feels a moral obligation to the planet or one is committed a sublime ethicality in personal impacts. As Tobis (2007) observes, the drive to live sustainably, to protect natural assets and the compulsion to limit consumption, while viewed by some as a negative responsibility and one that has effectively hindered the momentum of the environmental movement, is also a set of principles that makes economic sense. Measures to protect ecosystems means that governments recognize the economic finitude of natural capital, as well as the economic boons that ecosystems naturally provide.


Schroeder, K. (2007, August 12) Colonizing Planet Earth. Worldchanging. Retrieved on December 22, 2008 from:

Steffen, A; Levitt, J; Kuck, S. (2008, November 28) The Future of Public Lands in the United States. Worldchanging. Retrieved on December 22, 2008 from:

Tobis, M. (2007, April 30) My little world (and yours, too). Grist. Retrieved on December 22, 2008 from:

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