Collegian of Sekolah Tinggi Filsafat Seminari Pineleng, North Celebes, Indonesia
The demographic gradation of the population and the significant development of human civilization will be very influential not only in nature, but also in human life as well, considering that natural resource regeneration that is not comparable with population increase and fulfillment of the needs of each person will eventually result in the extinction of all creation species that live in the earth, including humans. Every week, around 1.6 million people are added to the world population. As a result, the number of people on earth is projected to increase from 6.7 to 9.3 billion or more between 2008 and 2050, with most of this growth occurring in developing countries. This raises important questions: Can the world provide an adequate standard of living for that many people in the future without causing widespread environmental damages?
If also considered the human mentality that is egocentric and anthropocentric in treating nature, then it can be said that the earth is in a critical condition. Why? Humans are economic beings (homo economicus) who will never be satisfied and always have the desire to be achieved. As the only creation that contains capacity within itself, humans naturally see nature as something that is merely instrumental value, so that the ontological dimension of other creations only reaches the limits of fulfillment of human needs. As a result, nature experiences a crisis that will slowly bring destruction to the future of human generations. This is the result of human supremacy.
1. Human Supremacy
Egocentrism is a human tendency to look at things only from a personal perspective without wanting to consider external perspectives that come from outside themselves. The egocentric man sees himself as the single most important. This term is often combined with the understanding of anthropocentrism which views that humans are the center of the universe and only they have the value while lives around him (animals and plants) are only a means to fulfill and satisfy human personal interests. Humans and their interests are considered to be the most decisive in the ecosystem order and in policies taken in relation to nature, both directly and indirectly. Meanwhile, nature is only used as a means for achieving human goals.
Finally, such a human perspective will lead to human supremacy. Supremacy can be defined as the highest (top) power. This term is used to designate the effort or action taken by human beings only to achieve their needs without taking into account the effects both directly and indirectly of the life around them. This action is supported by an egocentric and anthropocentric human mentality. Because humans perceive that only their own personal values and desires to be satisfied, the living entities around them are neglected and not maintained.
2. The Impact of Human Supremacy on Nature
It cannot be denied that the earth is experiencing its critical period. The reality is commonly experienced by humans today: air pollution, global warming, soil pollution, and clean water crisis. The state of the earth is certainly not separated from human influence. The increase of factories and the use of mechanical facilities both in industrialized countries and developing countries resulted in gas emissions, such as CO, CH4, N20, HFCs, PFCs, and SF6 which too resulted in the greenhouse effect. The sustainability of the greenhouse effect cycle causes the temperature on the earth getting warmer which has the potential to create flooding due to melting ice in the polar region. In addition, factory and household wastes also pollute water which not only effects on humans, but on species live in water. If humans do not immediately take steps, then slowly humans bring destruction to their own generation.
3. Efforts for Sustainable Life
The only great and tremendous event of all time that will never be recorded in the chronology of history is the extinction of life on earth. If humans continually deplete exploitation of natural resources, then humans open slowly the way to destruction for themselves and for other species and in the end the earth as a planet that has life will have the same fate as other planets that are empty of life. In the end, human beings who must determine for themselves what actions to be taken to prevent the extinction.
- Forming an ethical paradigm
The notion of egocentrism and anthropocentrism has dropped the existence of nature as something that only has instrumental value. In this case, humans tend to assume that organisms, species and other landscapes as pure free resources are utilized as they wish (as long as other human rights are not directly violated). However, humans are asked to expand the scope of moral considerations and responsibilities not only within the boundaries of interpersonal relations, but also must include nature. Nature also needs to be taken into account seeing that nature is a fundamental part of human life without it a morally good life is not possible. As a living entity, nature has intrinsic value in itself which is independent of instrumental values. Because each entity contains value in itself, the existing entity deserves to be protected regardless of whether it is directly or indirectly useful - in this case - for humans. There are two reasons why humans must respect the existence of other entities around: first, humans live under the same roof with a large number of entities on earth; second, human life depends on other entities. If humans ignore and do not maintain the survival of the entities, there will be an imbalance that will automatically have a negative impact on humans as part of the biotic community.
- Doing Efforts
It cannot be doubted that only humans are capable of thinking about nature and the right way to deal with it. In this case, humans act as subjects who are responsible for repairing natural damage that occurs. Ecological crises and species extinction will only stop or at least diminish if humans give certain limits to the fulfillment of their materialistic desires and consumption patterns or give certain considerations to the activities they wish to do. In this case, it's good for humans to consider externalities in their daily activities.
Considering that there will still be a next generation of humans who will inhabit the earth, it needs to be built environmentally sustainable society, a system of society that pays attention to the availability of natural resources today to be prepared for the next generation. In this case, humans must pay attention to the scientific principles of sustainability in order to realize this sustainable society: First, reliance on solar energy or utilizing solar energy to support plant photosynthesis in order to provide food for humans and animals; Second, respecting the biodiversity of each entity that has biodiversity; Third, implementing population control to limit the amount of natural resource usage. These principles also apply what is called an ecological footprint to estimate whether consumption of natural resources by humans is still within the limits of environmental carrying capacity or not.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Giovani Gosal