Lwati: A Journal of Contemporary Research

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A philosophical reflection on the debate concerning the state and the future of the natural environment

Felix Ayemere Airoboman, Jude Chiedo Ukaga


This essay examines the crises of opinion regarding the nature and character of environmental problems in the world today. The essay examines two philosophical positions in the debate on environmental degradation - the position of persons commonly referred to as ecological pessimists and that of persons commonly regarded as ecological optimists, thereafter, the study proceeds to adopt the position of ecological optimists, who trust in human and technological ingenuity in resolving any environmental problem. Next, study attempts a philosophical gaze at the debate arguing in consequence that due to the glaring, deplorable state of the environment, it is wiser and safer to align with ecological optimists in order not to avoid trading cheap on both human and environmental destiny. It argues that just as inductive trends of events can proves dubious at times; nature, despite its consistent pattern overtime can equally prove dubious, by manifesting signs, contrary to its observable consistent pattern and contrary to human expectations. The study holds that environmental problems and threats are real; and unless we act now, the anticipated and unexpected feedbacks from nature can either wring human neck or human impact may wring the neck of nature. Alternatively, both could occur, resulting in mutual catastrophe. It argues that given the spate of the human impacts on nature, and the threatening consequences therefrom, although we do not have assurance for ultimate victory over these problems, it is better to constantly make efforts toward resolving environmental problems than to do otherwise.

Keywords: Ecological degradation, Environmental threats, Environmental pessimism, global collapse, Environmental optimism, Myth of ecological collapse, Nature preservation, Environmental ethics

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