Sample Theology Essay Paper on Comparative Worldviews

The conflicting views on relations between human beings and the nonhuman natural
world regarding conservation are not new. It is no secret that human activities have negatively
impacted the enjoyment of ecological services. In 1962, Rachel Carson publicized a book titled
Silent Spring that cautioned on human activities mainly from agricultural practices and the use of
pesticides being a danger to wildlife and other living organisms. The book provoked a debate on
what on we now know as pollution leading to coining of value theory. From a conservationist
point of view, nature has an intrinsic value mainly because of its complexities and diversities of
organisms and ecological systems. On the other hand, instrumental value proponents perceive the
nonhuman natural end as a means to an end mainly to satisfy their needs. Essentially, it connotes
to valuing the natural world because of the benefits you can derive. Whereas ecofeminists, land
ethics, and deep ecologists perceive deforestation as one of the greatest threats to global
biodiversity and conservation, utilitarian and anthropocentrisms view deforestation as a means to
an end in furthering human quest.
This is a comparative paper that explores the world views of deep ecology, ecofeminism,
utilitarianism, land ethics, and anthropocentrism in the context of deforestation as a threat to
biodiversity specifically as to what has intrinsic or instrumental value. Instrumental value is
normally a value apportioned to a thing because of its importance, mainly as a means to an end.
In contrast, intrinsic value is an end in itself and mainly created by a valuer or it may already
exist in something (Palmer, 2012). Value objectivists deduce that value is not made by humans
but instead already exists in nature while value subjectivists take the view that value originates or
is made by humans (Justus, Colyvan, Regan & Maguire, 2009).

Similarities in Worldviews
The biggest threat to deforestation is from anthropogenic activities. Clear-cutting and
logging have been attributed to a rise in greenhouse gas emission, leading to climate change
(Okereke & Dooley, 2010). As a consequence, animal habitat and natural resources have been
adversely impacted, thus affecting carbon dioxide circulation and the water cycle. According to
the land ethics perspective, the natural world has intrinsic value. All species, living on non-living
have a unique role to play. The relation between human, land and the biotic community are
interconnected. Accordingly, we ought to value the land for its role in facilitating a symbiotic
relationship within the ecosystem. Also, considering that greenhouse gases from anthropogenic
sources are attributable to deforestation, it is essential to conserve our forests so that we can reap
the natural value of the natural world. Allchin (2019), argued for conversation wilderness as an
acknowledgment of Aldo Leopold’s work. Thus the expansiveness of land to include soil, water,
plants and animals is recognizing the intrinsic value of nature.
Similarly, ecofeminists have argued that human-centered theories, mainly based on
dualism and hierarchies, have underestimated the intrinsic value of the nonhuman natural world
(Gaard, 2011). This perspective view women and nature as victims of exploitation. Thus, those
moral values that attempt to restore and respect women and nature hinge on intrinsic value.
According to Coric (2014), modernization has brought happiness to the male population while
subjugating nature and women to violence and social inequalities. Men perceive women as wild
and untamed just like nature. Consequently, they have tamed women by not educating them in
the same manner as nature (deforestation). However, female liberation efforts have in reverse
tamed the exploitative male pollution by liberating nonhuman nature through various movements
such as the Chipko movement in India, Green Belt movement in Kenya, Love Canal in State of

New York (Coric, 2014). Isla (2005) noted that the separation of people from nature has lead to
uncertainty, fragmentation and alienation. A change in perception can help correct such a notion.
Isla (2005) concludes that conservation as an enclosure violates the rights of local communities
and hinders their interactions with nature.
In the same breath, deep ecologists argue that all living and non –living things on Earth
have intrinsic value. And more importantly, the value is independent of the benefits of nonhuman
earth for human ends. The goal of this worldview is to preserve a healthy and livable planet.
Also, we have to take radical steps to protect nonhuman nature because biodiversity has intrinsic
value which is central to human survival and we must shun consumerist ideals in favor of
nonhuman ideals. Deforestation has impaired natural beauty and the diversity of birds, animals,
plant communities (Benshirim, 2016). From a bird watcher’s point of view, we must protect our
forests and use pesticides and other chemicals responsibly without interfering with germinating
small trees (Benshirim, 2016). Conservational practices must be put in place to ensure that the
intrinsic value of the ecosystem remains intact.
Differences in Worldviews
According to the utilitarian worldview, the need to protect nature is for our human benefit
because of the valuable resources it possesses. For example, we need timber for our workshops,
medicine for our health, food and other allied benefits such as water, oxygen, among others
(Schlaht, 2017). As a consequence, we must protect these resources for our good because
anthropogenic need gives value to nature. Essentially, utilitarian conversationalist have argued
that we are protecting the forests because it serves human needs and not because of its intrinsic
value but also guaranteeing the flow of natural resources in the future (Schlaht, 2017). The

protection of nonhuman nature is solely vital for nature’s ability to sustain human ends. This
perspective will not frown at logging activities because it does not elevate nature’s needs over
those of humans (Schlaht, 2017). In essence, the forests are important as long as they can give
good/value to humans. This position is contrary to land ethic, ecofeminisms, and deep ecology.
According to anthropocentric, deforestation can be perceived from a human-centered
value point. Here a thing with value must have uses for humans to be classified as valuable
(Scales, 2012). For example, forests have value to humans because they offer goods such as
timber and aesthetic beauty. Also, the abundance of natural resources in forests exists to meet the
ends of humans (Scales, 2012). This worldview would support conservational initiatives that are
useful to humans. For example, protecting forest to guarantee water sources do not dry up.


Whereas deep ecology, ecofeminism, and land ethic worldviews perceive the nonhuman
natural world as having intrinsic value, human anthropogenic activities such as deforestation is a
massive threat to existing biodiversity. According to these worldviews, the resources we get
from the forest such as timber, moderate climate, food, medicine, and aesthetics, among others
should not blind humans thinking they are above nonhuman species, but instead, a symbiotic
relationship exists. Thus, humans should see the actual value of nature and treat it with respect.
On the other hand, anthropocentric and utilitarian worldviews adopt a human-centered approach
to deforestation. Here the forests exist to give human beings resources to meet specific ends.
Therefore, deforestation is mainly viewed as a natural consequence in quest of satisfying human
needs. Thus, if we were to conserve the forests, we would be doing it plainly for future human
ends rather than protecting the intrinsic value of nature.


Table 1
Worldviews Who/What has
Intrinsic Value?

Who/What has
Instrumental Value?

Application to

Deep Ecology According to this
view, all living and
non –living things
on earth have
intrinsic value
(Benshirim, 2016).

On the contrary, the
lives of all living
things on earth have
no instrumental

In relation to
practices must
be put in place
to ensure that
the intrinsic
value of the
remains intact

Eco-feminism According to this
view, women and
nature have
intrinsic value
(Coric, 2014).

According to eco-
feminists, nonhuman
nature lack should not
be perceived from the
instrumental value

This worldview
can be
replicated in
management to
help integrate
with nature
(Isla, 2005).

Anthropocentric This perspective
does not recognize
the intrinsic value
of nature (Scales,

These are human-
centered values.

this worldview
would support
initiatives that
are useful to
(Scales, 2012).
For example,
forest to
guarantee water
sources do not
dry up.

Utilitarianism In some cases,
because nature has
intrinsic value
(Schlaht, 2017).

Nature has
instrumental value
((Schlaht, 2017).

In conservation
the ecosystem
has intrinsic
value ends

Land Ethics Under this
intrinsic value is
given more value
and locus (Allchin,

Nature should not be
viewed from an
instrumental value

this concept
can be used to
but creating
buffer zones



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