Saturday, March 15, 2014

Conserving Life for Posterity

People of the past have had an impact on people of the present. Early humans brought down creatures like the saber tooth cat and the wholly mammoth leaving all subsequent generations without the privilege of observing these animals in the flesh. The same is happening but on a massive scale now. Posterity will look back upon our time period as the destructors of countless species and ecosystems. We have a moral obligation to those yet unborn to protect biodiversity and thusly the quality of life for future beings. In 1990, Edith Brown Weiss wrote about the principals of intergenerational equity:

In all that we do, we inherently represent not only ourselves but past and future generations. We represent past generations, even while trying to obliterate the past, because we embody what they passed on to us. We represent future generations because the decisions we make today affect the well-being of all persons who come after us and the integrity and robustness of the planet they will inherit.
We have a moral obligation to leave the planet in as good a condition as it was when we inherited it. The well-being of our distant grandchildren is tied to our actions as we are tied to our distant grandparents.  It is imperative that present society find ways to reverse our negative impact on biodiversity. 

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