Chapter 4 Study Questions

  1. Should conservation biologists campaign to take biodiversity off the market and say in effect “not for sale at any price,” or should we try to show that the dollar value of biodiversity exceeds the dollar value of the lumber, electricity, beef, etc., whose production contributes to the erosion of biodiversity?
  2. Suppose a developer wants to develop a retirement end-of-life health care center outside Houston, Texas in the last remaining habitat of the Houston toad (Bufo houstonensis). If nonhuman species have only instrumental value, should the toad’s habitat be saved? If nonhuman species have intrinsic value, could any development proposal that usurped its habitat be morally justified?
  3. Suppose your brother is a logger or millworker in the Pacific Northwest. As a conservation biologist should you support a moratorium on all logging of old-growth in the region or do family obligations require you to be more concerned about your brother’s lifestyle and livelihood?
  4. In the website essay that accompanies the textbook “Climate Change and Global Justice,” Gillespie suggests that a response to global climate change can be rooted in a “moral commitment to environmental sustainability, motivated by deeply-held concern for the well being of future generations, other living beings, and earth systems.” In his essay he primarily discusses global commitments. Can you think of actions that might be taken in your region, city or town, and in your personal life? Do you think those actions also motivated by such moral commitments? By other motives? What would be some common criticisms of making decisions and choices on the basis of such commitments to future generations and other beings and systems?