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Unit 4 Text A Achieving sustainable environmentalism翻译,原文和录音

[2018年11月6日] 来源:新视野大学英语Unit 4 编辑:给力英语网   字号 [] [] []  

Achieving sustainable environmentalism


1 Environmental sensitivity is now as required an attitude in polite society as is say belief in democracy or disapproval of plastic surgery. But now that everyone from Ted Turner to George H. W. Bush has claimed love for Mother Earth how are we to choose among the dozens of conflicting proposals regulations and laws advanced by congressmen and constituents alike in the name of the environment? Clearly not everything with an environmental claim is worth doing. How do we segregate the best options and consolidate our varying interests into a single sound policy?


2 There is a simple way. First differentiate between environmental luxuries and environmental necessities. Luxuries are those things that would be nice to have if costless. Necessities are those things we must have regardless. Call this distinction the definitive rule of sane environmentalism which stipulates that combating ecological change that directly threatens the health and safety of people is an environmental necessity. All else is luxury.


3 For example preserving the atmosphere  stopping ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect  is an environmental necessity. Recently scientists reported that ozone damage is far worse than previously thought. Ozone depletion has a correlation not only with skin cancer and eye problems it also destroys the ocean's ecology the beginning of the food chain atop which we humans sit.


4 The possible thermal consequences of the greenhouse effect are far deadlier: melting ice caps flooded coastlines disrupted climate dry plains and ultimately empty breadbaskets. The American Midwest feeds people at all corners of the atlas. With the planetary climate changes are we prepared to see Iowa take on New Mexico's desert climate or Siberia take on Iowa's moderate climate?


5 Ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect are human disasters and they are urgent because they directly threaten humanity and are not easily reversible. A sane environmentalism the only kind of environmentalism that will strike a chord with the general public begins by openly declaring that nature is here to serve human beings. A sane environmentalism is entirely a human focused regime: It calls upon humanity to preserve nature but merely within the parameters of self-survival.


6 Of course this human focus runs against the grain of a contemporary environmentalism that indulges in overt earth worship. Some people even allege that the earth is a living organism. This kind of environmentalism likes to consider itself spiritual. It is nothing more than sentimental. It takes for example a highly selective view of the kindness of nature one that is incompatible with the reality of natural disasters. My nature worship stops with the twister that came through Kansas or the dreadful rains in Bangladesh that eradicated whole villages and left millions homeless.


7 A non-sentimental environmentalism is one founded on Protagoras's idea that "Man is the measure of all things." In establishing the sovereignty of man such a principle helps us through the dense forest of environmental arguments. Take the current debate raging over oil drilling in a corner of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Environmentalist coalitions mobilizing against a legislative action working its way through the US Congress for the legalization of such exploration propagate that Americans should be preserving and economizing energy instead of drilling for it. This is a false either-or proposition. The US does need a sizable energy tax to reduce consumption. But it needs more production too. Government estimates indicate a nearly fifty-fifty chance that under the ANWR rests one of the five largest oil fields ever discovered in America. It seems illogical that we are not finding safe ways to drill for oil in the ANWR.

8 The US has just come through a war fought in part over oil. Energy dependence costs Americans not just dollars but lives. It is a bizarre sentimentalism that would deny oil that is peacefully attainable because it risks disrupting the birthing grounds of Arctic caribou.


9 I like the caribou as much as the next person. And I would be rather sorry if their mating patterns were disturbed. But you can't have your cake and eat it too. And in the standoff of the welfare of caribou versus reducing an oil reliance that gets people killed in wars I choose people over caribou every time.


10 I feel similarly about the spotted owl in Oregon. I am no enemy of the owl. If it could be preserved at a negligible cost I would agree that it should be  biodiversity is after all necessary to the ecosystem. But we must remember that not every species is needed to keep that diversity. Sometimes aesthetic aspects of life have to be sacrificed to more fundamental ones. If the cost of preserving the spotted owl is the loss of livelihood for 30000 logging families I choose the families (with their saws and chopped timber) over the owl.


11 The important distinction is between those environmental goods that are fundamental and those that are not. Nature is our ward not our master. It is to be respected and even cultivated. But when humans have to choose between their own well-being and that of nature nature will have to accommodate.


12 Humanity should accommodate only when its fate and that of nature are inseparably bound up. The most urgent maneuver must be undertaken when the very integrity of humanity's habitat e.g. the atmosphere or the essential geology that sustains the core of the earth is threatened. When the threat to humanity is lower in the hierarchy of necessity a more modest accommodation that balances economic against health concerns is in order. But in either case the principle is the same: protect the environment  because it is humanity's environment.


13 The sentimental environmentalists will call this saving nature with a totally wrong frame of mind. Exactly. A sane and intelligible environmentalism does it not for nature's sake but for our own.

实现可持续性发展的环保主义


在上流社会,对环境的敏感就如同信仰民主、反对整容一样,是一种不可或缺的态度。然而,既然从泰德·特纳到乔治·W.H.布什,每个人都声称自己热爱地球母亲,那么,在由议员、选民之类的人以环境名义而提出的众多的相互矛盾的提案、规章和法规中,我们又该如何做出选择呢?显而易见,并不是每一项冠以环境保护名义的事情都值得去做。我们怎样才能分离出最佳选择,并且把我们各自不同的兴趣统一在同一个合理的政策当中呢?


有一种简便的方法。首先要区分什么是环境奢侈品,什么是环境必需品。奢侈品是指那些无需人类付出代价就能拥有的给人美好感受的东西。必需品则是指那些无论付出什么代价,都一定要去拥有的东西。这一区分原则可以被称为理性环保主义的至高原则。它规定,对那些直接威胁人类健康与安全的生态变化采取应对措施是环境保护的必需品,而其他则都属于奢侈品。


例如,保护大气层——阻止臭氧损耗及控制温室效应——是环境保护的必需品。近来,科学家报告说臭氧层遭受破坏的程度远比我们先前认为的要严重得多。臭氧损耗不仅与皮肤癌及眼疾有关,而且它还会破坏海洋生态。而海洋生态是食物链的起点,人类则位于该食物链的顶端。


温室效应所可能引发的热效应是非常具有毁灭性的:冰川融化、海岸线被淹没、气候遭受破坏、平原干涸,最终食物消失殆尽。美国中西部地区的粮食供养着全世界。随着全球气候的变化,我们难道准备看到衣阿华州变成新墨西哥州的沙漠气候,而西伯利亚变成衣阿华州的温和气候吗?


臭氧损耗和温室效应是人类的灾难,而且是需要紧急处理的灾难,因为它们直接威胁到人类,且后果很难扭转。理性环保主义——唯一能够引起公众共鸣的环保主张——首先公开声明,自然是服务于人类的。理性环保主义是一种完全以人类为中心的思想。它号召人类保护自然,但是是在人类自我生存得到保证的前提之下。


当然,这种以人类为中心的主张与当下盛行的环保主义是格格不入的,后者已经沉溺于对地球的公然崇拜。有的人甚至声称地球是一个活的生物体。这种环保主义喜欢把自己看作是神圣的,其实它只是感情用事而已。比如,在自然是否友善的问题上,当下的环保主义采取了高度选择性的片面的观点,而这种观点与自然造成的灾难这一现实是不相协调的。当龙卷风肆虐堪萨斯州,当瓢泼大雨袭击孟加拉国,毁灭了整座整座的村庄,使几百万人失去家园的时候,我对自然的崇拜便停止了。


非感情用事的环保主义是建立在普罗泰哥拉的格言“人是万物的尺度”的基础上的。在建立人类权威的过程中,这条原则会帮助我们梳理各种错综复杂的关于环境保护的争议。就以当前关于是否在北极国家野生动物保护区的某一角落开采石油的激烈争论为例吧。环保主义者联盟动员人们反对目前正在试图通过美国国会审议、使这一开采行为变得合法化的一项立法行动。他们散布说美国应该保护并且节约能源而不是开采能源。这其实是一个错误的非此即彼的主张。美国确实需要征收高额的能源税以减少能源消耗,但同时也需要生产更多的能源。政府的估测表明,在北极国家野生动物保护区的地下蕴藏着美国五大油田之一的可能性几乎到达50%。我们没有寻找安全的方法开采北极国家野生动物保护区地下的石油,这看上去是不符合情理的。


美国刚刚经历了一场战争,其部分原因就是为了获取石油。对能源的依赖使美国不但付出了金钱的代价,而且也付出了生命的代价。就因为可能破坏北美驯鹿的繁衍地而放弃能够以和平手段获得的石油,这是一种十分怪异的感情用事。


我像别人一样喜欢驯鹿。如果他们的交配模式受到干扰,我会感到非常遗憾。但是,鱼和熊掌不能兼得。是要保护驯鹿,还是要为了避免人们在战争中丧生而减少对石油的依赖,面对这一僵局,我每次都会选择人类而不是驯鹿。


我对俄勒冈州的斑点猫头鹰的态度也是一样。我绝不是仇视猫头鹰。如果花很少的代价就可以保护猫头鹰,我会赞同它应受保护——毕竟,生物多样性对生态系统是非常必要的。但是,我们必须记住,保持生物多样性并不意味着要留住每一种物种。有时候,为了更加根本的利益,我们不得不牺牲一部分生活中美的东西。如果为了保护斑点猫头鹰而让三万伐木工家庭失去生计,我会选择伐木工家庭(包括他们的锯子和砍伐的木材),而不是猫头鹰。


重要的是,我们要区分哪些东西对环境保护是根本性的,哪些是非根本性的。自然受我们的监护,而不是我们的主人。我们应该尊重自然,也可以开发利用自然。但是,如果人类必须在自身的福利和自然的福利之间作出选择,自然则必须作出让步。


只有当人类的命运与自然的命运密不可分时,人类才应该作出让步。当人类栖息地的完整性(比如大气层或维持地球核心的基本地质状况)受到威胁时,人类就必须立即调整自己的行为。而当人类受到的威胁不大,不太需要对自己的行为进行调整时,恰当的做法是平衡考虑经济方面和与之相对的健康方面的因素,以便作出适度的调整。但是,无论是哪种情况,其遵循的原则是一致的:保护环境,因为这是我们人类的环境。


感情用事的环保主义者会说这种拯救自然的思路是完全错误的。的确是这样。理性、明确的环保主义保护环境是为了人类自身,而不是为了自然。