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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.