What is it about?
Over the past five decades, scientists have been documenting negative anthropogenic environmental change, expressing increasing alarm and urging dramatic socio-ecological transformation in response. A host of international meetings have been held but the erosion of biological diversity continues to accelerate. The lack of effective political action begs the question as to why. Herein we contend that part of the answer may lie in the anthropocentric ethical premises and moral rhetoric typically deployed in the cause of conservation. We further argue that it is essential to advance moral arguments for biodiversity conservation that are not just based on perceived human interests but on ecocentric values, namely, convictions that species and ecosystems have value and interests that should be respected regardless of whether they serve human needs and aspirations.
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Why is it important?
A broader array of moral rationales for biodiversity conservation, we conclude, would be more likely to lead to effective plans, adopted and enforced by governments, that are designed to conserve biological diversity. A good place to start in this regard would be to explicitly incorporate ecocentric values into the recommendations that will be made at the conclusion of the fifteenth meeting of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which has been scheduled to be held in Kunming, China, in October 2020.
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This page is a summary of: The need for ecocentrism in biodiversity conservation, Conservation Biology, May 2020, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13541.
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