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Ian S. Markham, Dilemmas and the future: the environment, animals, and plants, from Do Morals Matter?: A Guide to Contemporary Religious Ethics. Blackwell 2007.


Dean Markham’s text furnishes a concise, well documented survey of ethical paradigms for considering the future of the planet, its human population, and other species: (i) a human-centered ethic concerned with human survival that subordinates other concerns, extinctions of species considered acceptable so long as the extinctions do not affect human survival; (ii) an animal-centered ethic that considers environmental impacts on both humanity and other animals as morally relevant concerns as we are “called” to share the planet with other species and not abuse our power; (iii) a life-centered ethics that considers the health of the entire biosphere as the predominant moral concern, a view sometimes characterized as “deep ecology” because of its concern with the intrinsic value of all life; and (iv) a concern for human duty to protect inanimate nature. Within these contexts, Dean Markham explores the ethical issues of animal rights, protection of the biosphere, and protection of the physical landscape.  The chapter is posted with the author’s permission.