There are different ways of looking at nature and our relationship with it. Because of this, people can take the same data, be logically consistent in their analysis of that data, and still arrive at different conclusions, all because they start out with different values and assumptions.
The human-centred (aka Rick Santorum) worldview says that:
- we can manage nature to meet our ever-increasing needs
- we can use technology and ingenuity to ensure we don’t run out of resources
- there is almost unlimited potential for economic growth
- our success depends on managing the earth for our benefit.
The life-centred worldview says that:
- we have an ethical responsibility to be caring managers of the earth
- we probably won’t run out of resources, but we shouldn’t waste them
- we should encourage environmentally beneficial forms of economic growth
- our success depends on managing the earth for our benefit and for the rest of nature.
The earth-centred worldview says that:
- we are part of nature and totally dependent on it, and nature exists for all species
- resources are limited and should not be wasted
- we should encourage earth-sustaining forms of economic growth
- our success depends on learning how nature sustains itself and integrating those ideas into our way of living.
Before I started my paper in global environmental studies, it’s fair to say that I had something between a human-centred worldview and a life-centred worldview (I would like to think it was closer to the life-centred worldview). Now I think I can honestly say I hold an earth-centred worldview, because I have learned how dependent we are on nature and how limited our resources really are.