Environmental Ethics

Volume 13, Issue 4, Winter 1991

Alastair S. Gunn
Pages 291-310

The Restoration of Species and Natural Environments

My aims in this article are threefold. First, I evaluate attempts to drive a wedge between the human and the natural in order to show that destroyed natural environments and extinct species cannot be restored; next, I examine the analogy between aesthetic value and the value of natural environments; and finally, I suggest briefly a different set of analogies with such human associations as families and cultures. My tentative conclusion is that while the recreation of extinct species may be logically impossible, the restoration of natural environments raises only (formidable, no doubt) technical difficulties. Opponents of destructive developments which do not exterminate species, therefore, had better look elsewhere, rather than relying on the claim that restoration is logically impossible.