Environmental Ethics

Volume 41, Issue 3, Fall 2019

Inter-Continental Dialogues I

Sandra Baquedano Jer
Pages 237-247

Ecocide or Environmental Self-Destruction?

The anthropocentric destruction of nature can be viewed as a form of self-destruction, which affects individuals and also the human species. It entails active destruction of the natural surroundings that are vital for the preservation of the planet’s biodiversity. But should ecocide, or environmental self-destruction of the life of certain species, be considered an “interruption” to the life of such species, or it is part of their natural life course? Are ecocide and environmental destruction identical, or substantively different, phenomena? Prevention of the death of biotic species, and of the massive destruction of abiotic species, constitutes the ultimate challenge for both environmental and animal ethics. Modern mass extinction of species can be understood as a form of speciesism, and the prevention of such extinction is the most urgent challenge for any ethics centered on the recognition of the value, or rights, of nonhuman species.