'Respect for nature' in the earth charter: The value of species and the value of individuals

Ethics, Place and Environment 7 (1 & 2):97 – 107 (2004)
Abstract
This paper explores the idea of 'respect for nature' in the Earth Charter. It maintains that the Earth Charter proposes a broadly holistic environmental ethic where, in situations of conflict, species are given ethical priority over the lives of individual sentient organisms. The paper considers policy implications of this perspective, looking by means of example at the current European environmental policy dispute about the ruddy and white-headed duck. Questions about the value of species and biological diversity this raises are explored. The paper concludes that the principle of valuing individual animal lives should be given more prominence in Earth Charter principles.
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