Our Obligation to the Natural Environment

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Our Obligation to the Natural Environment

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Green Builder Media CEO, Sara Gutterman

Friday, November 28, 2014 - 11:00am

CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living

CONTENT: Blog

Over the course of our nation’s history, there have been many issues that have sparked political and emotional division in the way that we see our relationship with nature.

Protection of the northern spotted owl is an example of one such issue. In the 1980’s, efforts to list the northern spotted owl as a threatened species fueled a heated conflict between conservationists and the timber industry over the logging of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.

Ecologists and environmentalists avowed that we have a duty to protect the Earth and all of its precious creatures, particularly ‘indicator species’ such as the spotted owl that gauge the health of their surrounding ecosystems. The timber industry asserted that the utilization of the planet’s bountiful resources represents progress, enabling us to feed, shelter, and provide for our society, and that replanting efforts would sufficiently counterbalance logging activity.

After years of controversy, legislation was passed in 1990 to declare the northern spotted owl a threatened species, requiring timber companies to leave at least 40% of the old-growth forests intact within a 1.3 mile radius of any spotted owl nest or activity site. Neither side was particularly satisfied—the timber industry cried that the measure would affect thousands of jobs, and environmentalists appealed for even greater protection of the wilderness areas under consideration.

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Keywords: Environment | Education | Environment | Keystone XL Pipeline | Old Growth Forests | Pacific Northwest | Trees | climate change | environment | natural environment | spotted owls

CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living

CONTENT: Blog

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