Human-centred Vs Stewardship Worldviews
My environmental worldview aligns with stewardship. Many resources are finite and shouldn’t be wasted, humans have a responsibility (duty of care) to leave the earth in a condition similar to how they found it because earth and its resources are on loan from future generations. This requires finding sustainable ways of improving our quality of life without negatively affecting the ability of future generations to achieve their needs. It is a future-focused world view.
In contrast a human-centred worldview holds that natural resources are for their benefit alone. The value of Earth and other species is based on how useful they are to humans. Success for people who hold this view is measured in terms of their ability to control nature to meet their needs and wants. All economic growth is deemed good and the potential for it to continue is almost unlimited. Long-term costs due to environmental damage are disregarded. It is a short-term view emphasising profits and short-term efficiency.
Differing environmental worldviews are at the heart of the climate change debate raging today. 97% of scientists state that lowering greenhouse gas emissions is critical to the mitigation of human-induced climate change. What you do with this information, what ideological stance you adopt, what behaviours you reassess, what action you take, what political party you vote for, will reflect your environmental world view.
It is no surprise that many people are confused. I have often heard people say “I don’t believe in climate change”. Scott Morrison, Australia’s Prime Minister, is a major reason for the confusion. When school students strike for climate change, he tells them to go back to school and don’t be so anxious. Anybody in the older generation (who hasn’t been involved in life-long learning) would be forgiven for thinking that there was nothing to worry about and that in all clear conscience they can go back to their lives and resume business as usual.
Australian schools have an excellent Geography curriculum. Geography students are learning about climate change and they would be delighted to sit down with parents and grandparents to share their knowledge. If you are a fence sitter on the climate change debate I recommend you get a hold of a year 10 Geography textbook such as Pearson Geography 10 (ISBN:9781442553903). You will learn about places and people and how they interact with the biophysical environment. If learning a bit more about geography excites you and broadens your mind you will be able to decide what side of the fence you truly belong.