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Ecology and Humanism

Marfenin N.N.

The paper begins by historical background, that clarifies the meaning of the terms “humanism” and “ecology”. Both of these terms underwent a crucial evolution during their history.

The expression “Ecology and Humanism” seems to be quite natural and euphonic at first glance. However, when inspecting these terms more closely nothing is common between them. Nevertheless, the main trend in modern development of mankind is best expressed by blending the themes of ecology and humanism.

Ecology started in the middle of XIXth century as subdivision of biology and soon transformed into its independent branch, dealing with various biological aspects of organisms, populations and communities. There is not a slight hint on the priority regarding humanitarian relationships among species in traditional (biological) ecology, and particularly the prosperity of a single species Homo sapiens.

Humanism, as trend in culture, originated in XIV century in Italy and spread throughout the Western Europe beginning XV century. First appearing as a form of protection for aristocratic treasures from ascetic medieval church, this notion underwent long evolution. It started in art and created the ways for science and scientific and technological progress. It also contributed to the growth of economy, education, social changes and revolutions. The well known principle of I.V. Mitchurin, that characterizes the whole epoch in the beginning of the XXth century – “we should not wait for nature to grant us something, take what we need from it is our main task” can be considered as a distant portrayal of humanitarian paradigm.

The ecology also went through amazing transformations. From the narrow branch of biology, it became the colossal by its scope interdisciplinary science during only the last half of a century – a sort of megascience, studying the influence on living organism not only the natural environmental factors, that always existed in nature, but also numerous processes connected to human activity. As in case with humanism, the ecology revealed the processes with global impact, and namely with those processes people have some unpleasant expectations and possible calamities. People learn to discover the new resources, i.e. to explore the natural world more and more. Nothing similar was observed in the biosphere before.

Still being one of the millions of species inhabiting the Earth, people are not controlled by natural factors. The natural mechanisms are not sufficient at present to preserve the biosphere. New methods for regulations, based on understanding of natural processes and to some degree managing such processes, are required. The antropogenic regulation is the forecast of natural cataclysms and punctual decrease in speed of the process. It is the choice between the immediate profit and long-term revenues in the usage of natural resources. The new ideas for people should be formed considering the fact, that one species is taking the responsibility for practicing “safety rules on the planet”, as well as preservation of stable equilibrium of energy and financial inputs. This concept was named “the ecological imperative”.

The current ecological ideas are the next step in development of humanitarian ethics. Now we are talking not only about mutual respect between people, but also the prosperity of future generations, and about preservation of biosphere – “the community house” we live in together with millions of other species. These ideas are aimed at stable development of mankind, i.e. on preservation of stable and healthy environment during unlimited time and are based on few fundamental factors.

The main principle of stable development should become constant frugality, i.e. meaningful and steady decrease in consumption of various mineral resources, fresh water, energy etc.

The second principle is the recycling of all wastes to prevent their accumulation in dangerous for people and ecosystems states. It is comfortable for businessmen and government to forget about it “for some time”. However, very soon our generation will be required to compensate using its national wealth, as well as health for irresponsible “time credit”.

The conscious self-limitation of consumer’s instincts is more effective, than prohibitions, taxes and custom dues altogether.

Persuasion instead of forcing. If the totalitarian regimes are able to press for implications of their decisions, the “greens” use the experience and capabilities of democratic society, when each person has the right to have its own beliefs, still obeying the majority. At the same time the “greens” go further, being tolerant to anyone who disagrees with them. They first of all pay attention to their own actions and make contributions to possible decrease in environmental crisis. The “green ideas” are based on freedom and personality value but gain significant correcting power due to cooperation

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