Conserving Natural Values to Mitigate Environmental Degradation in Africa
One of the gravest predicaments that Africa is suffering from is environmental degradation. Environmental degradation implies the diminishment of the beauty, quality, goodness, and viability of the earth and its ecosystems. Environmental degradation is precipitated by massive deforestation, desertification, drought, forced migration, war, food shortages, atmospheric and ocean pollution from mining and exploitation of natural resources, human insecurities, misappropriation of environmental funds, global warming and climate change, etc. Many of these that lead to environmental degradation are anthropogenic (caused by human activities and behaviours). Anthropogenic activities that degrade the environment are often informed by systems of thoughts that see no intrinsic value in nature or the earth. Nature is simply seen for its utilitarian and human satisfaction purpose. The earth is simply seen as existing for human needs and purpose. Nature exists to benefits human beings. Humans are at liberty to use the earth as they desire. Other organisms have no purpose except for the good and welfare of human beings. The interests of other non-human realities do not count. This paper argues that there are values in the natural world. Beyond the benefits that nature provides for humans and the entire ecosystem, nature has intrinsic value. While humans are to make use of nature to sustain themselves like other organisms in nature, humans have a responsibility to conserve the intrinsic values in nature. The degradation and deterioration of nature takes from it religious, spiritual, aesthetic, intrinsic, ecosystemic, and other values in nature. The paper will use a critical analytic and hermeneutic method to traces various theorists on the value of nature. It will examine the situation and reality of environmental degradation. It will equally present what can be done to conserve natural values. The paper finds and concludes that conserving natural values will help to mitigate environmental degradation
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