Planet Earth is a sentient being – part 2

Does Planet Earth have the right to use

jus ad bellum?

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”  Albert Einstein.

Part 1 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.
Part 4 can be found here.

I’ve been an environmentalist since I was six years old and not eaten animals for most of my adult life. My aim is to fulfil my ‘626’ mission which is the number of weeks in 12 years I have given myself to see Planet Earth (Biosphere[1]) a recognized member state of the United Nations (UN). This I believe can be achieved by uniting all environmental groups (and their membership) into a single representative voice, an Earth echo. This will be the sound of millions, if not billions of people who will glue their collective moral governance to pink-lobby governments who will in turn petition the UN to give Earth non-personhood status.

My three core points are:

  1. Planet Earth is a sentient being. PART 1 & 2

  2. Jus ad bellum – Right to war,  just cause in self-defence[2]. PART 3

  3. A change in Ethics. PART 4

Deep verses Shallow Ecology

The problem with current environmental ethics is it asks the question; can an act (even one that benefits man but causes environmental degradation) be justified to the greater general population that cannot be reasonably rejected? (T. M. Scanlon, 2000). Consequently the answer is yes it can be justified within current ethics because the greater number of people benefit but in doing so causes suffering to the Biosphere.  This major flaw in shallow ecology[3] (Anes Naess, 1973) is that human agency puts itself at the centre of the moral universe (Peter Singer, 2010) and that weakens or dilutes effective deep ecology[4] from dominating environmentalism.

‘A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.’  (Aldo Leopold, 1970)

If deep ecology of land ethics as summed up above by Aldo Leopold is to be successful then a paradigm shift in philosophical thinking is needed to preserve nature for its own sake first and foremost thus ensuring a secure future for our descendant’s well-being. I argue that a universal maxim of basic human rights to live in harmony with nature has become so buried beneath utilitarian selfishness when clearly the categorical imperative (Immanuel Kant, 1785) ought to be treating the Biosphere with respect. We depend on it for survival and we ought to support the Biosphere’s needs because it supports ours as a matter of our life and death.

Bees

To defend this claim I shall take Bees as an example. Bees are under attack from human agency that scientists have called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Bees pollenate 70% of the world’s food source but billions of these gentle productive citizens of the biotic community are dying or being killed by human activity and when they have gone from the Biosphere the question will be ‘when will the food wars start?’ To answer this, I reckon we will probably be held to ransom by agricultural biotechnology companies charging exorbitant fees for doing what nature has provided for free. Food will become a luxury item.

Bees are precious

Take this for example. In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams — for construction, surveying disasters and far more. Don’t you think that that ‘far more’ could be to utilize this technology for artificial cross-pollination? Yep! doing the Bees out of a job and making us wholly reliant on technology is a possibly that shouldn’t be ignored. Another very serious possibility of food domination by corporatism came into the public domain recently in the aftermath of a whistleblower who left Monsanto and told about their research to breed a genetically modified Bee who will only pollenate Monsanto GMO crops!

This is serious and happening in the world today. It is not science fiction.

Einstein’s definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’, why then are we still committing the moral equivalence of murder (Peter Singer, 2010) to both the Biosphere and humans by causing environmental destruction?

Pure practical reason (Immanuel Kant, 1785) is needed to usher in new governance structures based on goodness and wage war on those in leadership to make them cease putting profits before people or planet [5].

This is the main problem, a big one that needs a big solution.

Humans know the golden rule ‘do unto others’ but under the ‘veil of ignorance’ (Peter Rawls, 1999) the social contract to look after the environment as handed down through millennia has been silenced by the greed of modern consumerism. To make a cake however one has to break a few eggs, and those eggs are establishing Planet Earth as a sentient being, amending current international laws to give Earth member status within the UN community and then using  jus ad bellum [2] to wage war against the aggressors of the Biosphere.


[1] Part of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere that contains the entire terrestrial ecosystem, and extends from ocean depths to about six kilometers (3.7 miles) above sea level. It contains all living organisms and what supports them: soil, subsurface water, bodies of water, air and includes hydrosphere and lithosphere. Also called ecosphere. (http://bit.ly/yeEyG6) Accesses 18/12/11.

[2] Jus ad bellum is Latin for “right to war” and is part of the ethics of the Just War Theory and International Law.

[3] Preserving the Biosphere for the benefit of humankind based on traditional moral frameworks.

[4] Preserving the Biosphere for the sake of the Biosphere, everything else is a bonus. See also Anes Naess and George Sessions “Basic Principles of Deep Ecology”, Ecophilosophy, 6 (1984).

[5] See the concept of Triple Bottom Line Business Ethics Quarterly Getting to the Bottom of “Triple Bottom Line”(pp. 243-262) Wayne Norman, Chris MacDonald Stable.

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