Empirical/Objective/Atheistic Arguments in Support of Environmentalism?

On what basis do you posit an argument for protecting the environment, protecting endangered species, and just not generally taking over the whole planet & killing everything in our way? That’s assuming you share my concern about these issues; abstractly I suspect it’s just as possible to argue the opposite.

My intuitive “because nature is good & the trees speak to me” arguments need fortification, and I’d rather not rely on religion to bolster them. And the science seems shaky at times due to the numerous false dire predictions made over the years.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you ought to. If you look at the environment as finite (which it is) the ability of it to support our current lifestyle into the future depends on rational/responsible consumption of the resource. Otherwise you’ve shot yourself in the foot.

Huh? How many people actually rely on religion to justify enironmentalism?

I want to protect my environment so I and my descendents aren’t sucking down poison and dying of emphysema.

I want to protect endangered species and habitats because I realize just how complicated ecosystems are, and how fragile.

I think the value of a vibrant and diverse planetary ecosystem far outweighs the debatable benefits humanity might receive from razing the planet.

I’m sorry, but I cannot think of any reasons for environmentalism that do not involve empiricism and objectivity. Can you?

There is also a strong economic argument. Pollution represents a massive market failure, because pollution is an significant external cost.

Most of the economic costs of producing a good or service are met by the firm producing that service. However one economic cost - pollution, is not. This distorts the market, making it more inefficient, and effectively subsidises those goods/services which produce pollution in their manufacture. Note that the economically optimal amount of pollution is not zero, but it is a lot less than an unfettered free market system would produce.

Additionally viable diverse ecosystems have economic benefits too like tourism, discoveries of drugs etc.

Especially because they are no better or worse than “because nature calls my mother dirty names, and it deserves to pay” that someone else might intuit.

Moral arguements are not empirically justified. Without some empirical basis they make no sense, and have no context (how can you even establish that there IS such a thing as pollution, or that its actually harming anything?), but ultimately all moral questions come down to one of value. And, if you want to convince anyone else, common values. Even if we value the experiences of other human beings, then it pays not to be callous about the environment because it blows back to effects on humans. But if we want to be consistent and value moral beings, then we can’t help but consider the interests of at least animals.

You also might want to try looking for a collection of essays called “The Biophillia hypothesis” that’s edited by E.O. Wilson. In it, he and many others argue that humanity does have a very deep an abiding love for nature that people don’t appreciate nearly enough.

If you look at Christianity, at least, I don’t see how it can be used as a basis for environmentalism at all.

That is God basicaly saying that we can do whatever we want to with the earth and all the animals therein, and I’d assume that means that we are allowed to kill off species until they go extinct, too.

Doesn’t sound very environmental to me.

Actually, there are many christian groups who are very environmentally active. Being given dominance over things, to them, instills an obligation to care for those things. Not to mention caring for their fellow man.

Yes: many people take the idea of dominance to mean responsibility to rule justly over them. You can take it any way you want, of course, but it would be silly to say that any particular doctrine disallows various stances based off of wide-ranging interpretations of it.

Actually, “dominion” in this context is interpreted to mean something close to “management responsibility”. This is linked to the passages a few verses earlier where God declared all that He had just created to be “good”. We are put in charge of the world to run it responsibly, not simply to trash the place. Although there is never any indication that plants or animals have equivalent moral standing to humans.

There are other passages (Proverbs 12:10) that indicate that we are to regard the world more as a landowner’s estate, over which we are stewards, than our personal playpen.