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Green Issues and Debates: An A-to-Z Guide

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Green Issues and Debates: An A-to-Z Guide

Howard S. Schiffman & Paul Robbins

Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412975728 | Print ISBN: 9781412996945 | Online ISBN: 9781412975728 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Anthropocentrism versus Biocentrism

This article evaluates anthropocentrism and biocentrism, identifying some of the pros and cons of both approaches to environmental conservation and protection. In order to fully understand this debate, it is first important to review their definitions. Anthropocentrism is a perspective that regards humans as the most important entity on the planet. An anthrocentric—literally “human-centered”—approach to environmental protection translates into a conviction that human well-being is the central consideration. In contrast, biocentrism deems humans to be merely one of many biological species, assigning inherent value to nonhuman organisms as well. With this perspective in mind, biocentrism holds that environmental conservation should not focus solely (or even in large part) on humans, but rather hold all living things equally valuable. Although there are advocates and opponents of both approaches, each with valid arguments, the discourse is often reduced to a contentious debate—one approach “versus” the other. The debate becomes more complicated when ...

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