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Each of us has a particular worldview—that is, a commonly
shared perspective based on a collection of our
basic values that helps us make sense of the world, understand
our place and purpose in it, and determine
right and wrong behaviors. These worldviews lead to
behaviors and lifestyles that may or may not be compatible
with environmental sustainability.
Two extreme, competing environmental worldviews
are the Western worldview and the deep ecology worldview. These two worldviews, admittedly broad generalizations,
are at nearly opposite ends of a spectrum of
worldviews relevant to global sustainability problems,
and each approaches environmental
responsibility in a radically
The traditional Western
worldview, also known
as the expansionist worldview,
is human-centered and utilitarian.
It mirrors the beliefs
of the 19th-century frontier
attitude, a desire to conquer
and exploit nature as quickly
as possible (Figure 2.5).
The Western worldview also
advocates the inherent rights
of individuals, accumulation
of wealth, and unlimited
consumption of goods and
services to provide material
comforts. According to the
Western worldview, humans
have a primary obligation to
humans and are therefore
responsible for managing
natural resources to benefit
human society. Thus, any
concerns about the environment
are derived from human
our place in the
world based on human
over nature, the unrestricted
and increased economic
manage an expanding
helps us make
sense of how the
our place in the
right and wrong
Western worldview Figure 2.5
A Logging operations in 1884. This huge logjam
occurred on the St. Croix River near Taylors Falls,
Minnesota. B The Western worldview in action
today. A logging company road cuts through an Indonesian
forest, making the region’s hardwoods
available for logging.
The deep ecology
worldview is a diverse set of
viewpoints that dates from the
1970s and is based on the work
of Arne Naess, a Norwegian
philosopher, and others, including
ecologist Bill Devall
and philosopher George Sessions.
The principles of deep
ecology, as expressed by Naess
in Ecology, Community and Lifestyle
1. Both human and nonhuman life has intrinsic
value. The value of nonhuman life-forms is independent
of the usefulness they may have for
narrow human purposes.
2. Richness and diversity of life-forms contribute
to the flourishing of human and nonhuman
life on Earth (Figure 2.6).
3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness
and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.
4. Present human interference with the nonhuman
world is excessive, and the situation is
5. The flourishing of human life and cultures is
compatible with a substantial decrease in the
human population. The flourishing of nonhuman
life requires such a decrease.
our place in the
world based on harmony
with nature, a
spiritual respect for
life, and the belief
that humans and all
other species have
an equal worth.
Preservation of biological diversity is an important
part of the deep ecology worldview Figure 2.6
A California meadow. (Inset) A rain forest grasshopper in Indonesia.
According to the deep ecology worldview, these
plant and animal species have as much right to a place in the
environment as humans do.
Human Values and Environmental Problems 31
short-term and long-term consequences of your particular
worldview? We must develop and incorporate into
our culture a long-lasting, environmentally sensitive
worldview if the environment is to be sustainable for us,
for other living organisms, and for future generations.
32 CHAPTER 2 Environmental Sustainability and Human Values
6. Significant change of life conditions for the
better requires changes in economic, technological,
and ideological structures.
7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating
life quality rather than adhering to a
high standard of living.
8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points
have an obligation to participate in the attempt
to implement the necessary changes.
Compared to the Western worldview, the deep
ecology worldview represents a radical shift in how humans
relate themselves to the environment. The deep
ecology worldview stresses that all forms of life have the
right to exist, and that humans are not different or separate
from other organisms. Humans have an obligation
to themselves and to the environment. The deep
ecology worldview advocates sharply curbing human
population growth. It does not advocate returning to a
society free of today’s technological advances but instead
proposes a significant rethinking of our use of
current technologies and alternatives. It asks individuals
and societies to share an inner spirituality connected
to the natural world.
Most people today do not fully embrace either
the Western worldview or the deep ecology worldview.
The Western worldview is anthropocentric and emphasizes
the importance of humans as the overriding concern
in the grand scheme of things. In contrast, the
deep ecology worldview is biocentric and views humans
as one species among others. The planet’s natural resources
could not support its more than 6.5 billion humans
if each consumed the high level of goods and
services sanctioned by the Western worldview. On the
other hand, the world as envisioned by the deep ecology
worldview could support only a fraction of the existing
human population (Figure 2.7).
These worldviews, while not practical for widespread
adoption, are useful to keep in mind as you examine
various environmental issues in later chapters. In
the meantime, you should think about your own worldview
and discuss it with others—whose worldviews will
probably be different from your own. Thinking leads to
actions, and actions lead to consequences. What are the
At one time or another, most of us yearn for the simpler life
that the tenets of deep ecology advocate. However, there
are far too many people and far too little land for us all to
embrace this lifestyle. Photographed in Humboldt County,
This article states there are two ways of looking at the world.
1. Western point of view -- the earth and its resources are ours to use:
This world view believes that everything on earth is here to serve people. We can use all of the gas we want. We can pollute the air and water. We can buy, buy, buy -- and throw away, throw away, throw away. We can fill our town and county dumps with our garbage.
2. Ecological point of view -- humans are only one of millions of species on earth:
This world view states that people must share the earth, not only with each other but with all of the other plant and animal species. We should use as little as possible of the earth's resources. We should live a simple life, and leave little trace of our existence on earth.
Rose, your assignment is to discuss these two points of view. I think most of us believe in the ecological point of view, but don't want to give everything up. We want gas for our cars and electricity for our homes. We want to eat fast food out of cardboard boxes sometimes.
Many of us are also willing to recycle our cans, bottles, and newspapers. We'll also carry our groceries home in reusable bags. We'll keep the air conditioner set at a warm temperature in the summer and a cool temperature in the winter. We'll also try to conserve on gas by driving less.
What side are you on?
Do you think we have the right to use all of the earth's resources?
Do you think we shouldn't use any of the earth's resources?
Or do you think we should compromise and use as little as possible?
Worldview is the entire concept of my belief. In essence, it is how I envision the world and view things in general. It is a set of belief, statement that could be true or fake etc. It is also my observation on how I see the world around me. And, ultimately, the worldview is very diversivied whether or not you are looking at psychology, religion, ethic, economy and sociology. The worldview has to work around an entire spectrum around us. Everyone has a worldview , even if you have not embrace it yet. The manner that I view the world, humanity and my belief in God; that is my worldview.
(I just wrote this tell me what you think)
Rose -- you've written a very general paragraph about worldview.
But -- you didn't answer my questions.
Please try to answer the questions I posted above.
I'm looking forward to seeing your answers to my questions tomorrow.
I'm signing off now. Have a great evening, Rose!
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