Philosophy of Nature vis-à-vis Orangutans:
The Philosophy of Nature is interesting because nonhuman life is considered an important topic of discussion. Two of the most exciting classical nature writers are Henry David Thoreau and John Muir, Fifty years apart and from opposite coastal lines and ranges. The two writers attempted to capture in words the electrifying intensity of the commercial commodification of Wild Nature with plenty of angst and even some naked bodily celebration, if not without some Puritan guilt.
With the sudden realization that wild places were rapidly disappearing from the planet, a significant concern for saving wild animals was evident in nature writers and natural philosophers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ethical dealings with animals reach back to the pre-Socratic thinkers. The reality is that western society, over the last 150 years, has taken a hostile attitude towards nonhuman entities. I believe there is an ethics of balance in which humankind is tangled with other world objects. My quests led me to like some plants and wild animals.
The roots of the word, ‘environment’ means “that which environs us.” Being “environed” is being encircled or surrounded. The environment should be understood as the overall physical and emotional context in which we are located. Therefore, it is essential to recognize that environments differ from place to place and from time to time, depending on who we are and where we are. The environment of a freshwater trout is different from that of a desert tortoise. As human beings, the relevant physical context that environs us can also be quite different depending upon who we are and what culture we come from, mainly, what kind of technology we express. We cannot discuss a specific environment without identifying those impacted by it; perhaps more surprising, however, is that we cannot discuss and understand ourselves until we acknowledge and understand the environment to which we are related.
Most environmental abuse today starts within and is caused by the contemporary fact that we are shortsighted and ignorant about the specific environs that nurture us. What, then, is the relationship of the environment to Nature? First, let us assume that humans are entirely natural creatures. Thus, Nature does not equal environment when we talk about the human-environment relationship. This relationship stands within Nature as a whole. It means that humans (and their hominid ancestors) have been a part of natural landscapes for more than three million years (homo sapiens sapiens, for more than 50,000 years). We should not view Nature as something from which humans are inherently absent or wilderness as a natural place from which a trace of humans is absent, which is problematic. Second, having accepted humans as entirely natural, we must ask whether there is any “natural” limit to human action.
The Environment and the Concept of Nature
It seems commonplace for some people to use the terms ‘nature’ and ‘environment’ interchangeably. Many environmental activists today assume that our environment is the same as Nature and that Nature should be understood in the other limited sense of “wild nature” or “wilderness.”
Some of the main areas of interest for Environmental Philosophers are:
1. Defining environment and Nature;
2. How to value the environment;
3. Moral status of animals and plants;
4. Endangered species;
5. Environmental and deep ecology
6. Aesthetic value of Nature;
7. Restoration of Nature;
8. Consideration of future generations.
In Western Philosophy, “Nature” as a theme begins in earnest within the early 20th Century Philosophical discussions. However, an intense fascination quickly eclipses Nature as the subject matter with the language used to talk about Nature. For two-thirds of the Century, questions about language dominate the philosophical arena. Not until the 1970s did the discussion eventually gather around a completely demystified nature, considered a Cultural Construct. Before, the very notion of “Man’s Environment” became problematic.
Every species receives, but every species also gives. The balance of species in a particular region is established through this give-and-take process. Humans have largely stepped out of that balance system by obtaining (receiving) much and giving little or nothing in return. Humans enter every natural environment as an “exotic,” perturbing the existing balances of species and refusing to be a party to any new balance. By its very Nature, the human presence represents stress to every environment; when that presence becomes permanent and grows more excellent, the stress remains permanent, and balance is forever impossible.
It means that human projects invade and defeat the fundamental rule of natural balance that has made the earth what it is. The distinction between human-built and natural environments is appropriate, even though humans are natural creatures. Indeed, human life represents a strange and increasingly dangerous destiny for Nature itself. Despite several efforts of humans, they cannot change the fundamental rule of natural beings; humans have pushed the envelope of natural balance way further than any other natural creature.
The balance will eventually prevail, which means that humans, who have received so much, will ultimately have to give back to other species to restore balance. That giving will not be easy, especially if it comes from other natural agents and processes. There is only one possible way of making it more accessible, and that is the possibility that humans will use their highly touted rationality to guide their actions into respect for Nature’s rule. As natural creatures, humans must finally come to terms with the meaning of natural wisdom. If environmental philosophy is about anything, it is about the love of natural wisdom.
God enables me to visit some countries: the United States of America; United Kingdom; Rome/ Vatical City; Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland; Italy, the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Mauritius, Polska (Poland), Nigeria, Ghana, Benin Republic, Liberia, Kingston-Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Cairo-Egypt, and Dubai-United Arab Emirates. In most of these countries visited by me, I sought out Zoos to visit and see some wild animals, I got to see them in the made-up natural environment and watched their actions. I’m not too fond of some animals, like dogs and cats for pets, and I love parrots and goldfish; hence I used to have an aquarium at home. But my favorite wild animal is Monkey, and I never kept one for a pet.
I choose the family of Apes as the most remarkable wild animal, and the coolest for me is the Orangutans. The Orangutans will be our first cousins if all creatures are connected in a family-type relationship. The Orangutans’ DNA is the closest to that of humankind.
Orangutans & Threats of Extinction
National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers discovered that humans and orangutans share approximately 97% of their DNA. The animal is ape-like with shaggy reddish fur and grasping hands and feet. According to the wildlife website, Orangutans can be found in the rain forests of the Southeast Asian Islands of Borneo and Sumatra, swinging on treetops and building nests for sleep. This hyperlink shows nine other facts about Orangutans. Orangutans are endangered species, and my clarion call is to save them from going into extinction.
In conclusion, the Orangutans’ threat by deforestation & devastation of their habitat should become a priority for World Wildlife.