According to this article, we need biodiversity to keep our air clean and our drinking water pure. Moreover, many micro-organisms are needed to provide us with food through pollination and fertilization, plants are needed to prevent erosion and so on.
The earlier article goes on to say that "While extinction is a natural function of life, this is the first time humans are being confronted with species loss at rates that are 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than what is considered the natural rate."
And, the solution they say is to reduce our carbon foot print, not purchase products derived from endangered animals, eat less meat so that the lands that feed livestock can be instead used to grow crops, which will feed "an additional billion people."
Given the life-sustaining properties of all of this plant and animal life, what is the proper role of the government, and what is our role in fixing this issue?
asked Jun 20 '15 at 17:45
The "biodiversity" claim described in this question is just one of a whole complex of claims by which environmentalists attack industrial-technological civilization and human life. They are not defenders of human life and well-being at all, but haters of it, seeking instead to achieve a pristine planet completely untouched by man (which makes man's continued existence impossible, except perhaps for some widely scattered, perilously primitive, very sparsely populated villages, and implied mass executions of everyone else, or at least wishing for a devastating virus to come along to exterminate most of the human species).
If you love enjoying nature, you should love fossil fuels [because they allow you to travel into nature with the means to live in it semi-primitively, temporarily and safely, and to develop it minimally for man's access and benefit].
For a wider overview of the Objectivist perspective on environmentalism, refer to the topic of "Ecology/Environmental Movement" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon. The "pollution" issue, too, is often used as a form of environmentalist assault on industrial-technological civilization. It is similar to the "biodiversity" claims in its vague, misleading allusion to benefit or harm to man. Refer to the Lexicon topic of "Pollution" for further discussion of that issue.
Yet another excellent reference on environmentalism from an Objectivist perspective is the book, Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, edited and with an introduction and additional essays by Peter Schwartz. The overall conclusion expressed in this book is that environmentalism is not aimed at making the world a better place for man at all, but at the exact opposite: all out war on man and his industrialism, which the environmentalists regard as a "planetary disease." The Introduction explains:
Ayn Rand said that "even though the student rebellion [of the 1960s] has not aroused much public sympathy, the most ominous aspect of the situation is the fact that it has not met any ideological opposition," that it has shown "the road ahead is empty, with no intellectual barricades in sight" and that the "battle is to continue."
The Introduction summarizes what "primitive" means and then observes:
This is the state of mind to which the environmentalists want us to revert.
Just this past week, none other than the Pope of the Catholic Church has now joined with the environmentalists in a newly released Papal Encyclical, buttressed with extensive references to Biblical Scripture. For additional historical perspective, refer to the Epilogue in OPAR, titled, "The Duel between Plato and Aristotle."
Update: Collectivism vs. Individualism
A comment succinctly presents a false view of environmentalism's opponents, and offers a proposed rebuttal:
... we know which animals/ecosystems are important (and thus we can destroy if we like). Many times we see great breakthroughs in medicine and sciences with creatures formerly deemed "useless" for humanity.
Other comments have previously pointed out the collectivist nature of this perspective -- emphasizing "we" without specifying who "we" refers to, and presuming that individuals can and should be stopped from acting until "we" (whoever they might be) approve of it.
Objectivism, in contrast, points out that collectivism in any form is fundamentally anti-man. Collectivists, whether they are environmentalist or not, do not seek to uphold man's life qua man as their standard of value. They are man-destroyers, whether for the sake of pristine nature untouched by man, or for some mystical view of "society" or some other imagined "higher power." The political agenda of environmentalism should not be underestimated, despite how narrowly environmentalists may try to cloak themselves in an aura of deep concern for purportedly global "problems."
In a free society that upholds individual rights (man's freedom of action in a social context), all property is privately owned and managed. Some owners may choose to kill some animals and/or plants which they own, but generally only where there is a proven harm to man from those species (i.e., proven pests), or an identified value to be gained for man's life (such as food or medicine or simply secure living space). If a plant or animal proves to be of value for medicinal purposes, or just for food, the owners generally do not go around killing it arbitrarily; they act purposefully and selectively, for human benefit (their own and their trading partners'), particularly if they want to cultivate a species for its recurring value to man. Any owners who don't act that way suffer economic decline over time and become increasingly marginal in the larger economic picture. Laissez faire capitalism provides very strong financial incentives for property owners to utilize their property wisely, by the standard of man's life qua man. It is the absence of such a political-economic system that facilitates a culture of treating such resources as cheap rubbish.
America today, of course, is not a fully free society. The issue of how a mixed economy can transition to a fully free society, and why it ought to do so, is a separate discussion, which depends on a more widespread understanding of how man's life qua man depends on freedom and individual rights.