Monday, April 27, 2015

Calling Nature "It" Absolves Us of Moral Responsibility?

Certainly will be discussing this in my garden ethics book manuscript. What do you think?

"Objectification of the natural world reinforces the notion that our species is somehow more deserving of the gifts of the world than the other 8.7 million species with whom we share the planet. Using “it” absolves us of moral responsibility and opens the door to exploitation. When Sugar Maple is an “it” we give ourselves permission to pick up the saw. “It” means it doesn’t matter."

"Colonization, we know, attempts to replace indigenous cultures with the culture of the settler. One of its tools is linguistic imperialism, or the overwriting of language and names. Among the many examples of linguistic imperialism, perhaps none is more pernicious than the replacement of the language of nature as subject with the language of nature as object. We can see the consequences all around us as we enter an age of extinction precipitated by how we think and how we live."

Full essay here.

3 comments:

Karen Hamburger said...

I have been seeking a way to eliminate the word "it" from my vocabulary for many years now but have not found any one word that can express the fullness needed to honor those I am speaking of. I liked the word kin used in the article but it still just doesn't quite hit the mark for me. Its a start though.
Thank you for starting this conversation.

Karen

Benjamin Vogt said...

If you find the word let me know!

Diana Studer said...

Extinction comes when subject becomes object.
And yet I hope we won't succeed in destroying everything, that we'll see sense before we too become the departed object.