Holmes Rolston presents many dilemmas in his argument that discuss on poverty, inequality, overpopulation, human rights, and even nature. Under poverty, Holmes argues that people worldwide engage in luxurious activities even with people starving somewhere due to lack of food. He, however, says that these people believe that they are justified to do so instead of eradicating poverty. Therefore, he believes that we are not morally mandated to eliminate poverty. In overpopulation, Holmes does not believe that people are morally required to prevent the death and suffering of other human beings. In his argument, he says that people choose policies that will see the death of a certain percentage of the population. According to him, we face three major problems which include over-consumption, overpopulation and poor distribution of wealth (Aiken & LaFollette, 1996).
Under human right, Rolston believes that they are not absolute and that some are weak while others are strong. In other words, human rights can sometimes be overridden by different values. The last and primary argument is between nature and starvation of human beings. Rolston argues that in cases where the need to feed starving people conflicts with protecting the environment, the later should be prioritized. Holmes argues on eliminating of human settlement and their activity in areas that have been classified as valuable but fragile. He argues that sometimes it is right to let people starve to save the nature. He presents human beings as cancer that may cause a distraction in the environment (Attfield, 1998).
I agree with Holmes only on the issue of not being able to feed the starving humanity because if we were to focus on poverty elimination, the civilization we are experiencing today could not have been realized. There is enormous potential in the world’s population, and if all this were to focus on poverty eradication, a lot would be lost. However, I do not agree on the issue of choosing nature over human beings. Environmental problems existed even before an increase in human activity. Human activity did not cause the extinction of animals like the dinosaurs. They were faced out because they were not able to evolve. Human beings are also part of the animals and have been able to evolve hence existing for a long time. Therefore, the need to preserve those things that can be able to adapt to change and leave those that cannot.
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