Instigator
Points: 7

Environmental Protection vs. Resource Extraction

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After 1 vote the winner is ...
bsh1
Debate details
Publication date
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Category
Nature
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
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Rated
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Points: 4
Description
--Topic--
Environmental protection ought to be prioritized over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.
--Definitions--
Prioritize: to treat one thing as more important than another
In conflict: implies a situation in which two or more competing interests clash
Ought: indicates moral desirability
--Rules--
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all undefined resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
8. The BOP is evenly shared
9. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
10. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the description's set-up, merits a loss
--Structure--
R1. Pro's Case; Con's Case
R2. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R3. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R4. Pro generic Rebuttal and Summary; Con generic Rebuttal and Summary
Round 1
Published:
Thank you to RM for accepting this debate. I will now present my case.

I. The Monism of Interconnectedness

In the search for clarity on issues of the environment, we must begin by acknowledging our position as being in complex and interconnected relationships with the natural world. What we reap upon the environment, we, in large part, inherit from it. The pollutants we spew into the air harm our lungs when we breath; the desertification anthropologenic climate change spurs takes away the fertile land we need to feed ourselves. This nearly karmic relationship is one of mutual dependence and interrelation. It is as self-evident and as it ignored. But it cannot be reasonably denied that we exist in an interconnected space, a space linked deeply to nature.

Our welfare and survival relies on the environment, much as the welfare and survival of animals does. As Aldo Leopold, the great naturalist and forester, writes: "the mouse is a sober citizen who knows that grass grows in order that mice may store it as underground haystacks, and that snow falls in order that mice may build subways from stack to stack...To the mouse, snow means freedom from want and fear...The [rough-legged hawk]...is well aware that snow melts in order that hawks may again catch mice. He came down out of the Artic in hope of thaws, for to him a thaw means freedom from want and fear." [1] The mouse and the hawk are a part of nature, just as we are, because they cannot sever the relationships that tie them to it, just as we can never be wholly independent of the world around us. Because we cannot sever our dependence on other life, even as we shape it and control it, we cannot be considered fundamentally apart from it. 

Understanding and accepting our interrelatedness entails a nigh irrefutable conclusion: that all biota exist in a state of oneness, of monism. This is to say that we and the environment are part of a single whole, and are best viewed as members of a single community of life. 

II. The Land Ethic

A. Interconnectedness as the Root of Ethics

Ethics begins with the recognition of interconnectedness. To quote Leopold: "[a]ll ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for a place in that community, but his ethics prompt him also to cooperation (perhaps in order that there may be a place to compete for). The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land" [1] In this sense, ethics arises from the reality that we affect and are affected by other entities and beings, and that rules must be devised to facilitate harmony in these mutual relationships for our own wellbeing if not out of moral concern for how our actions impact those others. Even then, if we reject monism, so long as we recognize our interrelatedness with the natural world, we must come to accept that we have ethical obligations towards it. If we grant, as Leopold clearly does, ethical obligations to the land as he understands it, the role of humanity changes "from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. [The land ethic] implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such...The land ethic, then, reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflect a conviction of...responsibility for the health of the land. Health is the capacity of the land for self-renewal. " [1]

B. The Blurry not-so-Bright Line

But perhaps this can be approached in another way. There is a sense of human exceptionalism (contrasted against non-human life as being unexceptional) that often abounds in discussions over the environment and animal rights; a kind of exceptionalism rooted in our rational capacities that empower us to be lords of the biosphere, so to speak. Yet, it's clear that this exceptionalism does not apply to all humans--not all of us possess the ability to think rationally just as not all of us possess physical prowess or leadership ability. Restated more accurately, some humans are exceptional. But if we are unwilling to label some humans as unexceptional, putting them on a plane no better than non-human life (as basic ethical intuitions compellingly suggest we should not do), then we must, at some point, acknowledge that animals can be counted as exceptional as well, for they are on par with some humans.

To reiterate my point more clearly, we can look to the examples of babies and of the profoundly mentally handicapped (including severe Alzheimer's, brain injuries, etc.) with which to make this case. Humanity accords to both of these groups certain rights against maltreatment and abuse, yet they are incapable of reasoning, higher-order emotions, self-actualization/goal-setting, and rationally engaging with the moral community. If these classes of people have rights, then why not animals and plants? In fact, some animals might be more capable of rational thought, emotions, goal-setting, etc., than those groups of people, seemingly making them more qualified for rights than many humans--the case of Chimpanzees being a notable example. [2]

Having established then, the blurry nature of the dividing line that human exceptionalists attempt to draw, and having established further that the blurry nature of this bright line precludes the reasonable non-extention of moral consideration and rights to non-humans, we must grant that we have obligations to non-humans, i.e. to the biota of the world. Monism strengthens these obligations, insofar as it incorporates us as part of the community (entailing more membership-like obligations vice stewardship-like ones), but its loss would not cause the obligations to evaporate.

III. Land Ethics in Practice

In practice, the land ethic requires us to prioritize protecting the environment over resource extraction when the two come into conflict because the land ethic requires us to value the land in and of itself and to recognize our moral duty to sustain it as a viable ecological system. As Leopold writes, "[o]ne basic weakness in a conservation system based wholly on economic motives is that most members of the land community have no economic value. Wildflowers and songbirds are examples. Of the 22,000 higher plants and animals native to Wisconsin, it is doubtful whether more than 5 percent can be sold, fed, eaten, or otherwise put to economic use. Yet these creatures are members of the biotic community, and if (as I believe) its stability depends on its integrity, they are entitled to continuance...To sum up: a system of conservation based solely on economic self-interest is hopelessly lopsided. It tends to ignore, and thus eventually eliminate, many elements in the land community that lack commercial value, but that are...essential to its healthy functioning."

Evidence supports the conclusion that prioritizing resource extraction necessarily harms the environment. "The degradation of natural services undermines human welfare and often necessitates costly remedial actions. Many extractive activities, such as mining or commercial-scale logging, generate a host of negative externalities." [3] "People in Africa, Asia, and Latin America…face very serious environmental hazards in their homes...and in their workplaces...The environmental impacts of solid, liquid, and airborne pollutants and wastes can be transferred to the surrounding region. Problems include the damage of fisheries by untreated liquid wastes, land and groundwater pollution from inadequately designed and managed solid waste dumps, and acid precipitation in the areas surrounding many of the larger...cities." [4] These problems are all occurring in the developing world at exponentially higher rates than in the developed one, as a result of unchecked resource exploitation. "The destruction of wildlife is occurring so rapidly that one-fifth of all existing species will be extinct by the same year...This threat to wildlife species comes from multiple sources, such as pollution and destruction of natural habitats, [and] illegal wildlife trading." [5]

But frankly, we don't need evidence to support the conclusion that prioritizing resource extraction harms the environment, since the very definition of "in conflict" suggests a mutual exclusivity between protecting the environment and resource extraction. It is therefore resolutionally the case that Con is harming the environment, and thus the biotic community (i.e. the biota).

IV. Conclusion

I have demonstrated that we, as beings interconnected with nature, have ethical obligations to nature, or what Leopold calls "land." These ethical obligations necessarily entail a need to prioritize environmental protection, because prioritizing the converse (namely, resource extraction) would severely threaten the health of the land community. Moreover, I have show, that given our interrelatedness, if not our very monism, that harming the environment ultimately harms us as well. These are karmic affects which turn all of Con's future impacts against him. Therefore, we must vote Pro, in order to uphold our ethical and moral obligations to the land, of which we are apart and on which we rely.

V. Underview: Disads

A. Disease

Environmental degradation increase disease virility and spread. "Air pollution causes respiratory infections. Water pollution causes...water-borne diseases, such as cholera. Marine pollution contributes to infectious disease problems created by algal blooms. Deforestation brings humans into contact with new pathogenic microbes, alters ecosystems so that disease vectors (for example, mosquitoes, rats) multiply, and destroys biodiversity that could be critical to the development of new antimicrobial products. The depletion of the ozone layer...will lead to ultraviolet radiation damaging the human immune system, thus creating more opportunities for infectious diseases." [3] Failing to prioritize environmental protections thus makes disease more likely and likely makes those diseases more dangerous.

B. Food Security

"The loss of local species...results in irreversible loss of the genetic diversity they contain, known as genetic erosion...[Genetic erosion] has dangerously shrunk the genetic pool...for natural selection, and for...breeders, and has consequently increased the vulnerability of agricultural crops to sudden changes in climate, and to the appearance of new pests and diseases." [6] "The current wholesale destruction of populations and species of wild plants...[is] foreclosing the potential for developing new food sources," because fewer plants can be explored for their agricultural viability. [7] Putting biodiversity at risk by failing to prioritize environmental protections puts our food security at risk.

VI. Sources

1 - Aldo Leopold. 1949. "A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There." New York: Oxford.
3 - OECD. 2008. "Natural Resources and Pro-Poor Growth: The Economics and Politics, DAC Guidelines and Reference Series."
5 - Mara Zimmerman. 2003. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. "The Black Market for Wildlife: Combating Transnational Organized Crime in the Illegal Wildlife Trade." Volume 36.
7 - Paul R. Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich and Gretchen C. Daily. 1993. Population and Development Review. “Food Security, Population, and Environment.” Volume 19.

Thank you! Please Vote Pro!
Published:
Pro = Proposition = bsh1 = Environmental protection ought to be prioritized over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.
Con = Contender = Papi Chulo RM ;) = Resource extraction ought to be prioritized over environmental protection when the two are in conflict.
S&G Note: I am using British English in this debate.
R# = Round #

Due to the agreed structure I am unable to rebuke the points made by Pro in any shape or form in R1… Please understand that there is a huge amount I have ready to rebut with and the only reason I am not posting it this Round is the structure. Pro is wrong, have no doubt but this Round is purely me building my case and not interacting with the formation or sustenance of Pro’s case.

Opening Speech
I believe that this debate is not simply a debate about which of the two is morally better or not. I am aware that ‘ought’ has been defined as moral desirability, nevertheless there is more to this than which of the two is more appealing to one’s moral code at the time of choosing in ascertaining which of the two should be chosen across most scenarios. The easiest scapegoat for supporters of environmental protection in a debate like this is to take their leaf-loving selves and unironically plant the seed of sin in the notion of destroying the environment in an immediate sense for gains that may well include environmental superiority in the long run (no, this is not a Kritik and I will justify it in the next paragraph). The question here is not if one should seek to destroy the environment at the sake of getting rich, it’s far more intricate than that and goes back to the origin of our species and how we ended up being not just the most destructive one on the planet but the most constructive one on it by an even greater degree.

The reason that pointing out that the long term outcome of resource extraction can be more efficient protection of the environment and increasing ability to restore what has been destroyed is not a Kritik is that Con is conceding that this would be when the two are not in conflict and thus not directly relevant to the resolution. Nonetheless, since Con’s case shall revolve around consequentialist morality and seek to explain why why the two are in direct conflict, the harsher attitude of the resource extraction advocate will end up being the morally and logically superior one.

I wish to open the mind of not just you, reader, but my opponent in what I convey here. The Green Party is a sorely misled group of idealists in any nation where there is one and I am here to explain why the Hippies of the left are the wrong ones and why you don’t need to be an environmentalist to be a Progressive as the very concept of Environmental Conservation to the extreme that they take it is not just conservative by nature, it is Fascist whereby the Empire is nature itself and anyone who wishes to interact with it in a way that is useful is told to fear the wrath of Environmentalist Propaganda and those it has brainwashed.

Foundational Contentions

FC1: Resource Extraction, when the two are in conflict, can result in superior knowledge and technology to preserve the environment in the long run.
FC2: The more you favour conserving what is, the less able you are to explore what could be.
FC3: The two are only in conflict in scenarios that vastly favour resource extraction as being the better option but it’s not 100% consistent in this and there will be times when the better option is to preserve environment but this is rare and extreme meaning that the one we ought to favour overall is resource extraction.
FC4: Linked to FC1… The less we extract resources and develop sciences and industries in general, the more enslaved we are to the likes of natural disasters and if there were climate changes significant enough that weren’t due to human activity then that too (we only know that humans have an impact due to favouring resource extraction and technological development in the first place).


Offensive Contentions

OC1: If one takes nature to be morally correct, one would end up favouring resource extraction as it is in our nature to be greedy and self-serving but admittedly it is also self-preservation that would lead one to care about the environment and this is best done by first extracting resources for technological and general industrial purposes.
OC2: There is no such thing as a species who doesn’t extract resources at the sake of the environment, we are the only species to consciously give back as well as pay attention to our usage of the environment’s resources.
OC3: The conflict between the two is one that makes the environmental conservationist the oppressor (different angle on FC4).


Defensive Contentions

DC1: We quite literally are the environment and our needs and desires are part of what to consider on a moral basis when discussing caring about the animals and other life-forms in the ‘environment’.
DC2: There are no acts of good that fail to involve resource extraction in the means of achieving the act (and perhaps even the act itself). On the other hand, there are a multitude of acts of ‘good’ that in no way at all preserve the environment.
DC3: If there is no real objective morality, it follows that what we want to do ends up being the thing we ‘ought to’ do. This is a pushing of core BoP of morality onto Pro as it is the environmental conservationist who needs morality to win this debate, the resource extractor is correct in both an amoral outlook and in an outlook that morally favours what they are doing so if Pro resorts to ‘there’s no real morality’ Con automatically wins.

Main Body Speech (Inclusive of Summary)
There are actually three core questions involved in this debate. They are as follows:

  • Is there a moral system that can be justified objectively enough to verify the validity of considering environmental protection as morally imperative to prioritise over or under resource extraction?
  • What does it really mean to be in direct conflict and what reconciles such conflict in a way where ‘both sides win’ so as to negate the scenario if at all?
  • Why does our species have the responsibility to care for all the others if we are a part of nature and our very greed, industrialisation and other less malignant reasons for extracting resources (such as curiosity itself) are all part of our natural urges and are the result of hormonal, neural and such natural processes in our bodies and brains/minds?
  • I will begin to answer them and explain why beyond a shadow of a doubt we should favour extracting resources over (immediate) environmental conservation in the vast majority of scenarios where the two are in conflict.

Let’s deal with the first question before going into the specifics of this conflict. What precisely do we derive that which we ought to do from? The moral system must, in my opinion be consequentialist in how it’s analysed but subjective and rooted in empathy and irrational things like wanting the best for all in its origins. This is somewhat ‘contradictory’ but absolutely all forms of morality are contradictory (I can prove this in R2 if I’m called out on it). To explain what I mean by this, I’ll simply state the following:

To the side of Con, morality must be very emotive and irrational in its origins no matter what. The moral polarities formed could be anything really, such as ‘in the end we want the most pleasure for the most people’ (Hedonistic Utilitarianism) or in another instance ‘in the end we want to destroy the world by extracting as many resources as we can for as much profit as we can get completely negating the needs and wants of any future generation let alone creatures of the present world’ (Extremist Con-sided stance AKA Egoistic Cosmism, whereby the solution would be to colonize future planets as we destroy our own or die trying while ignoring anyone else’s needs or wants). I will happily attack the pseudo-intellectual Ayn Rand philosophy of an objective morality in R2 if called out on it. Following moral polarities based purely on what you feel is ‘good polarity’ we then can enter the Consequentialist mindset of means matter far less than ends (because the means themselves and what they cause will be part of the Consequentialist’s analysis if it’s done correctly). Thus, I ask you as a reader to look within yourself and ask what actually matters, while I can’t address Pro’s R1 in my R1 as per structure of the debate, I am entitled to hint at what Pro may or may not say or have said… If Pro comes at you saying it’s best to care for animals as an absolute, you should at the very least ask yourself why. This is all I ask of you, I will be attacking the basis of Pro’s morals and how they are being applied to the resolution in R2 as per debate structure but please consider for a minute that there’s actual good on the side of resource extraction if we have a big-picture perspective.

Following on from this I will go into the second question and cover many of my contentions in doing so. To be in direct conflict is a situation where us taking the resources by some means of force is going to damage the environment. The issue with this is that there is absolutely zero scenarios where resource extraction doesn’t do this. That’s right, if we take the resolution literally, even extracting a resource such as an apple in order to eat it is you being in direct conflict of the environmental conservation as you’re taking what would rot and fertilise soil.[1] Ah, but Pro will point out how rotting fruit actually harm the environment and how ‘recycling them’ is better via very artificial chemicals and completely man-made methods of disposing of the organic waste/matter.[2][3] Pro would then concede that what’s natural isn’t inherently ‘good’ even for the environment itself and that we rely on technology and knowledge (which themselves compound, meaning theories build upon previous ones so on and so forth[4]). The technology and knowledge we use even to protect the environment itself from destruction is based on machinery, equipment… Computers you get the idea? These all run on electricity which for many years was in no way at all renewable and still the world hasn’t moved onto it but that’s apparently not plausible to be our main way of deriving electricity according to a few scientists.[5] So, if the only way we ever could have known enough, done enough and been great enough as a species and group of environment-interacting entities is by first extracting resources to build machines and other tools that enable us then to know with certainty what to leave natural, what to stop that’s natural (such as rotting fruit and the building of dams to reduce/manage flooding effects[6]) and finally how to make the environment even better than it was before we extracted the resources from it… These all require resource extraction that initially completely conflicted with environmental conservation.

That aside, let’s not ignore that basically any major feat (including sinister ones) involved resource extraction. I am not here to deny that McDonald’s is destroying the environment in the name of profit and obesity but the fact is it does still produce a good at the end of the day and that good brings pleasure to people that, if taken in moderation, is not something we should oppress. In the same way that binging Netflix can become an addiction that leads college students to ‘fail exams’, McDonald’s food can make cholesterol levels among many other things increase that we’d be better off without in our lives as a whole but it’s about choice and in the end the freedom to harm oneself is one of the single most morally grey-area topics in the entire field of philosophy. From euthanasia to laws on drugs, there’s huge disagreement across the planet over whether it’s right or wrong to oppress in the name of protecting people from themselves and the snowball effect such harms have. Where there’s very little grey-area is on matters such as endeavours based on curiosity. Scientific, mathematical and documentary-type endeavours in the fields of history and/or geography (well geography is actually a subset of science in my eyes but let’s ignore that for this debate) all have developed due to us being ruthless with the environment to begin with. I don’t just mean knocking down some trees to build a science department but I also don’t not mean that as well. I am referring to the line we begin to cross when we test on helpless animals in the name of scientific development. This is a line that we absolutely had to cross and I’m curious if Pro can argue against it. I even will shamelessly include make-up and face-burning or torturing substances we learnt to avoid from trials we’ve never even heard of as they are the horrific negatives where the ape or other tortured creature suffered in the name of development. From the dog we sent into space to the ants we step on on a daily basis, we live in a world that runs on some creature in the environment preying on others in some shape or form. Those same ants and flies we squash and swat are also the types of creatures that will prey on our dead bodies given the chance so don’t fret, it’s truly a fair kind of unfairness that exists in the environment but in the end, those that are trodden on… That have their habitats destroyed… They are necessary victims in the long run. The question is not if we can avoid stepping on the toes, it’s if we can know enough, produce enough and do enough with both what we have at our disposal and what we know about it in order to give back enough to the environment and perhaps even make supreme indoor rainforest type things in the future to mind-blowingly regrow and bring back what we’ve taken at an even faster rate than we take/took it.

To me, the optimal solution is to consistently take, use and explore every single thing we possibly can so long as the environment is something we can semi-safely gamble we’ll be able to replenish to a degree even higher than we could by knowing less, doing less and being less. Let’s say a new ice age is coming or a tsunami the likes of 2004 come along… Just look how brilliantly we avoided the impact of Hurricane Florence as a species despite it being among the harshest of its kind.[7] We not only help the environment better the more we use it and explore it, but we can eventually perhaps crack the code or solve the mystery of how to alter wind currents via tactical wind farms and heating/cooling the air in certain places with massive fans… Who knows? We’d need to build machines, run them on electricity and perhaps operate what runs not just on fossil fuels but gets rid of them too… How to better handle the waste of fossil fuels? Well, we won’t ever know if we don’t extract more, test more and do more. I won’t deny that the same kind of extraction that ends up in the hands of people who care about the environment and science ends up in the hands of people who couldn’t care less and own corporations in China and the likes where… Well, I won’t go into that as it helps Pro somewhat but what I am saying is that while if we totally and utterly ignore the value of environment and conserving it, we are doomed, if we constantly were to prioritise it over the gamble of taking from it and giving back later in a smarter, better way than we ever could without doing so is perhaps the single biggest aspect of the conflict’s dynamic that shines light on why Con is the side to take.

Imagine if, using machines built in fume-spewing factories we end up carrying out enough tests, using the data and forming theories that result in us developing the technology to 3-D print hyper-growing seeds that can grow a whole tree in 3 days… We’ll never ever get to that level without first having done all the resource extracting and human-arrogant dominating of the planet that we did in the first place and still do.

I will now link in the third question and finish this off nicely. The fact is that if you argue from the perspective that what’s natural deserves to be preserved and bowed before, you are being a hypocrite or irrational of you honestly don’t think the world has been entirely natural on a fundamental level the entire time it’s existed. The fact humans are destroying the planet is actually because we are naturally built to not just want to do it, but do it by extension. Our brains are the environment, our hands… It’s all the result of the very environment who designed us (albeit involuntarily if it wasn’t a sinister plan of a god-like being or beings of that nature). You cannot say ‘what’s natural deserves to be left as it is’ and then deny that our natural urge to prey on the planet is any less natural than the way a lion preys on a gazelle.

I leave it at that and look forward to getting my rebuttal put forth in R2. Good luck Pro.

Sources (credit to http://www.citethisforme.com/ for helping me with the layout):

[1] Sustainable Living Stack Exchange. (2013). Getting rid of immature windfallen apples. [online] Available at: https://sustainability.stackexchange.com/questions/1177/getting-rid-of-immature-windfallen-apples [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].
[2] Dinesen, C. (n.d.). How Recycling Fruits & Vegetable Can Help the Environment. [online] http://homeguides.sfgate.com/recycling-fruits-vegetable-can-environment-79348.html. [Accessed 22 September 2018].
[3] nibusinessinfo.co.uk. (n.d.). Recycling organic material. [online] Available at: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/recycling-organic-material [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].
[4] Rusbult, C. (1978). Design of Theories (and Theory-Based Models). [online] Educationforproblemsolving.net. Available at: https://educationforproblemsolving.net/design-thinking/dp-th.htm [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].
[5] Pyke, T. (2017). The energy debate: Renewable energy cannot replace fossil fuels. [online] Developmenteducation.ie. Available at: https://developmenteducation.ie/feature/the-energy-debate-renewable-energy-cannot-replace-fossil-fuels/ [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].
[6] Fema.gov. (2018). Benefits of Dams | FEMA.gov. [online] Available at: https://www.fema.gov/benefits-dams [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].
[7] Resnick, B. (2018). Hurricane Florence catastrophic flooding, rescues, and deaths: what we know. [online] Vox. Available at: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/9/14/17856278/hurricane-florence-flooding-rescues-deaths-north-carolina [Accessed 22 Sep. 2018].



Round 2
Published:
Thanks to RM for his argument. I will now be addressing RM's case. 

I. The Kritik

The resolution assumes a conflict between environmental protection and resource extraction. If such conflict cannot occur, debating which course of action should be preferred when there is a conflict would be prima facie absurd and meaningless. Therefore, for this resolution to be debatable at all, instances of conflict--that is, instances in which these two competing interests clash--must occur.

Con challenges the notion that environmental protection and resource extraction come into conflict. One of his stated claims is that prioritizing "Resource Extraction...can result in superior knowledge and technology to preserve the environment in the long run." In other words, that resource extraction ultimately increases environmental protection. If resource extraction promotes environmental protection, then the two interests are not in conflict with one another.

There are several impacts to this, the first of which is that Con's line of argumentation constitutes a kritik. Because the resolution requires a conflict in order to be debatable, it is by necessity the case that the resolution assumes a conflict between environmental protection and resource extraction. Since Con challenges whether such conflicts exist, he is challenging a fundamental assumption that the resolution is making. While I do not urge voters to vote Con down on the basis of his making a kritik, I do urge them, per the rules, to disregard all arguments Con makes in support of this kritikal claim.

The second impact is that Con cannot uphold his burden if these interests do not conflict. Con describes his burden as showing that "Resource extraction ought to be prioritized over environmental protection when the two are in conflict." If the two do not conflict, then Con cannot meet his self-described burden. Any arguments which do not pertain to a situation of conflict between these interests are therefore (a) non-topical and (b) unable to support Con's burden in this debate.

II. The Framework

A. Consequentialism

By Con's own admission, he is running a consequentialist framework. I have several responses to such a framework.

     1. Consequentialism's Fundamentally Flaw

Consequentialism is fatally flawed because it is inherently overdemanding. Consequentialism requires impartial assessments of the good, to ensure that the overall good is maximized, rather than the good for me or the good for us. The requirement that we must maximize the good impartially would force us to reduce ourselves to near-paupers to benefit those worse off than us. It is unreasonable to impose any such burden on any actor.

     2. Valuating Nature

One of the common queries put to consequentialists is the age-old question of "who counts?" That is, if consequentialism is the greatest good for the greatest number, whose goods are we talking about? If you buy either my monism argument or my argument from marginal cases (point B of section II of my case) then you have to factor in the welfare of the environment into any consequentialist calculations. That is, the environment's health has to be counted along with the health and welfare of humans. 

If the monism argument is true, humanity and nature are rightly viewed as a whole. Insofar as these two groups cannot be treated independently of each other, in naming one as due moral valuation, both are so named. Con essentially concedes to environmental monism when he writes, "We quite literally are the environment."

If the argument from marginal cases is true, there is no clear brightline to separate humans from non-humans on a moral plane. In that case, it is necessary to include some, if not all of nature, in our moral valuations lest we draw a line which would exclude some of humanity from consideration.

If nature must factor into our consequentialist considerations, it's welfare must be weighted in our moral decision-making. And, what's more, nature must be valuated for its own sake. This is going to swing any moral calculations away from resource extraction and towards environmental protections.

     3. Interconnectedness and Ethics

Per the analysis I offered in my case, Land Ethics is a preferable ethical framework insofar as it reflects the root of ethics. As I wrote, "ethics arises from the reality that we affect and are affected by other entities and beings, and that rules must be devised to facilitate harmony in these mutual relationships for our own wellbeing if not out of moral concern for how our actions impact those others."

     4. Subjective vs. Objective

Con argues for moral subjectivism and consequentialism simultaneously. These are not compatible positions, inasmuch as consequentialism imposes a universal metric for assessing right and wrong.

     5. Linkage

I will link into consequentialism better than Con does through the arguments I've already provided and will soon provide.

B. The Land Ethic

Land Ethics is primarily a holistic duty ethics. It understands humanity and nature as part of a single whole, a community, composed of interconnected parts. Humans, as part of this community, owe obligations of care towards the other members of this community, namely, nature. This obligation of care arises not just from the normal bonds of community which we would also acknowledge (i.e. the need to cooperate successfully to sustain the community), but also out of a regard for humanity's own welfare.

III. Understanding the Debate

A. Nature Itself

Environmental protections are those protections designed to ensure the health and wellbeing of nature. [1, 2] This is evident in an almost tautological sense, for if you understand the meanings of the terms involved, it is clear what environmental protections are for. Given both my and Con's extensive use of the terms nature and natural, it seems only reasonable to accept the understanding that environmental protections are those policies and procedures which are in place to protect nature.

So, what is nature after all? My opponent would have you believe that anything natural is nature. For example, he suggests that eating an apple places resource extraction above protecting nature. But an apple is not "nature." Nature is something far larger than any one apple. An apple may be part of nature, but it is certainly not the nature itself.

Rather, I would posit that nature is, at the very least, an ecosystem and, at most, a biosphere. For those unfamiliar with these terms, an ecosystem is "[g]roups of organisms from all biological domains in conjunction with the physical (abiotic) environment." The biosphere is the entire Earth, biotic and abiotic factors included. [3] This understanding of nature fits with how we employ the term in common usage. I might say that an apple is natural, but not that it is nature. I might say that a herd of deer is natural, but not nature. But put me in a forest where life and the land interact together, and I would say that I am in nature. Nature, furthermore, excludes human creations. I can think of no one who might call the Empire State Building, for instance, a natural feature or phenomena.

It is important to understand what we mean by the world "nature" in order to understand what this debate is really about. It is not about protecting the natural from resource extraction; in that sense, it is not about protecting a single apple from consumption. Instead, it is about preserving the viablity and health of ecosystems as a whole. It is therefore permissible to take an apple here and there or to hunt a deer here and there so long as those actions do not significantly and negatively affect the health of the ecosystem from which they were taken or hunted. 

This debate is about whether we should protect the viability of ecosystems against resource extraction which threatens that viability. This debate is not about ants which are incidental victims of human locomotion or apples which are plucked from the tree.

B. Protection as Policies and Procedures

Environmental protections are those policies and procedures which are designed to protect nature. The resolution is pitting those policies and procedures against the activity of resource extraction. Thus, the conflict referred to in the resolution is not directly one of nature vs. resource extraction, but rather environmental protection polices and procedures vs. resource extraction. This means examples like the apple are non-topical, because they conflate the natural with environmental protections.

C. Actions vice Motivations

This debate is also not about our own drives and motivations, but is instead about our affects on the ecosystems of the world. The predatory instincts of the hawk which drive it to hunt mice are beneficial to the ecosystem insofar as the hawks keep the mice population in check. In humans, our predatory and selfish instincts have led us to overhunt, overfish, overlog, overpollute, overmine, and overheat the environment. We have escaped our natural niche through the benefit of our ingenuity, but, in so doing, we have thrown the natural world into peril, unbalancing a beautiful but indescribably delicate system. It is not our motivations, but our actions, that primarily concern this debate, since it is our actions which challenge environmental protections and nature's health.

IV. Resource Extraction

A. The Skewed Perspective

Con presents a version of resource extraction which is not supported by reality. He paints extractive activity as fundamentally and unequivocally beneficial. But such a portrayal ignores the realities of how extractive activities have harmed the world, most notably by contributing to global warming. 

Coal ash, for example, is dangerous to the environment and more radioactive than nuclear waste. [4] During Hurricane Florence, which Con mentions, caused tons of coal ash, swept up in the flood, to pour into the rivers of North Carolina. [5] 

Mining in general, not to mention logging, are problematic. "Mining and logging are highly destructive of the environment, both because of the methods of extraction used and because these operations often place in ecologically fragile areas. This is particularly true of mining operations, which involve the removal of what the industry calls over-burden -- the soil and rock that obstruct access to desired ores. But along with this overburden, rich vegetation is removed as well, destroying or compromising the quality of natural habitat for many plants and animals. Moreover, mining companies use a range of toxic chemicals to treat the ores extracted. The resulting waste streams are often either intentionally dumped or leaked accidentally, contaminating rivers and lakes. As for logging, it can in principle be done in relatively careful and responsible ways, but many timer operations still engage in devastating clear-cutting practices. The toll inflicted by large-scale logging includes soil erosion, more severe flooding, and the destruction of wildlife habitat and fisheries." [6]

I can mention oil extraction's harms as well. "[W]hen oil is brought up...other things are, too. Chemicals and toxic substances such as mercury and lead can be discharged back into the ocean. The water pumped up along with the oil may contain benzene, arsenic and other pollutants. Even the exploration that precedes drilling, which depends on seismic air guns, can harm sea mammals." [7]

Bushmeat extraction can destroy environments. "Unsustainable use of wild meat also has negative long-term implications for maintenance of forest biodiversity. The radical depletion of forest animal species...is increasingly prevalent...Since forest animals play important roles in ecological processes such as herbivory, predation, pollination, seed dispersal and germination, the loss of forest animal species will eventually be followed by the loss of the plant species that depend on them in one way or the other.” [8]

B. Turn: Resource Extraction as Anti-Knowledge

Con says that extractive activities allow us to develop the technology and knowledge needed to protect the environment. This is false. As I noted in my case when I talked about food security, the loss of plants inhibits the development of new technologies, medicines, and knowledge. In a similar vein, the loss of plants will inhibit the search for new medical cures. Useful medical compounds that could have been found in plants are lost when those plants go extinct before they are discovered. Existing medicinal plants are already at risk of extinction. [9] Studying animals can also illuminate technology; animals often serve as the inspiration for technology. [10] 

Now consider that "[d]irect loss/exploitation affected 34% of mammals, 37% of birds and 7% of plants...We can see from the data above that the use of wildlife for subsistence and livelihoods is having an impact on birds and mammals at a significant level." [6] "The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020...Rivers and lakes are the hardest hit habitats, with animals populations down by 81% since 1970, due to excessive water extraction, pollution and dams." [11]

This turns Con's argument against him, showing that preserving the environment is actually necessary to progress knowledge, invention, and technology. Only by prioritizing environmental protections can we preserve the plant and animal life needed to drive progress forward.

C. Disadvantages of Resource Extraction

     1. Extraction contributes to poverty

"[S]trong evidence that environmental hazards are major contributors to poverty...Low income is a risk factor not only for exposure to environmental hazards but also for possibilities of rapid and effective treatment because of the lack of healthcare services...where low-income groups are concentrated...Such hazards impose large burdens on such groups in terms of ill health, injury, and premature death. These health burdens are a major cause or contributor to poverty...Controlling occupational exposure is particularly important, from large factories down to small, backstreet shops." [12]

     2. Extraction contributes to violence

Resource wars--that is, wars over natural resources like oil and diamonds--are projected to become more common in the future. Not only that, but extracted resources, like blood diamonds, are used to finance conflicts in the status quo. [6, 13]

V. Sources


Thank you! Please Vote Pro!
Published:
Feel free to play this song on repeat while reading this Round: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nPUJuobVco

Let’s be crystal clear here, this isn’t a question of one eliminating the other although it’s true that the extreme of Pro’s stance would say resource extraction is a sin outright and the extreme of Con would say that environmental protection is a sin outright.

Also, a correction to my R1:

"and seek to explain why why the two are in direct conflict" is wrong. should be 'why when' and 'seeks' instead of 'seek'.

Anyway, onto the debate. Let's decimate Pro like a redundant part of the environment fresh for the taking.

It's very clear to me what this debate boils down to. Pro thinks the ecosystem is the end in itself (even though he has struggled to articulate this in any situation other than the Hawk one) whereas Con considers the ecosystem as the means to the end of resource extraction and development. I am going to beautifully use Pro's case against itself while stringing in my points from Round 1.

Pro mentions that 'we are one' is essentially the basis of ethics but if we are one than isn't the raped simply reality masturbating itself via the rapist? Think for a moment and understand we are not 'one', it's hardly that simple. The 'we are one' argument works physically but ethically you must separate the predator from the prey, the human from its territory in which it rules as the alpha species. It's true, we actually are all 'one' we are nature and it's human nature to use, abuse just as much as it is to invent and do more with the environment than any other species can or ever will out of the ones we know for now.

Let's be crystal clear here, it is humans who have done the most for not just the environment but the non-human creatures within it. We have single-handedly prevented creatures from extinction and also have been a primary catalyst in the extinction of others. We are so far above other animals as both heroes and villains of this world that when asking if we are entitled to take from them as we please, the question really is whether they have the right to stop us.

Altruism, cooperation, and caring for the vulnerable is what made our species unique. It is empathy and cooperation, not self-interest and competition, that drove our physiological, cognitive, linguistic, cultural, social, and technological evolution. We wouldn’t be the large-brained, neurally-plastic, intelligent, cumulatively-learning, empathetic beings that we are without the mutual help that characterizes our everyday interactions. Our evolutionary history is one of collective child-rearing, cooperative hunting and gathering, caring for elders and the sick, and freely sharing information. Raising weak, slow-maturing human infants requires immense amounts of collective effort and the free sharing of knowledge, attention, time, love, joy, and fun. This is a miracle that we have reproduced in each generation. That each and every one of us is able to walk, think, talk, and imagine in one or more language(s) and navigate complex social worlds is a testament to this collective miracle. We owe this miracle to everyone alive today, and all that came before us. We could never be our own selves, in other words, without others – without all others in time and space!

Long before we domesticated plants and animals and settled in cities, our ancestors kept their elders alive through such free love and care. We have solid evidence that Neanderthals cared for elders who were of no economic benefit to the group. Our ancestors “incurred such costs” freely and easily out of sheer empathy, but also because elders are precious sources of love, stories, and fun – because they help make us who we are.

So where is the catch?

A popular account that runs from most economic theory to pop evolutionary psychology is that the cooperative nature of our species gives rise to a so-called “free-loader” problem.  In the famous stag-hunt scenario, two hunters figure out that they reap longer-lasting benefits if they forego their own individual pursuit of small game and jointly concert their effort to track a deer, which can be brought home to feed a large group. It is through such scenarios, or so the story goes, that cooperation evolved. But by this account, many people benefit from the work of others without having to pitch in – and so the free-rider problem is born! Thus, a dominant trope in evolutionary psychology claims that the evolution of social intelligence was crafted in efforts to deter free loaders. In this cognitive-arms-race model, humans evolved fine-honed socio-cognitive abilities in a constant race for free-loading and free-loader detection:  the free-loaders become better at deceiving the group, and the group better at outsmarting free-loaders, and thus are good mindreading genes passed on and expressed in ontogeny. This is the so-called Machiavellian Intelligence Hypothesis.

But there is another – some would claim, better – version of this story. For philosophers and evolutionary theorists like Kim Sterelny and Tad Zawidski, free-loading was not always the ‘problem’ we make it out to be in our ruggedly individualistic capitalist societies. By their account, often summarized as Cooperative Foraging Hypothesis, our species survived, evolved and thrived precisely because of ongoing collective efforts to ensure that everyone got their share and was kept alive, regardless of the symmetry of contribution.   This view is supported by a wealth of ethnographic evidence from past and contemporary hunter-gatherer, horticulturalist, and even agrarian societies.  What is more, the surprising lack of archeological evidence for intra-and-inter group violence and warfare prior to the rise of agriculture 6000 years ago has lent more clout to the emerging view that altruism and peaceful cooperation were much more commonplace than previously assumed. This view offers a sharp and refreshing contrast to the Hobbesian myth of “nasty, brutish, and short” lives in a “state of nature” endorsed by Steven Pinker in his popular book on the historical decline of violence.  In the cooperative foraging view of human nature-nurture supported by ethnographic, archeological, and experimental evidence, selfishness and free-loader worries are not an inevitable expression of our nature, and are understood as historically specific social problems that emerge in stratified societies – particularly  those that are dependent on money.

In his excellent ethno-history of money and passionate debunking of the rational-actor, homo econominus view of human nature, anthropologist David Graeber points out that for most of human history, the reciprocal expectation that social obligations had to be repaid in a symmetrical, eye-for-an-eye manner was simply not the norm. If an Iroquois hunter needed a new pair of moccasins, Graeber reminds us, he or she did not have to worry that it would not be tradable for meat. They would simply go to the longhouse and ask for a new pair; in the same way that anyone from the longhouse would have gotten their share of food when requested.  In another famous story recounted by Graeber, the anthropologist Peter Freuchen, living among the Greenland Inuit, once found himself returning to his tent hungry after an unsuccessful hunt on the sea ice. Upon waking to a pile of walrus meat placed before his tent, he went to find the band’s best hunter to thank him for his gift. The hunter would have none of it:

"Up in our country we are human!”, the hunter told Freuchen, “and since we are human we help each other. We don't like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow."
- [8]

While we are uniquely caring and aware of others I just admitted outright that we affect the environment more than any other group within it in such a strategic severe way which, yes, includes ruining habitats in the name of building a club where we get drunk and seduce one another to fuck later on just as much as opening a hospital and over time the human species is proving that when we take to an unsustainable degree we not only fix it, we solve the mystery of the way we are damaging it and make it better than it was before by what we do.

We are the alphas, the predators the almighty godfathers of the mafia of species and we are to cower before the others? Don't be confused, there's nothing at all we owe other species, not even the blind-guiding dogs. We are kind out of proactive 'good' not paying off some karmic debt. If I am in a gang and the alpha invades my territory and proves that not only can they do it but when they do it they make the most use out of that territory that any in our gang can, it is indeed what OUGHT TO OCCUR and there comes a limit to what we can conserve without stopping progress and that limit is actually nearly infinite. The only barrier, as Pro agrees, is that if we were to totally destroy the environment we'd end up incapable of sustaining that which we extract and put to use. Thus, the only real reason we should ever consider the conservation of the environment is to serve the higher priority of future, sustainable resources to extract. Oh god, the beauty of the self-defeating case Pro makes doesn't stop here...

In the same way we allow a lion to prey on the gazelle so long as it doesn't affect our ability to sustain what we want to extract and explore in the environment, the very extracting and all the animal-dominating ways we invade territories if we so please should be completely considered valid predatory species acting on its natural urges and as long as we don't screw up the environment so badly that we can't later on fix what we did to a good enough degree that we have more to use then we are doing just fine. 

The hierarchy of priorities that Pro offers is purely based on the fact that environmental conservation matters. Yes, it matters because if we destroy it completely we'd die out as would what we want to extract and use in a permanent manner, that's the only core reason we need to conserve the environment. It is much like how no matter how powerful the godfather is, they can never kill all their underlings nor can they alter the 'game' of the crime or gangs to such a degree that would screw up their ability to do what they do in the future just as much and just as well.

It is not a debate of animal cruelty and frankly I think if we destroy the habitat of creatures we should kill them in the most instant, painless way possible rather than just cut down the trees or whatever and chase them away to starve slowly. We don't owe the environment a thing, it designed us this way and we are merely the top of a food chain it forced us to partake in. We came from the skinniest primate who any animal could stomp to being the one who even the biggest bear and gorilla fear and are at the mercy of, nature is merciless and if nature is to be respected it is our role in it that should be respected too.

I wouldn't suggest ever making a species extinct, I'd suggest keeping a few males and females hoping at least one pair is horny enough at some point simultaneously to keep the species going so we can research and know what we otherwise couldn't about their DNA and lead to unique discoveries but other than that they are only alive so long as they entertain us or killing them would be too much hassle.

It's not morally wrong for the lion to eat the gazelle, nor is it morally wrong for the wildebeest to run leaving one of their own behind even tripping it up in order to save their kids from the predator. Nature is not some fairy tale and morality adapts to circumstance. We run the world and we inherently to deserve so if natural order is to be respected. As I say, if you don't respect what nature designed us to be, you also can't say to respect or care for nature as some supreme thing.

Now that I've taken your mind this far on the journey let's cement Con's case such that it can never be touched again.

So, if the only core reason to preserve what is at all or conserve the environment overall even retroactively is to have something to use, appreciate and extract as we please then what exactly is the motive of resource extraction? This is the key to why Con wins this and Pro loses and is no little thing to understand:

Pro is going to say something like the following if I don't clarify this:
"Con keeps avoiding admitting that we need the environment to extract resources and is denying the interests conflict because he says we need resource extraction in order to give back to the environment in ways we never could without doing so".
- Pro's imaginary re-rebuttal in Round 3.

Dearest Pro, listen here:

While the primary, if not only true, reason we need to conserve the environment is so that we can sustain that which we extract resources from, the reasons we extract resources are so much more than to conserve the environment as a result of the research we do, if not infinitely more at least 3 million more uses for resource extraction than discoveries and tools used to preserve the environment.

  • Your computer?
  • The electricity it runs on?
  • The job you do to earn the money to afford the rent to have the place and/or access to the Internet to research this and perhaps even research to write the best pro-environment or anti-environmentalist paper you write in yoru life for a Ph.D. or just for the sake of charity or profit?
  • ^ You think they come out of nowhere?
Nope. There's ever evolving uses of the resources we extract and we should do so without mercy so long as we don't cause too much suffering to the creatures we invade and displace (I suggest mercifully killing them to be frank but whatever works as the least painful, viable method is fine to me). The only limit to our resource extraction should be if we do it at such a rate that we can't do it anymore and completely destroy the environment in a permanent manner as it's the tool we need to even have oxygen to breathe (will prove this if demanded to but Pro will love that I pointed it out).

It is the environment that is absolute, we are indeed 'one' and the oneness Pro speaks of in R1 renders it completely fine for the environment to prey on itself via us.

Sources continued:
[8] Veissière, S. (2015). Caring for Others Is What Made Our Species Unique. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/culture-mind-and-brain/201510/caring-others-is-what-made-our-species-unique [Accessed 26 Sep. 2018].
Round 3
Published:
I will now defend my case.

I. The Monism of Interconnectedness

There are three main points on this argument that I want to address.

The first point is a consistent misunderstanding that Con has made throughout his last two speeches. Con writes, "It's true, we actually are all 'one' we are nature and it's human nature to use." Con is confusing and conflating two different definitions of nature, namely the definition of "nature as an ecosystem" with the definition of "nature as our fundamental drives and characters." Environmental protections exist to protect the former, they do not exist to protect our fundamental drives per se. Ask any forester or fish and wildlife expert and they would probably tell you that they are there to ensure that the ecosystem remains sustainable and healthy, not so that they can empower humans to act on their base instincts.

The second point is that the doctrine of monism does not preclude the existence of individuals. Con gets this confused when he writes, rather graphically, "if we are one than isn't the raped simply reality masturbating itself via the rapist? Think for a moment and understand we are not 'one'." Just as "one" robot is composed of many gears, just as the beach is "one" whole composed by many grains of sand, just as "one" past is composed of many moments, so too is the one community of nature populated by various individual members. We are all interdependent parts of a single whole. What monism does, is it broadens the scope of moral concern from the individual, who cannot be ethically isolated from the whole, to the entire community, which includes, in this case, "soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land." [1]

Finally, no real argument is made by Con against the claim of our interconnectedness and interdependence with nature. Extend this argument as unrebutted. If this is the case, then you have little choice but to except the reality of eco-monism. As I said previously, "[b]ecause we cannot sever our dependence on other life, even as we shape it and control it, we cannot be considered fundamentally apart from it." To put it more formally, a whole is that which cannot be separated into entirely independent parts (where "independent" is taken to mean able to exist and act independently); nature cannot be separated into entirely independent parts; ergo, nature is a whole. Remember, this interconnectedness is never directly challenged. Con himself writes, "it matters because if we destroy [nature] completely we'd die out...that's the only core reason we need to conserve the environment."

II. The Land Ethic

Con fundamentally misunderstands the ethics that I am arguing for. I do not see the environment, per se, as an end in itself. Rather, I am taking a distinctly duty-based communitarian approach, one which broadens the scope of moral consideration to include the natural world, since, per monism, we are a part of that community and vice versa. Inasmuch as you buy monism, it is impossible to not buy land ethics. Per land ethics, we have duties to the land (i.e. nature) because it is included in our community. We should value land in and of itself, but not necessarily as an end in itself.

But, while we're on the framework debate, I think it's important to mention a contradiction in Con's ethical approach to the topic. That is, on the one hand, Con espouses consequentialism (i.e. the greatest good for the greatest number), while, on the other hand, he espouses a Thrasymachian principle (i.e. that might makes right). Con expresses this Thrasymachian ideal most clearly when he writes, "If I am in a gang and the alpha invades my territory and proves that not only can they do it but when they do it they make the most use out of that territory that any in our gang can, it is indeed what OUGHT TO OCCUR." Con certainly argues for a Thrasymachian approach to nature; that we can pillage it is sufficient justification to do so. As Con writes, "We are so far above other animals...that when asking if we are entitled to take from them as we please, the question really is whether they have the right to stop us." It should be obvious, of course, why this Thrasymachian approach is, on its own, undesirable, insofar as it could be used to justify the Nazi's activities in WWII, the horrors of colonialism, and everyday acts of violence. But, beyond the repugnance of that principle Con advances, it clearly comes into conflict with the consequentialist approach to ethics. Might makes right is not the same as the greatest good for the greatest number, insofar as the destructive acts of conquest legitimized under the former would often be prohibited by the latter.

Importantly, however, Con drops totally my subpoint B of this section (the blurry not-so-bright line argument). Extend this as unrebutted. So, even if you don't buy my arguments for monism (which I am cross-applying in defense of my subpoint A of this section), you should still buy that we must broaden the scope of our ethical considerations in order to account for the moral standing of non-human life. In other words, non-human life counts as part of the moral community.

III. The Land Ethic in Practice

Con offers no evidence that, in his world, nature will be effectively safeguarded. Indeed, his Thrasymachian overtones clash ostentatiously with his assertions that he doesn't want total environmental apocalypse. For if it is the case that might makes right, there is no ethical reason why humans ought not obliterate the environment, insofar as they possess the capabilities to do so. 

There is good evidence, presented by me in both of my previous speeches, that prioritizing resource extraction harms the environment significantly and, in turn, harms us significantly. This is just further evidence of the karmic nature of the monistic world in which we live, but it also expresses the reality of the situation: prioritizing resource extraction will not end well for humanity.

Con offers an absurdly rose-tinted view of the future and of the past regarding resource extraction when he writes that "it is humans who have done the most for not just the environment but the non-human creatures within it." The Lorax is turning in his grave. Quite to the contrary of Con's ridiculous assertion, it is humanity's activities that are leading to worldwide mass extinction event, with extinctions happening 1,000x faster than they had pre-humanity. [2, 3] It is no longer safe to prioritize resource extraction; the world cannot continue to sustain such loss of biodiversity and hope to recover. "Ecosystems are kept stable in part by the insurance principle of biodiversity. If a species disappears from a community, its niche will be more quickly and effectively filled by another species if there are many candidates for the role instead of few...If the forest is biodiverse, it recovers its original composition and production of plants and animals more quickly." If it is not biodiverse, or if too many species are killed, the environment will be unable to bounce back. [4] We are, in other words, approaching that moment when the "godfather" will have no underlings left. For this reason, we must prioritize environmental protection, not to mention the other reasons I've offered (e.g. to prevent virulent diseases, to prevent war, to reduce poverty). Moreover, if we continue to prioritize resource extraction, soon we won't have an environment to extract from.

But on the ground issue more specifically, Con's is a world where environmental protections take a backseat to resource extraction, and this backseat is intensely problematic. If a coal mining company wants to rip up an ecologically vital rainforest to dig for raw materials, in Con's world, the company would be allowed to do so because its activity (resource extraction) is prioritized above protecting the environment. Con's scheme of prioritization means that he can only protect the environment from actors like the coal mining company when they have no resources to extract. So yes, this is a debate between extremes. Do we always want environmental protections to fade away when the coal mining company comes knocking, or do we want them to remain in place irrespective of the coal mining company's interests? That is really the question of this debate.

IV. Underview: Disads

These arguments are entirely dropped. Extend them as unrebutted.

V. Sources

1 - Pro R1, Source 1

Thank you! Please Vote Pro!
Published:
I think what this comes down to is 'prioritizing over' and 'ought to'.

Something that Pro keeps focusing on is how if we were to not at all prioritise environmental protection, we'd end up without resources to extract and even die out ourselves. The issue with this angle is that you can have a lesser priority that is there to serve the higher prioritised one and there ends up no contradiction.

I am going to say this very simply as Pro keeps failing to address it:

The primary, if not only true, reason we should prioritise environmental preservation and conservation at all is that we shouldn't destroy our ability to extract resources in the future in any permanent manner. Additionally (or rather alternatively), the reason we prioritise resource extraction is the endless things it can achieve, and one of the many is protecting the environment itself.

What we hurt today, we end up bringing back tomorrow with a bonus if it really does matter to the ecosystem, otherwise why not let some species perish if they truly don't affect the big picture? 

We owe nature nothing and nature designed us this way. 
Round 4
Published:
I will now address some lingering issues and summarize the debate.

I. Voting Issues

Con's short posting has, essentially, conceded the debate. He fails to dispute a number of arguments which are devastating to his argument and strongly indicate the validity of the Pro position. I will also note, quite briefly, that resource extraction can still occur in my world, so long as it is not in conflict with protections designed to ensure the health and sustainability of natural ecosystems.

A. Drops

Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of arguments that Con dropped in his last speech. Remember that new arguments are prohibited in the last round, so these arguments cannot be addressed by Con at this point. Extend these arguments as unrebutted.

  1. That a large portion of Con's case is a kritik and should be disregarded
  2. That consequentialism should not be used as this debate's evaluative mechanism
  3. That even if we do use consequentialism, we must "count" the land in our calculations
  4. That Thrasymachian ethics ought to be rejected
  5. That "nature" refers to an ecosystem or to a biosphere
  6. That Con has a skewed perspective of resource extraction
  7. That resource extraction is anti-knowledge
  8. That resource extraction contributes to food insecurity, disease virility and spread, poverty, and war
  9. That we are one with the land (monism)
  10. The argument from marginal cases
  11. The land ethic (properly understood as a duty-based communitarianism)
  12. That resource extraction is contributing to a worldwide mass extinction event
  13. That this mass extinction event is crippling nature's ability to recover
  14. That resource extraction severely harms the environment
B. Impacts

There are several key impacts that can be identified from the aforementioned dropped arguments. The first of these is that, in rejecting consequentialism, we must accept the land ethic as the only available alternative in this debate. Insofar as we buy land ethics, we must also buy that environmental protections ought to be prioritized over resource extraction, since we have moral duties of care towards the land. As I wrote in my opening argument, the land ethic requires us to prioritize protecting the environment over resource extraction when the two come into conflict because the land ethic requires us to value the land in and of itself. Per monism and the argument from marginal cases, we do owe the land, and Con's bare assertions are not a sufficient counterpoint to show otherwise. This is the first reason to vote Pro.

The second impact is that, because resource extraction is anti-knowledge, I can turn Con's primary argument against him. Con argues that resource extraction, by enabling the creation of new inventions and the generation of new knowledge, can in fact save the environment. This overlooks the evidence I provided in R1 from sources 6-7 and in R2 from sources 6 and 9-11. These sources show that resource extraction, by driving plant and animal species to extinction, actually removes key resources needed to continue to invent and learn. As I wrote earlier, the loss of plants inhibits the development of new technologies, medicines, and knowledge. The loss of plants will inhibit the search for new medical cures. Useful medical compounds that could have been found in plants are lost when those plants go extinct before they are discovered. Existing medicinal plants are already at risk of extinction. We actually reduce our ability to invent, innovate, and grow our knowledge when we harm the environment. This turn is the second reason to vote Pro.

The third impact is the mass extinction event. As I demonstrated in my last speech, human activities, particularly resource extraction, are leading to a worldwide mass extinction event, with extinctions happening 1,000x faster than they had pre-humanity. The world cannot continue to sustain such loss of biodiversity and hope to recover. Literally the only way we are going to continue to have a vibrant natural world is to prioritize environmental protections over resource extraction. To play on Con's own analogy, we're fast approaching that moment when the "godfather" will have no underlings left. We are talking about a total ecological collapse; every species affects the big picture, and the more that are lost, the more fragile the biosphere becomes. This is the third reason to vote Pro.

The fourth impact is that environmental protection is key to saving lives and improving quality of life by preventing war, food insecurity, disease, and poverty. These impacts clearly outweigh whatever Con has to offer. This is the fourth reason to vote Pro.

II. Conclusion

This debate comes down to a single, primary question: should we value the land in and of itself. The answer to this question is yes. We share a bond of community with the land which impels us to care for it for its own sake. These obligations of care mean that we cannot allow the land to be despoiled or ravaged by extractive activities. I have shown, without serious contest from Con, that resource extraction is extremely harmful to nature. Inasmuch as this is the case, per land ethics, resource extraction cannot be prioritized above environmental protection when the two come into conflict. Therefore, we must vote Pro.

Thanks to RM for the debate--it was an interesting discussion. Thanks to the voters for taking time to consider the debate. Please VOTE PRO!
Published:
In the eyes of both of us at this point, the other debater is playing dirty. To Pro, I have conceded and done a Kritik with self-imploding morality and to me (Con), Pro is a liar who has deceived you to think I conceded and on top of that has portrayed me as deluded.

The first thing I need to say which will be a new point but is purely a new point because Pro has decided to make this their biggest counter to me, is that I never ever said I wanted the best for all. Consequentialism is how you apply morality, it's not how you form it. In Round 1 I made this crystal clear and do not need to bring up a new point other than to say that my 'might is right' mentality is not only a misportrayal of my mentality but even if it were my mentality, it wouldn't contradict me at all as I never said I wanted the best for all, I said we probably are going to always rather a 'best for most' consequentialist-supported path of prioritising than a 'humans bow before other animals and invent and expand nothing technologically or economically' mentality. To me, best for all is impossible, period/full-stop so I'm unsure where I implied I ever supported aiming for that.

My "Kritik" never was a Kritik and the proof of this is that Pro responded by trying to reverse the Kritik but failing to. I said that resource expansion ends up 'paying back' to the environment because we end up knowing more and able to do far more than we ever could without it not just for the environment at all but including it no doubt. So, to counter this Pro said how a hawk eating a mouse doesn't net enough harm to the overall long-term ecosystem to demand us to oppose it as well as saying how we need to conserve the environment to avoid permanently destroying our ability to harvest and make use of resources the Earth provides us. The issue with both is that both support me in the end as they explain how if the net-harm is negated by what we can give back and do more for the environment among many other benefits of resource extraction at the short-term, or even medium-term sake of environmental protection then the hawk-eat-mouse scenario supports Con, not Pro even though Pro brought it up. Equally, if the reason to protect the environment is to have sustainable resource extraction then... The higher priority is the one we do the other for. We don't extract resources for environmental protection, it just happens to be we can do that among the many other new avenues we can take thanks to what we discover and invent. On the other hand, we almost solely worry about environmental protection because of the self-defeating nature of extracting too many resources in a given amount of time such that there'd be no way to 'pay back' or sustain that which we extract from.

We are both the most productive, strategically constructive species on the planet and the most malignant, strategically destructive one. This is something nature itself granted us the power to do by making everything else ultimately inferior to us in the long run. Thus, if nature is sacred and something to be held protected and respected to a supreme degree, the fact we rule other things within it and that we are the alpha species in Earth so far should be respected and held to be a protected right also. Pro called this Thrasymachian ethics but it's deeper than that, I emphasised that I do not ever support unnecessary torture or harm to animals for fun in fact I'd be as extreme to say I have the same mentality to plants not that it's really possible to torture them of what I know of plants but I genuinely feel empathy and 'wrong' in starving a plant of sunlight and watching it wither, I'd rather kill it fast as it genuinely would make me feel evil and this is based on pure empathy and subjective morality which I said in Round 1 is the only way to ever come to a moral compass in the first place since objective morality is a lie. Might is not 'right' but rather if nature is sacred, it granted us might and thus it's our right to use that might. Might causes 'great right' and great evil' depending how we use it. This was never ever a contention of mine, I never once said our might over other species makes us right to abuse them but rather that our power over them is inevitable and part of the very 'nature' that Pro holds so sacred. Equally, the 'oneness' Pro preached meant if we do harm the environment it's the environment harming itself via us (as we're part of it). Pro tried to make my turning their case against itself into my constructive point which it never was.

I will finish by repeating my contentions from Round 1. I have said what has to be said.

Foundational Contentions

FC1: Resource Extraction, when the two are in conflict, can result in superior knowledge and technology to preserve the environment in the long run.
FC2: The more you favour conserving what is, the less able you are to explore what could be.
FC3: The two are only in conflict in scenarios that vastly favour resource extraction as being the better option but it’s not 100% consistent in this and there will be times when the better option is to preserve environment but this is rare and extreme meaning that the one we ought to favour overall is resource extraction.
FC4: Linked to FC1… The less we extract resources and develop sciences and industries in general, the more enslaved we are to the likes of natural disasters and if there were climate changes significant enough that weren’t due to human activity then that too (we only know that humans have an impact due to favouring resource extraction and technological development in the first place).


Offensive Contentions

OC1: If one takes nature to be morally correct, one would end up favouring resource extraction as it is in our nature to be greedy and self-serving but admittedly it is also self-preservation that would lead one to care about the environment and this is best done by first extracting resources for technological and general industrial purposes.
OC2: There is no such thing as a species who doesn’t extract resources at the sake of the environment, we are the only species to consciously give back as well as pay attention to our usage of the environment’s resources.
OC3: The conflict between the two is one that makes the environmental conservationist the oppressor (different angle on FC4).


Defensive Contentions

DC1: We quite literally are the environment and our needs and desires are part of what to consider on a moral basis when discussing caring about the animals and other life-forms in the ‘environment’.
DC2: There are no acts of good that fail to involve resource extraction in the means of achieving the act (and perhaps even the act itself). On the other hand, there are a multitude of acts of ‘good’ that in no way at all preserve the environment.
DC3: If there is no real objective morality, it follows that what we want to do ends up being the thing we ‘ought to’ do. This is a pushing of core BoP of morality onto Pro as it is the environmental conservationist who needs morality to win this debate, the resource extractor is correct in both an amoral outlook and in an outlook that morally favours what they are doing so if Pro resorts to ‘there’s no real morality’ Con automatically wins.


Added:
--> @RationalMadman
Okay. Someone reported it.
#24
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--> @Tejretics
I didn't even report his vote
Contender
#23
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--> @whiteflame
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>Reported vote: Whiteflame // Moderator action: NOT removed<
3 points to Pro (arguments). Reasons for voting decision: {RFD exceeds 1,000 characters; refer the vote for the RFD}
[*Reason for non-removal*] The voter analyzes the clash on most of the main arguments in the debate and weighs them in light of counterarguments made. This is all a voter is required to do as per the voting guidelines. Thus, the vote is more than sufficient.
==================================================================
#22
Added:
--> @RationalMadman
You know a word that never once appeared in your argument? Monism. I can see some points in your argument that do challenge the views presented by bsh1 in that argument, but a large part of what makes an effective response is clearly articulating the points in the argument you are attacking and how your points function against it. To a large degree, you're expecting your voters to do that for you. The arguments, at least as I see them, are generally meandering around a point rather than addressing it straight up. And you take a lot of space to get down to the point you're trying to make, so much so that I often feel like I'm losing the point on the way to getting there. I get that you have your own style and that I'm more into a formalized view of how arguments are displayed, but honestly, I feel like a little structure in your responses could have made your R2 a lot stronger.
#21
Added:
--> @whiteflame
You didn't grasp a single bit of my argument. I absolutely demolished his monism argument because I conceded it and turned it against him in a phenomenal way.
It is okay, I know you voted honestly and spent time to think and the fact I couldn't get my point across is always my greatest flaw as a debater as my brain operates on levels others don't and that is both a blessing and a curse. To me I make perfect sense, to you I make very little.
To say that the evil is doing unto the victim what is inevitably fine to do under monism is indisputable but the thing is I should have better explained why it's indisputable and kritik'd morality itself and gone with the sociopath mentality into this.
Contender
#20
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--> @RationalMadman
You've got about a day left to post your final speech, RM.
Instigator
#19
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--> @RationalMadman
I posted my argument.
Instigator
#18
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--> @RationalMadman
Did you mean for your round to be so short?
Instigator
#17
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--> @RationalMadman
You've got about 20 hours left to post.
Instigator
#16
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--> @RationalMadman
I posted my argument.
Instigator
#15
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--> @bsh1
I have invaded Round 2 of your environment.
Contender
#14
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--> @bsh1
The King of the site's about to appreciate a GOD of debating no doubt.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJt1fj_C9BI
Contender
#13
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--> @RationalMadman
Just a reminder that you've got like 12 hours left.
Instigator
#12
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--> @RationalMadman
I posted my argument.
Instigator
#11
Added:
Remind me when this is over to vote on this
#10
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Admittedly, I'm a little short on time, so I won't be able to post an exhaustive vote like usual. In this case, however, I don't feel that's necessary.
The framework debate, almost entirely alone, decides the debate for me. Due to the lapse in R3 (I'm really not sure why Con chose to eschew that round almost entirely), Con didn't get an opportunity to address the framework arguments Pro presented in that same round. What comes in the following round is simply too little too late, and basically just involves Con referring back to his statements on consequentialism in R1. That's not enough, largely because Con doesn't ever take the time to spell out what he means by consequentialism, except to say that the ends should be preferred to the means, though he does not examine anywhere in the debate why that would be the case. Pro spells out much more clearly what consequentialism actually looks like, and explains how it's in conflict with other facets of Con's framework, which he also characterizes with more clarity than Con. Con puts some response on the latter in the final round, but it's late, and I have to disregard it. Pro is the only one that's doing any meaningful framework analysis beyond vague statements about what should be preferred, and since I can't nail down what Con's framework is and what I can nail down appears to be in conflict, I am forced to default to Pro's framework, which receives a lot more explanation and support.
That leaves us with the Land Ethic point, an argument that receives quite a bit of backing from Pro's monism contention, to which I receive very little response beyond some misrepresentations of what monism is. Pro's arguments on this front stand largely uncontested. The only point Con has that might function within this framework is the notion that harming the environment leads to more benefits for the environment later, but I see Pro effectively addressing that by pointing out the extinction problem (which provides a clear and impassable upper limit for human advancement, and thus limits the benefits we can provide to the environment) and, more importantly, the lack of clear means to prevent ecosystem/biosphere collapse, leaving nothing to save.
In terms of general feedback, I think Pro handled this pretty well on the whole, though I probably would have focused more on Con's notion that more tech = better environment. I'm surprised the issue of damage to the ozone layer (which seems impossible to repair), in particular, didn't come up. Still, I think you hit enough points, particularly on pollution and its shorter term effects, to challenge the notion that it's fundamentally beneficial.
Con, you were strangely both overly focused and overly scattered. You had a lot of points that you didn't spend any time supporting, just claiming you could support it. When you got into depth on an argument, you spent so much time there that you missed opportunities to address the arguments Pro was bringing to the table. You don't need to go into the kind of depth you did in many of your arguments, particularly if you just present some evidence. I would have loved to see a series of examples of how resource extraction has benefited the environment, and focusing more on how there are ongoing harms to the environment that only tech can fix (and how we're on our way to fixing those problems) really would have helped your case. I felt like the entire conversation regarding humans being natural was mainly an annoying distraction from a case that otherwise made some decent points. Even if I bought it, it was pretty clearly a Kritik, so I would have invalidated it anyway.