There are numerous human activities that pose a threat to nature and contribute to its overall destruction. As such, several philosophical ideologies discuss natural resources among other things, e.g. utilitarianism and libertarianism. The focus of libertarianism is mainly on human politics and economic interests. Libertarian thought places emphasis on the dignity of every individual, which entails both rights and responsibility. On the other hand, Utilitarianism was put forward as a common denominator for moral judgment (Brown 2). It focuses on maximizing the production of natural resources but with great attention to its long-term productivity.
The principle of utility contains two variables: happiness and its wide distribution, each of which we (humans) are supposed to maximize (Wissenburg 12). For example, given that the effects of climate change are felt by everyone whether they give consent to it or not, then unregulated use of natural resources invades the property rights of others. It is unwarranted to claim that presently, persons have moral duties to conserve the environment for their more remote descendants and to restrict their standards of living accordingly (Wissenburg 7). It is therefore important that when seeking to maximize production, utilitarianism should take into account the existing social conditions, including the natural dispositions and capacities that people have.
Features of libertarianism include support for a free market and private property rights. A flaw against libertarianism is that it has a shallow appreciation for nature, the environment, environmental ethics, and environmental politics. In simple terms, the liberation of humans takes precedence over nature concerns. According to Wissenburg, there is no explicit acknowledgment of the fact that nature plays so many fundamental roles, no analysis of concepts, and no reflection where inconsistencies emerge (12).
Brown, Peter G. “Are there any Natural Resources?” Politics and the Life Sciences 23.1 (2004): 12-21.
Marcel Wissenburg. The Concept of Nature in Libertarianism. The ECPR General Conference, Reykjavik. 2011.