America's Endangered Species Act Essay

2706 words - 11 pages

America's Endangered Species Act

Save the Bald Eagles! Save the whales! Save the Mountain Lions! Such were the environmentalists rallying cries that brought about the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Although, the first official endangered species legislation was a 1966 bill that called for saving U.S. wildlife, but lacked the powers to do so. The Endangered Species Act(ESA) of 1973 set forth the basic rules that apply in the U.S. today. Two agencies, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, are responsible for reviewing the status of species in trouble to see if they warrant listing as either threatened or endangered. The decision is to be based solely on scientific data rather than social factors, such as economic, political, and psychological factors. In theory, once a species is listed, no person, group or branch of the federal government; not even the United States Department of Defense- is allowed to proceed with a project that might harm the creature without first consulting and obtaining permission of the wildlife or fisheries service. America's establishment of the Endangered Species Act is probably the most unselfish approach to nature taken by mankind. In fact, the Endangered Species Act is an attempt by the human species to become part of the ecosystem, rather than dictate the end result. However, history shows that the ESA is perhaps mankind's greatest invention to filter other species from the ecosystem, which are irrelevant to humans' interest on "our" spaceship called Earth, when viewed from a psychological perspective.

The Endangered Species Act is a classical case of human chauvinism at its best because under it humans, or people, come first and everything else a bad last, though sometimes we claim it as freedom, because it gives us permission to perform a wide range of actions (including actions which mess up the environment and natural order of things) provided they do not cause "pain" to ourselves. By pain, I mean to our consciences or if you will our "souls." By adopting the Endangered Species Act, Americans have adopted a simple value theory, when it comes to dealing with other life forms. This theory is simply- pleasure is good and pain is evil. According to this theory, under the Endangered Species Act, the extinction of any species that would bring pain to ourselves is to be saved and those that do not hamper our consciences can be done away with.

This is evident from the modern viewpoint of the caretakers and enforcers of the Endangered Species Act, the Fish & Wildlife Services. According to them the Endangered Species Act of 1973, holds that endangered and threatened species of animal and plants "are of esthetics, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the nation and its people (Fish & Wildlife Service,1989)." Even advertisements and public educational programs to save endangered species, only point out the value of certain species to...

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