Professor Christopher Myers
July 27, 2013
History of the Utilitarianism Ethic
The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number
America lavish with a plethora of landscapes and ecosystems beyond our understanding. Truly, North America sustains some of the most opulent sights. However, our lands were not always so lush, and full of beauty. A complex history of dreams, ideas, and political affiliations came into play in the overall conservation and preservation of our landscapes. Many ethically driven environmental doctrines came into effect, to be where we are today, as a nation of conservation. Within this compendious paper, I will go into the history of some of the founding ...view middle of the document...
A fight for conservation had began, a flame was light, that would ignite a fire storm of passion, debate, scandals, anger, and a overall devotion to the ideology of utilitarianism concept of conservation. In 1864, George Perkins Marsh wrote his profound novel Man and Nature, within his text Marsh compared the devastated cut-down mountains of his native Vermont to the destitute landscapes of the Mediterranean.
As a United States councilman in Italy and Turkey, George Perkins Marsh had been heavyhearted. For the land that was once ample with trees, was now lost. Marsh pleaded with the United States that we could become like the Mediterranean if we did not act agile to the concerns of our land (Anderson, 2000). And just when George Perkins Marsh’s worst fears came true, and he felt all hope was forsaken, just a year after his publication of Man and Nature, a boy was born that would forever shift our environment with a passion and love for the outdoors. And with his influential parents, would lead him to become one of the many of Americans forefathers of conservation, Gifford Pinchot (Anderson, 2000).
Gifford Pinchot’s dream since he was a young-boy was to repair the land that his grandfather and great-grandfather had demolished. Pinchot’s, family emigrated from France, and settled in Milford Pennsylvania (Lewis, 2007).
Gifford’s family flourished in riches by cutting down forests, and selling the land to farmers (2007). And by the late 1800s Gifford’s parents were among the many of those who feared the possibility of a timber famine. The Gifford family had built a summer home known as Grey Towers, and set out to restore the damaged landscapes; they help destroy (Lewis, 2007).
The Pinchot’s used their wealth to make an impact on American life itself. James and Mary Pinchot donated most of their values to that very cause. During Gifford’s studies at Yale University, his parents gave him an addition to his Man and Nature re-titled The Earth as Modified by Human Action, which was a gift to Gifford for his twenty-first birthday (Steen, 2004). Little did James and Mary Pinchot realize, how much of an impingement that Marshes book would have, in constructing the path to Gifford’s career and dreams (Steen, 2004).
Gifford Pinchot had went forth to his professor in Yale University and announced how he wanted to be a “forester” but he did not know how, his professor confused, did not know how either. There were simply no forestry programs in the United States at that time, so Pinchot set out to Europe (Steen, 2004).
In France and Germany Pinchot studied how forests could be properly managed using the fundamental of “sustained yield.” Essentially trees were a crop, which could be harvested profitably forever (Steen, 2004).
Pinchot was an advocate to what modern foresters call “scientific forestry” however; he thought that concept should be applied differently within the United States (Seen, 2004). Pinchot believed that the American...