In our notes, conservationism is defined as an economic philosophy in which nature is used for the benefit of humans, nature is used in a responsible way so only part of the resource is used. This allows the resource to be available for future generations. Environmentalism is defined in our notes as an ethical philosophy in which nature should be left alone and not touched for natures' own sake and for the benefit of humans.
A good point brought up today in class is that both conservationism and environmentalism both have an ethical philosophy. The ethical side of conservationism is 'we should use the Earth for human gain, and should not let it go to waste.' On the environmental side, the ethics of 'we should not use the Earth, and should protect it for its beauty.' Conservationists say we should use the Earth for our own benefit and environmentalists say we should not use the Earth to save the Earth and for human benefit.
Conservationists view the world as a business opportunity but also understand that the Earth needs to sustain our children, grandchildren, and so on. The use of the Earth's natural resources should be used for “the greatest good to the greatest number for the longest time.” (Gifford Pinchot) Why let a river just flow by without making use of its current for power or for production?
A great example of this is the Proctor and Gamble plant in Mehoopany, Pennsylvania. My brother works at this plant as an engineer with Bounty paper towels. This factory sits beside the Susquehanna River and intakes water from the river to make their paper products (no dam or blockage is used in this process). After they have used the water for this process they discharge it back into the Susquehanna River. My brother has told me that the water that they discharge into the river is at least 10% cleaner than the water the factory intakes. In this case, Proctor and Gamble is not only using nature to...