Updated: 6 days ago
A discourse is a way of developing a story about something, the environment represents a wide range of values that leads to the development of different discourses.
Utilitarian values about nature can be represented by the slogan ‘use wildlife or lose it’. The discourse here is that if wildlife has a monetary value, then society is more likely to preserve it than find financial return from it. The invisible hand of the market ensures continued supply.
There may be a discourse about nature conservation that is rooted in moral values of love, happiness, and mutual respect.
When people believe in a particular discourse, they seek to confirm their beliefs, this is called ‘confirmation bias’. They seek out information that conforms to their own perspectives in order to confirm their own beliefs.
Media play an important role in creating a balance report that presents different discourses fairly. Media outlets know their audiences and seek to confirm their biases of the people that buy their newspapers or read their websites.
African elephants are large herbivores that live in social groups with complex and long-lasting relationships. They have rusks that are valued for their ivory.
1. Elephants are magnificent animals that have an intrinsic right to live in their natural habitats.
2. In order to ensure sustainable conservation of elephants, they should be culled and the profits from the sale of meat and ivory used to manage the herds for posterity.
3. Preserving elephants for future generations is imposing an excessive cost on present generations through alienation of land for national parks, thereby denying local people their traditional livelihoods.
There is tension between the rights of individuals and the good of society as a whole. The rights of individuals to life and liberty that are written into stone, such as “thou shalt not kill” are bypassed in times of war when conflict is justified by the government on the basis that war is for the greater good of society.
Some of the values are incomparable. One person’s value of the intrinsic worth of an elephant is not comparable with someone else’s value of the price placed on an elephant’s tusk as a trophy.
The concept of “the greatest happiness for the greatest number” comes undone when a minority suffers, which is usually the poor.