Helping an Island by Helping Hawks

1. Article MLA Citation

Reed, Stanley. "Helping an Island by Helping Hawks." The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 03 Feb. 2015. web.

2. Summary

This article was a news brief about the Macaronesian sparrow hawk that is only found in Madeira and the Canary Islands. They are endangered due to land clearing for sugar cane and brutal killings for crop protection starting as early as the 15th century. Farmers are also afraid that they would prey on their chickens, and so they would kill them. Currently there are only nine pairs of the beautiful birds in Madeira, and they could be growing even more scarce. In a 1.9 million dollar project funded by the European Union, a shrub called broom, attributes to forest fires and loss of food source for animals, will be removed and measures will be taken to regrow and protect the forests. In regrowing forests and making room for food sources for the animals, more species will be able to survive and thus feed the endangered hawks. Another problem, though, is that tourism is a huge source of income in Madeira is tourism, and the government is reluctant to turn down any opportunity to create jobs. A golf course is being put in, which is a serious environmental concern for these animals and forests. The program is taking effect, but it is fighting the way that things are and have always been.

3. What ethical issue does the article arise? What makes the event or action just or unjust?

This raises an environmental justice issue for both people and the environment. One of the three E's of sustainability has to do with economy so that once people feel stable, they can begin to take care of the environment. However, this could be a problem for the environment because it will hurt the environment, and it may be too late to save some of it by the time Madeira is economically stable. They will then have to choose between the majority of their economy and the environment. There are also plenty of stakeholders to consider. The environment, ecosystems, hawks and other animals don't have much instrumental value to the people, and in fact, they just eat their chickens and take up farming space. However, we as people don't necessarily have instrumental value either, and we still give ourselves absolute value for our own sakes because we believe we are special. We need to take this same approach when looking at the environment. This brings forth an issue of environmental justice and which of the two E's here will be favored.

4. My Position

I know it isn't easy, but I think that we need to take an approach that finds middle ground in order to save the environment without destroying the economy. We need to invest a lot of that money into social and economic reform and partner with developed countries in order to address equity and the fact that they have no choice but to rely on the environment they are destroying. It seems as though there is no way to fix every problem without risking more issues. If equity is paid attention to, then it will be too late for the environment, although it may be better off in the future. It will also be a very long process to reform the economy. If we pay attention to the economy, then the environment will be destroyed and there is probably little hope for it in the future. Equity will also have difficulty getting attention, and their lifestyles will remain dependent on resources that require degradation of the environment. If we pay attention to the environment, the economy will fail and equity may never be addressed. Which of the three E's do you feel is most important to address in this situation? Why?