ECOCENTRIC (ECOLOGY-CENTERED) ETHICS.
any ethics or philosophy that places an emphasis on ecological wholes and moves away from individual plants and animals; value is placed… on these ecological systems as wholes .
early version of ecocentric ethics is Aldo Leopold's "Land Ethic" (see A Sand Country Almanac ) .
ecocentric ethics and philosophies are holistic ethics, rather than individualistic. The holism can be "metaphysical"--the whole exists, apart from or as really as its parts (Callicott's belief that ecosystems create individuals.) Or "epistemological"-the whole is the chief way to understand the parts. Then there is moral holism-the system should be considered morally, independently of the individuals in that system. .
an ecocentric ethics appeals to ecology in one way or another for help in explaining and defending its conclusions. Ecology is the study of the interactions of living organisms with each other and with their non-living environments. An ecosystem is an area in which a variety of living organisms interact in mutually beneficial ways with their living and nonliving environment (forests, wetlands, lakes, grasslands, deserts). Ecologists, like botanists and zoologists, focus more on interdependencies and relationships than on individual organisms. Ecology emphasizes such wholes as species, biotic diversity, ecological communities, ecosystems, and biological, chemical, and geological cycles. .
problems this appeal faces are (1) the lack of complete agreement among ecologists about proper scientific methods, models, and conclusions; and (2) the difficulty of actually drawing any ethical conclusions from scientific observations (MORE)