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Should Trees Have Standing - Essay Example

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Should Trees Have Standing

Taking trees for that matter, as they are living creatures with biological properties, the debate now arises whether or not they have legal or moral rights. In my view, trees do have a legal as well as a moral standing, and their due rights should be protected, however, if humans cut trees for sustenance and not for pleasure, such an act shouldn`t be challenged in any case, as giving the rights is one thing but sacrificing one`s own rights for the sake of nature is another. The presumption can be backed by the works of Stone and Schmitz, both being highly reputable professors of philosophy. Stone here regards that trees, like corporations, should be assigned their due rights. Though trees can`t speak for themselves, so can`t the corporations, thus by virtue of law, trees should be protected from abusive behavior. Similarly, Schmitz talks about social egalitarianism in this regard and argues that it is irrational to presume that all species have equal moral standing as that is to be judged by the self respect principal, i.e. though killing trees without a reason is highly immoral but killing trees for self-survival is completely understandable and doesn’t challenge the ethics and morality for that matter. To defend the legal status of the trees, the propositions from the Stone`s works can be analyzed and studied. He gives the example of a stream which is often quoted in such instances as it gives the most relevant explanation for the legal rights which ought to be presumed by nature. He proposes three basic requirements for the plaintiffs to sue the violators of the stream. When a company sued the industry for polluting the stream, the legal standing was given for the protection on the stream because, firstly, there was a holder to sue the industry, secondly, there must be a competent someone to bear the standing, and thirdly, there must be someone benefitting from the economic compensations. In this regard, the common law would deny any kinds of rights for the natural objects, even trees, on the grounds that trees can`t sue anyone themselves, nor can they reap the financial compensations, thus there is no point in giving them any kinds of rights (Stone and Hardin 2002). However, Stone argues that same is the case with corporations, i.e. corporations are also dead entities, not even living beings like trees, and however they do have a legal status. In this sense, similar to the corporations, whenever anyone would sue the violators destroying the trees, the benefits would still be reaped by the trees and not by the plaintiffs. Thus, trees in any case deserve a legal standing whatsoever, similar to that of humans, as if the corporations can have a standing, so can the trees. Speaking of the moral rights of the trees, the concept can be explained by the principal of social egalitarianism, which regards all species as equal to humans, thus being not inferior or superior in any case. The proponents of social egalitarianism argue that historically when the races were being denied the moral rights, i.e. slaves, blacks etc being considered as inferior, thus once modernization eliminated the discrimination, shouldn’t the same be applied on nature too? The advocates of egalitarianism regard trees as having rights similar to that of humans, thus trees should have a high moral standing in the social spectrum, thus, and it would be ...Show more


Should Trees Have Standing? Gone are the days when there is any kind of debate on the issue whether or not all humans are equal or not. Yet so, it is quite shocking to believe that humans were once categorized on the basis of their race and color to decide whether or not they have a moral and a legal standing…
Author : zschmitt
Should Trees Have Standing essay example
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