Statement of Own Position
After an extensive amount of research and review, I have come to believe that the recommendations made by Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, to shrink the borders of several National Monuments are wrong, and they should not be implemented. The main moral argument that supports my judgement is based on the ethics of principles in that if these recommendations were put into place, then human rights would be violated, specifically the right to have access to these National Monuments for recreational and cultural reasons . Since reviewing both sides of the argument, I have concluded that I agree with the opponents of this policy proposal. I have chosen to side with the opponents because my morals indicate that people are more important than money, and I make many of my decisions based upon this principle.
One significant strength of the opponents of Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke’s, proposed recommendations is that they use logical facts to appeal to the emotional side of the individuals involved in the argument by demonstrating that human access to these National Monuments is being threatened which will in turn have some unfortunate results for Americans. Some might argue that this could be seen as manipulative, but since they are strictly presenting facts, I do not believe that is the case. The opponents, specifically Patagonia, present many persuasive facts backed by research that signify how important it is to protect these public lands. Previously mentioned in the Opponents Sides Statement, Patagonia states, “rescinding or shrinking the National Monuments under review would significantly impact the strength of the outdoor recreation economy and limit our ability to create and sustain jobs” indicating that they have a people first approach since they are concerned with individual’s jobs (Patagonia). A value judgement made by the opponents of this policy is that the heritage and history found in these National Monuments is more important than the short term economic gains that would result from implementing Zinke’s recommendations. Opponents seem to care more about the implications of losing the legacy than they do about monetary advantages.
A weakness found in the proponents of Zinke’s policy is that the recommendations seem to somewhat neglect, or ignore completely, the desires of the individuals that this policy actually involves. In addition, a major weakness of this side of the argument is the fact that 120 days was entirely too short of time to thoroughly conduct a review of the many National Monuments this policy effects. As previously stated in the Opponents Sides Statement, it takes years for National Monuments to be established, so it is completely unreasonable that nearly a dozen of these monument’s boundaries could be shrunk in a review that only spanned 120 days. Not only that, but Zinke didn’t actually set foot in all the monuments he supposedly reviewed. The facts presented by research indicate that much more time would have been needed to make a decision of this magnitude. Furthermore, proponents of this policy seem to make the value judgement that giving up environmental protections is not a big deal if it is counteracted with economic benefits. Proponents appear to consider the ethics of consequences more significantly than the ethics of principles.
The one point that made the opponent’s arguments more persuasive to me than the proponent’s argument was the idea that this is a policy that could affect future generations for years to come, and that this is not just something temporary. Speaking from personal experience, I have spent a lot of time at National Monuments, and the thought that they may lose their protection and specifically have their recreational access threatened is very concerning to me. Visiting these monuments is an experience I was hoping to share with my kids, and my kid’s kids one day, but if boundaries of these National Monuments are shrunk, then that might not be a possibility in the future. Once again, I came back to the idea that human rights and people themselves are more important than money. Furthermore, the opponents of the policy highlight several indigenous groups that use these lands for cultural purposes, and their ability to utilize these lands is being endangered.
In conclusion, I stand with the opponents to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s proposed recommendations to shirk the borders and remove the protection of many National Monuments. Morally, it is the correct thing to stop these recommendations from being implemented because it would ensure that access remains open to these lands, and all individuals would have the opportunity to experience the National Monuments in some capacity. In addition refusing to implement these recommendations will help to preserve the land that these monuments reside in by preventing them from being opened to activities such as mining or drilling. If they were to be open for mining and drilling, that would significantly decrease the access allotted to individuals for recreational activities. Not only that, but rejecting Zinke’s recommendations would also provide the most benefit to the most possible people; the greatest good for the greatest number by protecting human rights and avoiding some potentially negative outcomes. Sure, economic gains would benefit some people, but only temporarily, and there is more good produced by leaving the monuments open and allowing access to everyone.