Two paradigms, “HEP” and “NEP”, were founded and discussed by environmental sociology specialists, Catton and Dunlap. HEP stands for “Human Exceptionalism Paradigm”, which basically means that the environment should revolve around humans; humans are superior. The opposite of HEP is the “New Ecological Paradigm”, which means humans are dependent of their surroundings and both them and the environment are equal. After spending close to a semester observing and getting to know my tree, I believe NEP is more relevant to this world.
Earth and the environment have been around for approximately 4.5 billion years, and modern humans (homo sapiens ) have been around a mere 100,000 years. Though we have only occupied Earth for a small part of it’s history, we are already making a huge impact. We are cutting down millions of trees, consuming a huge amount of fresh water daily, and warming the planet at an exponential rate that does not follow typical pattern. We rely on the environment to survive and need to co-exist with it in order to have a future.
My tree stands alone in the quad and is never harmed by students. It takes in the CO2 released by us humans in Morgan Field, and releases oxygen for us to inhale. We need my beautiful tree to survive.
Not only does my tree and our environment provide us with necessities crucial to survival, but it also is beautiful to look at. The green grass, rocky cliffs, and elegant trees in Morgan Field make the quad look astonishing. If it were just concrete pavement or numerous dormitories it would look overcrowded and ugly. HEP is a theory of the past because we have already taken the environment for granted to such an extent that we are hurting our planet, killing ourselves, and destroying the beauty of mother nature! My mother used to tell me, “The most beautiful art in the world, comes from nature”. We need to follow the paradigm NEP and focus on creating a better planet for the future. We can do so by consuming less and creating a sustainable lifestyle for ourselves.