Originally Posted by FromTheSouth
Resolved: The national interests of a nation ought to outweigh the international obligation to the environment.
A nation's interests outweigh the obligation to protect the environment. I gotcha. I'm going to limit this to the American government, seeing as though America has at its disposal vast amounts of resources and can be used as an effective parallel to the discussion at hand.
The American government has to provide three things, or we have the right to revolt as given under the Social Contract that Thomas Locke proposes in his Treatises. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Life trumps all else. The government can't kill me.
Liberty is fine as long as it does not impede on another person's right to live. As in, I can't kill anyone or put anyone else in inordinate danger.
Pursuit of Happiness is fine as long as it does not impede on the Liberty or Life of other citizens.
As you can see, it's a rising scale of importance. And rightfully so. But this is just to show that these are the only stances a government must provide for under any sort of legal documentation. These are the things our government promises, and they don't have to provide anything else.
How does environment fit under any of those? I don't see how.
The national interests of a nation are, most necessarily, confined to the three parameters listed before; Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness.
Life includes defending our citizens. The government should be able to light an entire forest on fire if it means protecting our citizens from anything, be it zombies or an invading army.
Liberty includes freedom for our citizens. Not only does that mean defending them from oppressive forces (both from our government and outside), it means allowing our citizens to do as they see fit with their lives. A man should be able to dig a ditch in his property, no matter if it disrupts a salmon spawning run a hundred miles down river. The salmon will readjust or die, as nature intended. The man owns that land, and its his Constitutional Right to do with it as he pleases.
Pursuit of Happiness means that our citizens are free to do as they please, and are not confined from doing anything reasonable by the government. Some men find it pleasurable to drive their cars. If we were to drill for oil in Alaska or offshore, it would drive down the price for oil and therefore make everyone (including the driving men) happier. Sea Manatees should be the least of our worries. Drilling offshore for oil has the added bonus of taking our money away from oil producing countries that fund terrorism (including our Freedom Allies Saudi Arabia). We're protecting our Liberty and Life at the same time!
In closing, a nation has to provide three things for its citizens. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. If a nation finds it necessary to destroy a part of nature to achieve these goals than that is their right as a nation. No international standard should be imposed on them if it means degrading their ability to provide the three cardinal principles to their society even slightly.