Priciples: Philosophy and Stewardship Essay

Submitted By mtrbd
Words: 407
Pages: 2

(Accepted December 7, 1999)
ABSTRACT. Stewardship is potentially a useful concept in modernizing management philosophies. Use of the term has increased markedly in recent years, yet the term is used loosely and rarely defined in land management literature. The connections between this practical usage and the ethical basis of stewardship are currently poorly developed. The following definition is proposed: “Stewardship is the responsible use (including conser- vation) of natural resources in a way that takes full and balanced account of the interests of society, future generations, and other species, as well as of private needs, and accepts significant answerability to society.” A religious interpretation would require the phrase “and ultimately to God” to be added. Stewardship has both secular and religious inter- pretations and it will be desirable to develop both of these aspects in parallel. A task for philosophers is to establish whether the ethical basis of stewardship is sufficient to address environmental concerns or whether it is necessary to embrace wider ethical approaches. Stewardship occupies similar ground to several other concepts of use and management of resources, particularly sustainability. It can build on sustainability by encouraging a broader view of who and what should benefit from management activity. In particular, it focuses attention on the role of managers in providing public benefit and on envisaging other species as a form of “stakeholder” in management decisions. Stewardship is appli- cable across the widest range of fields of resource use and also has relevance to aspects of land tenure and property rights. Application of stewardship will require some adjustments in the roles of private managers/owners vis-à-vis government. It might provide managers