381 Species Discovered in the Amazon: A Friendly Reminder that Rainforests Critters are Awesome and Need Protection

381 Species Discovered in the Amazon: A Friendly Reminder that Rainforests Critters are Awesome and Need Protection

The starting point for a right to ethical consideration for all animals, as under Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach, is an ethically attuned wonder before each form of animal life. This sense of wonder also underlies the Aristotelian conception of human morality and rationality as being firmly situated within our animality, which is itself worthy of dignity. In Aristotle’s words, “If there is anyone who thinks it is base to study animals, he should have thought the same about himself.”[1] Because the daily routines of our 21st-century lives can often feel detached from nature, particularly for city-dwellers, it is sometimes useful to remind ourselves of the incredible array of complex life forms sharing our planet—many of which we have yet to discover. As you look through the Guardian’s stunning photo-essay of some of the 381 species discovered in the Amazon in recent years, keep in mind that human alteration of delicate rainforest ecosystems dictates how these animals are able to live their lives and whether they are able to survive for generations to come. Even in the United States, our daily choices and consumption patterns influence how land is being used in these animals’ habitats—and the habitats of even more undiscovered species!

[1] Parts of Animals 645a26-27. See discussion in Chapter 6, “Beyond Compassion and Humanity” of Martha Nussbaum’s 2006 book Frontiers of Justice.