“Traditional values that emphasize domination over wildlife are giving way to mutualism values that regard wildlife as fellow beings in a common social community,” write researchers in the journal Biological Conservation. “As values shift, so do beliefs about what is right and wrong and what constitutes acceptable versus unacceptable treatment of wildlife.”
It would be very interesting to consider whether ecological ideas about the right place of mankind on Earth have affected these shifts in values. That is, apart from material, economic, and social conditions, did the introduction of specific ideas of “mutualism” contribute to this shift?
As more and more laws give some kind of legal recognition, and even standing or personality, to natural features, we could be seeing a future where such mechanisms give effect to (and likely, lead to further entrenchment of) these mutualist views.